Welcoming Mathias Wengeler as CheMondis’ new CEO

CheMondis is thrilled to announce Mathias Wengeler as its new Chief Executive Officer. With Mathias stepping into this role, CheMondis enters a new chapter of growth and innovation, building upon the strong foundation laid by its former CEO, Marcus Riecke.

Transition in Leadership

Marcus Riecke, the former CEO of CheMondis, has gracefully stepped down from his position due to health reasons. His leadership and dedication have been instrumental in shaping CheMondis into the dynamic platform it is today. CheMondis wishes him a swift recovery and extends gratitude for his contributions.

A Visionary Leader

Taking the helm at CheMondis is Mathias Wengeler, a seasoned executive with a wealth of experience. Mathias’s career journey is marked by significant achievements and leadership roles across various sectors.

Mathias, former CEO and co-founder of Atheneum, played a pivotal role in developing the company into a leading B2B Marketplace for knowledge and the market research community. Under his leadership, Atheneum developed into a global enterprise with over 500 employees across Berlin, London, Munich, Shanghai, Tokya and New York. With Autheneum he demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to drive innovation and remarkable growth. With his extensive due diligence experience at L.E.K. Consulting in Munich and Boston, Mathias contributed to over 80 private investment transactions across Europe and the Americas. He further honed his expertise in strategic advisory and business development through roles at major investment banks in London and Oliver Wyman in Munich and Dubai. Mathias holds a triple Master’s degree in International Management from ESCP-EAP Grande École in Paris and a Basis doctoral in Economics from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Excitement for the Future

In assuming the role of CEO, Mathias expresses his excitement and commitment to driving CheMondis forward. He sees immense potential in the platform to revolutionize the way chemicals are bought and sold, leveraging technology to create value for customers and suppliers. Mathias’s enthusiasm for innovation and his dedication to customer satisfaction align perfectly with CheMondis’s mission to simplify chemical procurement and foster collaboration within the industry. Under his leadership, CheMondis is aiming to achieve new heights of success and become the go-to destination for chemical sourcing in the digital era.

Is Working from Anywhere the Unstoppable Future?

We all feel that the world of work is changing, right? Driven by globalization, digitalization, and global crisis, the work-from-anywhere concept has become one of the working world’s answers to these rapid challenges. Work wherever you can be productive  – under palm trees, by the sea or on a lonely mountain, as long as there is a solid internet connection.


A Brief History of Remote Work.

If you look back in time, work models such as working from home or location-independent working have been in existence for about 50 years.

 It began with the introduction of the first work from home jobs in the 1970s, prompted by soaring gasoline prices as a result of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo. Consequently, commuting became more expensive. These measures allowed people to work from their homes, coworking spaces, coffee shops and other locations for the first time…

Ultimately, thanks to the advent of computers, laptops and lastly the internet in the 1990s, employees’ geographic flexibility increased significantly.


Working from Home vs. Working from Anywhere.

 There are various types of geographic flexibility that are categorized as “remote work” the option to work from any remote location away from company premises. Let’s first clarify what constitutes remote work before we delve into the difference between working from home and working from anywhere.

In distinction to working from home, working from anywhere means working from any other appropriate location to perform your job, except from your home address.

Just imagine this: Instead of the rainy weather in Germany, you wake up in the morning and smell the fresh sea air. While you enjoy the first coffee in the morning sun with bare feet on sand your laptop is slowly booting up.

Sounds too good to be true? Then read on attentively now…


Working From Anywhere Increases Your Productivity by 4.4 Percent.*

 According to Nicholas Bloom, employees that are having the opportunity to work remotely, show an increase in work output of 4.4 percent when in the work from anywhere program compared to the baseline of when the employee was in the work from home program.

What are the working from anywhere benefits for employees?

  • Possibility to travel to other countries, visit family / friends
    • If an employee can work fully remote from another region / country, living in the preferred geographical location will also result in greater satisfaction or may also retain top international talent, that may want to move back to their home country for more proximity to their family / friend
  • Broaden horizon= learn a new language, getting to know new cultures
  • Different environment can also spark creativity and result in new ideas

What are the working from home benefits for employees?

