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Over the last few years, one of the most pressing issues in every industry has been shortages. Whether it’s labour issues or the inability to acquire the proper materials to fill orders, the events of the past couple of years have highlighted the need for innovation, particularly in the paint and coatings sector.
Now, manufacturers are facing other problems such as continued limited resources, worker shortages, economic uncertainty and rising inflation. As consumers are more interested in paints that offer additional benefits such as antibacterial or air-purifying properties and as companies are focusing more on economic and environmental sustainability, the coatings and chemical industry must do something to meet these new demands.
But, what’s the solution? It lies at the intersection of humans and machines.
AI & the speciality materials industry
By incorporating artificial intelligence in the chemical and coatings sectors, manufacturers can easily cut down on production costs, streamline processes, reduce waste and more.
AI software can run data-driven calculations to forecast market trends, flag production risks, determine raw materials and provide real-time ROI data, which allows companies to produce, adjust and promote their products according to consumer needs and economic shifts. Additionally, AI software can automate processes so that some of the stages of chemical testing and coatings creation are accomplished more efficiently. Instead of running physical tests, manufacturers can run simulations to determine viable options for new coatings and more durable products. Furthermore, AI can automate processes so the people in the company are not pouring their efforts solely into the day-to-day maintenance but are able to focus their energies on creating future growth opportunities. This not only reduces waste and increases sustainability, it will also cut down on costs and improve employee satisfaction.
Certainly, AI is a useful tool as it provides real-time data to help companies make clear decisions, save money and create better products. However, in order for a company to truly gain a competitive edge and drive itself forward, it often needs a human touch in addition to AI.
AI-assisted fractional consulting
Regardless of the industry, every company needs additional support at some point. For companies that truly want to get to the next level but also want to maximise their resources, fractional consulting is an excellent option. Instead of hiring a full-time consultant or going through a traditional consulting firm, companies can team up with a consultant who works on a fractional basis to spearhead a specific project or to fulfill a particular role.
What does this have to do with the chemical and coatings industries or AI software?
The consulting industry, much like the chemical and coatings industries, must innovate in order to benefit the market. This is where AI comes in.
The typical consulting process involves the consultant sitting down with company owners and providing suggestions or the owners sharing their top business needs with the consultant. AI-assisted consulting is different as it offers data-driven insights directly to a network of consultants so they can understand exactly what the company needs.
Thanks to AI-assisted technology like Sobo.ai, the possibility of a bad match or a misunderstanding is greatly diminished, because the fractional consultants have access to an anonymous profile of the company which allows them to provide insights based upon actual business data. All the business leaders have to do is upload their documents and the AI software compiles the statistics, desired market and projected growth into one document. Then, the AI technology shares that document with those in its consultant network, which allows the fractional consultants to develop action plans in light of the data and submit them to the company. The business leaders can then apply these action plans with their existing team, or they can implement them with a fractional consultant. Instead of spending weeks gathering all of the business’s information or going through multiple interviews, AI-assisted fractional consulting allows business leaders to receive fractional consultants’ strategies in a matter of hours –reducing the initial discovery process by up to 90%.
Furthermore, fractional consulting is an incredibly cost-effective solution for companies because they only pay for a portion of the consultant’s time. The fractional consultant is a true expert with executive experience, so even though they are not working full-time, their efforts are still beyond what a company could receive from a full-time employee fulfilling the same tasks.
Not only does the initial investment in the fractional consultant increase a business’s profit margins, the real-time analysis from AI-assisted technology helps the fractional consultant adjust their strategies to provide the most cost-effective processes, increase sales and create growth opportunities for the company.
Certainly, the fractional consultant uses analytics from the initial business documents, but they can also incorporate statistics from forecasting tools to make more informed decisions. For example, a fractional COO can use the data and statistics to develop hiring strategies and update training processes to ensure that the company stays on schedule as it expands. Alternatively, a fractional CMO can refer to the data to determine how to best engage a company’s target audience and expand its brand. By using real-time, AI-aggregated data, fractional consultants limit the amount of guesswork involved in strategy development, reduce costs and maximise business operations.
AI & fractional consultants: A creative combination
Although the world is uncertain, creating opportunities and providing consumers with the products they need doesn’t have to be. AI technology can help businesses make decisions so that they can increase their market value and take the frustration out of the consulting process. As beneficial as AI technology is, its power can be multiplied if it is used by the right person. This is why an expert-level fractional consultant who utilises AI technology is particularly powerful. Fractional consultants who incorporate AI-driven data as they develop their strategies can ensure businesses maximise resources, produce materials at a higher rate and tailor action plans to a shifting market.
By: Robert Burke, Sobo.AI