The Chemical Industry’s Top 5 Most Used Buzzwords

8 August 2018

Buzzwords and business go hand in hand.

But don’t worry if this isn’t your field of expertise, because the ‘Dilbert Gobbledygook Generator’ is on hand to help. At the click of a button it creates phrases such as ‘Refigure real-time bottom line metrics’, ‘Implement end-to-end scalable interface’, and ‘Optimize efficient client models’, so you can impress colleagues at your next meeting.

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Dilbert, the infamous cartoon businessman, is well-known for his love of buzzwords, as one of his comic strips from 1994 reads:

Colleague to Dilbert: Here’s your “Buzzword Bingo” card for the meeting. If the boss uses a buzzword on your card, you check it off. The objective is to fill the card.
Boss at meeting: You’re all very attentive today. My proactive leadership must be working
Dilbert: Bingo, Sir.

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Love them or hate them, business buzzwords will always be here, and nowhere more so than the chemicals business. So, whether you are into ‘blue skies thinking’ or ‘corporate synergy’, here are the top 5 chemical industry buzzwords.

1. Sustainability

Modern industry understands that nothing lasts forever: unless of course it is a sustainable source of raw materials. As the chemical industry increasingly strives to take a stand in the ‘circular economy’ the use of the word ‘sustainability’ will long remain in the chemical supplier’s lexicon.
In fact, you can’t overuse the buzzword ‘sustainable’. Which is quite poetic, really.

2. Innovation

The concept of ‘innovation’ is simply ‘using your brain to improve something’.

Whether you believe in the words of Isaac Newton who described his theories as a result of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ or the lyrics of the band Barenaked Ladies ‘It’s all been done before’, every new idea is based on earlier thinking.

Naturally, there is no progress or business development without ‘innovation’, which is why every ‘wanna be’ chemical industry executive should keep this word as part of their ‘core-competency’.

3. Big Data Analytics

The idea of using a computer (or a linked ‘cloud’ of multiple computers) to improve efficiency makes clear sense. If the computer can analyse data quicker than the human mind, then it is logical that many computers can analyse huge amounts of data; identifying and fixing problems that the human brain cannot even see.

The use of computers to analyse how chemical products are manufactured, traded, transported, and used simply saves money.

4. Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 works hand-in-hand with data analytics and is set to transform the way that we work, in the same way that the first three industrial revolutions changed everything.

Industry 1.0 Deciding to have industry in factories, not cottage industries.
Industry 2.0 Henry Ford’s production line.
Industry 3.0 Robotic production line (think Japanese automobile industry in the 1970’s).
Industry 4.0 Computers analyse huge amounts of data to streamline business.

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However, it is worth pointing out here that the existence of ‘Industry 4.0’ is doubted by some. For example, the respected, and published chemical process engineer, Sean Moran, has questioned, “Is there really a fourth industrial revolution going on? If so, these four revolutions were powered by respectively: water (and later steam), electricity, digital technologies and hot air. #Industry4 #spin #meaninglessterm”

You can make your own mind up.

5. Digitalization

This phrase is very much linked to ‘Big Data’. As the chemical industry consultants at McKinsey note, “Companies can use advanced analytics to extract management-relevant information from the large amounts of unstructured data that they generate.”

While like other buzzwords it may be labelled as a #meaninglessterm, no one can deny the impact that computers have had on our world. And surely it would be crazy to deny the impact that they have on the chemical industry; both its present and its future.

What’s the Purpose of Chemical Industry Buzzwords?

Some buzzwords are just a trendy way of saying something. Why say, ‘That is correct,’ when the phrase ‘Bingo’ may sound much more ‘hip’ in a business meeting?

This is often why English business words are used in non-native English-speaking offices, as they sound linguistically educated and well-informed. For example, in the Czech Republic, the words ‘mitink’, ‘byznys’ and ‘home office’ are everyday words for ‘meeting’, ‘business’, and ‘working from home’.

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Business Concepts

However, the words in this list are more helpful because they describe a concept that is new. They are a useful to explain a business idea more simply. For example, it is far easier for a chemical supplier to request ‘sustainable raw materials’, than to request ‘raw materials that conserve an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources’.

So, ‘Yes’, the chemical industry has buzzwords, but with good reason. The chemical industry has buzzwords because those words are relevant.


You can read more insights into the chemical industry and chemical industry markets at the SPOTCHEMI blog page.

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Photo credits: Dilbert, StareCat, MMAWeb, Surrender.biz, & SoftwareStrategiesBlog