  • Increase of freedom / flexibility regarding reconciling work and family/private life – e.g. emergency childcare is guaranteed, open the door for technicians…
  • Saving time (and money) that would otherwise be spent on a long commute allows employees to have better work-life balance and adds hours back into their days.
  • More focus and less distractions – depends of course on the home situation
  • Increases wellbeing = Allows workers to control ambient workspace elements such as clothing, layout, music
  • Lower rental costs when a high-priced apartment is not needed in the city.

What are the benefits for employers?

  • Attract talent: Working from home is a standard demanded by talents, Working from anywher is a great benefit, which especially international talents are seeking for
  • Saves money: Fewer sick days, saving on rent and equipment, if a free desk policy is implemented


By implementing such a model, companies also have a number of other advantages, such as saving on rent for office space, electricity and infrastructure costs, or the saved workspace can be converted into collaborative space.

It quickly becomes clear that this concept is beneficial for both employees and employers. Doesn’t it?


The Other Side of the Coin.

As with everything, there are some challenges you need to consider. 

Depending on the duration of working from anywhere, physical distance can have an impact on your company culture. Face-to-face contact is limited, spontaneous conversations decrease, and you might feel socially and professionally isolated, disconnected from colleagues and the company itself. However, appropriate collaboration tools and a meeting structure designed for this purpose can remedy the situation.

But daily meetings and workshops also face hybrid challenges.

  • time differences can reduce the daily joint working and coordination time.
  • technical equipment of laptops, cell phones, headsets, cameras etc. must be available
  • a stable and strong internet connection forms the basis of course
  • without physical presence it is more difficult to assess how the other person is doing, what he feels and thinks. Misunderstandings can therefore arise quickly

 Accordingly, clear guidelines are needed for successful hybrid work (e.g. camera on / off, etc.).

The CheMondis Approach.

As a startup, we certainly would like to embrace this flexibility in terms of work location. At the same time, we believe that our success is largely determined by our culture and a shared sense of community that requires personal and physical interaction.

Therefore, the following “CheMondis way of working” is the current approach that works best for us.

  • There is no daily obligation to work from the office
  • Some teams define autonomously a minimum of 2 days per week to work together from the office
  • Besides that, everyone has the opportunity to work from anywhere for a defined amount of days per year – as we’re located in Germany, this is currently limited to Europe
  • Due to this way of working, all our meetings are held hybrid – for everyone in the office in presence and for everyone else remotely. No question that we had to get used to it.

We have been practicing this way of working for about six months now and with great success. Everyone enjoys the time together in the office but equally the flexibility to decide working from another location from time to time. Especially our “work from anywhere” offer has been used extensively – in the last 6 months 12 employees have been working from other locations than their homes or the office. In total we have worked 81 days from 7 countries.

It was precisely during this time, after a long home office period, that we were able to achieve great entrepreneurial success. Flexibility and self-determination due to the working from anywhere model have been a huge boost to our performance.

Ready for the Beach?

The prerequisites for successful remote work must, of course, go hand in hand with organizational procedures, corporate and management culture, appropriate equipment and, obviously, a role that allows working online. Would you offer the remote work option to individual employees only or to nobody at all in this case? There are parameters must be considered before implementing such a model. Also, a high administrative effort and costs for implementation and for processing must be considered and well planned – policies, legal prerequisites, defined processes regarding taxation and social security, as well as visa-support are required depending on the scope of flexibility offered.

You probably guessed it already, there is no one fits all solution. Every company will have to determine which working model fits it best – physical presence in the office, working from home, working from anywhere or as a first iteration from all over your country, etc. Of course, under the legal framework that your country provides for it.

If you take another look at the advantages for companies and employees and consider the ongoing digitization and globalization, it quickly becomes clear where the journey is heading. We are heading straight for a future in which the option for remote work will no longer be just a benefit, but a standard. Many international companies, such as Google or SAP, are pioneers in this field and have already successfully implemented such extremely flexible and innovative solutions.


Thank you for taking the time to read the CheMondis Blog.
 


SOURCES: 

Prithwiraj, R., Cirrus Foroughi, C., Larson, B. (2020). Work-From-Anywhere: The Productivity Effects of Geographic Flexibility. Harvard Business School. 

WeWork (2020). The benefits of remote work – for both employees and managers.

 

Event Guide: What Does It Take To Make the Chemondis Digital Summit Happen?

For the second time this year, we are hosting our CheMondis Digital Summit. The event is planned for one day and takes place online on November 4th, 2021. Therefore, our preparations are currently running on full speed.

But what does it take to organize such an online event? We share our best practices, tips and tricks around the event and project planning. If you want to have a look at the lineup or buy a ticket before reading this article, you can do that by clicking the button below:

When it comes to the organization of such a big event, we generally recommend going through a step-by-step planning. Of course, there are different approaches and best practices. However, this is how it works best for us:

1. Defining the event goals

2. Creation of the concept

3. Organization of the event

4. The Event Day

5. Taking care of the follow-up tasks

Where lies our focus in each of the individual steps? When do we start with the individual phases and what are our biggest learnings so far? Sit back and read through it: we summarized it for you in the following sections.

 

Defining the Event Goals.

Usually, this is the very first step for us when starting with the preparations. No matter if it’s the 2nd or 3rd time we are hosting an event. As we re-evaluate our business goals every quarter and flexibly adapt them to the market, it is not unusual that we have 3 different goals for the same event – even if we host it several times.

When it comes to defining goals, there are different approaches. One common method is the SMART-goals method:

S = specific (goals must be clearly defined)

M = measurable

A = appropriate (reasonable for what is to be achieved)

R = realistic (the achievement of the goal must be possible)

T = terminable (deadline must be achievable)

We like to create our goals accordingly to this concept. Within CheMondis, we pay particular attention to making goals measurable by means of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and making results comparable. Thus, we would like to go into this point in a bit more detail.

Event KPIs are set up at the very start of the planning process. To do this, we usually look at the achievement of goals from the previous event and our internal KPIs. It is important to ensure that the goals are ambitious but also realistic. This balance must be maintained. In addition, it should always be possible to keep track of everything. Setting 3-5 goals is recommended.

 

Creation of the Concept.

Once the goals are defined, we start the creation of the concept, which is significantly influenced by our goals. First, of course, the question of the budget should be clarified, because many points of the concept will depend on it.

Now it’s a matter of going into the exact planning of the conditions – in our case, we start with the leading topic. We usually base this on current topics, occasions, events that are interesting for our target group. For example, in the past we had a paints & coatings edition, a digitization special and currently we are planning a sustainability & innovation edition. As soon as the leading topic is set, we go into more detail.

Starting from the leading topic, we define sub-topics for the individual streams. In doing so, we try to find possible subtopics. This will be particularly important later when researching suitable speakers.

Conceptually, it also goes to the planning of the formats. Which event formats are best suited to the content? Workshops? Roundtables? Talks? How long should the individual sessions be? What is a good number of slots?

Since in our case it is an online event, our location is an online event tool. What requirements do we have for the tool and which provider is best suited for this? Where do we get the best price-performance ratio?

As soon as we have found answers to those questions and have set the framework of the event, we can continue with the detailed planning of the content.

Organization of the Event.

A full day event with 3 streams and over 20 talks from external speakers requires careful pre-planning. Of course, it’s not just one person doing it alone. For our summit preparations, we have put together an interdisciplinary team. It consists of marketing experts, designers, and business development managers.

About 3 months before the summit, we start with weekly meetings, which we use to work out certain questions together. Of course, we also have a project plan in which all tasks and milestones are scheduled.

During the organization phase, it is time to get down to the details! The concept on paper is put into action. Potential speakers are identified and contacted, slots coordinated, marketing materials designed, the event page built, attendees invited…

Our internal deadline to be ready with everything is about 2 weeks before the event to have an emergency buffer for unwanted surprises.

 

The Event Day.

 And then the time has come. The day of the event. The day before, we calmly prepare the technology and test everything to make sure that everything works properly. On the event day itself, we meet in the office about 1.5 hours before the official start of the first session. Then we have breakfast with everyone from the task force, but also moderators and CheMondis’ speakers. Afterwards there will be a final briefing for the day and a briefing on the location. Everyone grabs a last coffee and then it’s time to go.

What we have learned in the past that it is necessarily important to have two firefighters who take care of the so-called emergencies – on the phone and by mail. Someone has misplaced his event password, can’t find his way around the event page, needs a special invoice and so on. If something goes wrong, it is usually not a problem if the participants are helped immediately. We want everyone to feel that they are in good hands and that we live up to our own quality standards. Therefore, it is very important to us to provide a good service here.

After the first 3 hours is the official lunch break on all streams and we have a little time to breathe. We order pizzas for the whole team and briefly discuss how things are going until it’s time to move on.

At the end of the day, we all come together for a short wrap up. How many participants were there? What specials were there? How was the feedback? Such an event always brings us forward as a team.

Afterwards we usuqlly have a delicious dinner in a great restaurant. We will take care of the office clean up and the follow up tasks another day…

Taking Care of the Follow up Tasks.

For us, after the Summit is as busy as before the Summit. The day after the event there is a lot to do, from thanking the speakers, writing invoices, taking advertisements offline and of course checking how far the goals we set at the beginning have been achieved.

During the week following the event, when everything is still fresh in our minds, we also have a feedback session with all participants, where we analyze feedback, note improvements, and collect ideas for a next event.
 

Now it is Up to You.

In this sense, we are looking forward to meet you on November 4th in one of our session! The registrations are still open.

For already registered CheMondis marketplace customers the registration for the event is free of charge. For all others: in the first ticket phase we offer early bird tickets for 49 EUR with a “buy one get two” special. *only available until end of October 2021.

 

Tracking the summer break: how the sun affects productivity.

Over the past weeks, you probably realized that highways are not so crowded anymore, public transports are punctual and spacious, you get less calls during business hours and business in general seems to slow down. Most people spend time outside, wandering through shopping streets or picnicking in parks. These all are symptoms of the summer break, or, as some newspapers call it: “the summer slump”.

It is a phenomenon that has been known for centuries. More recently, its duration has been narrowed down from the beginning of July to the beginning of September.

Looking at the United States of America, the US national holiday on July 4th traditionally marks the start of the summer season for Americans. This only ends on the first Monday of September, Labor Day, which is also the last day of the summer vacation for the American students.

In Europe, almost all countries also have their school holidays between July and August. Those holidays obviously have an effect on parent’s time off during that period. Europe’s diverse cultural landscape also accounts for numerous public holidays across the continent. Turkey even shuts down most of its business for a whole week in July during Bayram.

Vacationing and public holidays lead the major expenditure streams of the general population into different directions. Revenue in tourism, leisure, and relaxation along with the whole network of supply chain partners gets intensely fueled during this time.

As the ratio of fully vaccinated people is increasing over the past weeks, we are seeing the return of this cyclic pattern. In their latest blog post, Hubspot analyzed the web traffic of 103,000 businesses from April to July and split it up by region and industry sectors (see figure 1a und 1b). You can see a noticeable increase in hospitality as all other sectors experience a slight decline.


Figure 1a: Web traffic of 103,000 businesses from April to July. Source: Hubspot (2021).

Figure 1b: Web traffic of 103,000 businesses from April to July. Source: Hubspot (2021).

Besides web traffic, companies operating in B2B related industries, especially in manufacturing, usually observe a drop in their sales. One can see a first indicator that the cycle also continues this year. Looking at weekly transactional traffic that is generated on CheMondis, the pressure has been taken off the markets finally – delayed however but in accordance with 2020 (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Weekly transactional traffic on CheMondis.

If less people are trading, the overall volume of traded shares is relatively lower. Lower trade volumes result in less market volatility and the stock market appears slack.

Statistically, this can be proven by looking at the relative trade volumes per month averaged over the S&P500 since 1950. Trade volumes see a low point in July. The German stock exchange even issued a “Seasonal DAX” that follows the DAX, but ignores the months of August and September.

And with this strategy, an investor would have scored 72,000 points and would have achieved a performance of an astonishing 13.4% pa (instead of “only” 8.2% pa for the real DAX).

Figure 3a: Monthly relative trade volumes of S&P500 (averaged over 1950-2020). Source: Stockstreet (2021).

Figure 3b: Seasonal DAX that values for August and September. Source: Stockstreet (2021).

Since the stock market doesn’t necessarily reflect the real world, we should evaluate data that shows the productivity and economic output. When looking at the production volume index published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, you will clearly see that August is usually the month with the lowest production volume. September, on the other hand, usually sees the highest rate change.

Figure 4: Production volume index from 2010 till 2021. Source: Eurostat.

The overall productivity of employees also decreases by 20 percent as a study by Captivate Office Pulse finds. Research from the Harvard Business School explains this drop in productivity with the better weather conditions. Dull weather encourages people to be more productive since they aren’t getting cognitively distracted.

However, it is hard to get anything done when decision-makers are not reachable. A lot of smaller companies even completely close their production lines for a few weeks, most chemical manufacturers in Italy even completely close their factory gates in August.

When everyone returns to normal office hours, things will start to pick up again. As the Eurostat and CheMondis marketplace data suggests, we can assume a significant increase in traffic from mid-September onwards.

A great way to be aware of the latest trends in the market is the CheMondis Market Insights.

We aggregate and analyze internal and external data on e.g. search volumes, product availabilities and prices, to compute our CheMondis Index, a relative index from 0 to 100, based on our proprietary and validated algorithms.

It is a sub summation of a wide variety of market indicators representing the current market situation for selected key chemicals.

It is easy to understand and will help you to obtain better negotiation results and to make smarter purchasing decisions. The CheMondis Index is based on real-time market data and therefore is superior in quality and accuracy compared to traditional market research.

Even though the logistic situation remains tensed, as shipping rates are still at an all-time high, the raw materials shortage has been slightly balanced-out and a lot of products are back in stock. Make sure to check CheMondis regularly to get the best quotes for your requests.

We wish all companies a good start to business after the summer break!

SOURCES:

  • Stockstreet (2021). Dem Sommerloch auf der Spur.
  • Finanzmarktwelt (2021). Aktien: Wann beginnt in diesem Jahr das Sommerloch?
  • Captivate Network (2021). Captivate Office Pulse Finds Summer Hours are Bad for Business.
  • Nobel, C. Harvard Business School. Blue Skies, Distractions Arise: How Weather Affects Productivity.
  • Hubspot (2021). Are Companies Seeing Summer Slumps in 2021? We Analyzed 103,000 Businesses to Find Out.
  • Eurostat (2021). Short-term business statistics.

Compare Request and Offer Details to Get the Best Deal for Your Company.

Buyers and Suppliers on CheMondis can now easily compare details of their outgoing and incoming requests. This might help both parties in a negotiation to keep the overview of all company’s activities on CheMondis and to find the best deal.

No More Manual Comparison by Opening Emails and Creating Excel Sheets.

Looking from the demand perspective you are always looking to find the best offer, or you want to check the status of different requests.

Looking from the supply perspective you might want to get a simple overview of the different status for a specific product or from a certain buyer. Again, you can select the requests of interest to you and you receive a simple table allowing you to compare them and to be right up to speed again.


The comparison table is kept simple to allow you to give all your attention to what matters most to you.

It allows you to easily compare the following information:

  • Request type & status
  • Product name
  • Buyer / supplier name
  • Volume
  • Packaging
  • Delivery conditions
  • Offer validity
  • Price
  • Payment terms

To start any comparison, please login on chemondis.com and navigate to “Requests” or click the Button below:


Select the requests and negotiations you would like to compare by ticking the boxes that appear when moving the mouse above a certain row.


Click “Compare selected” to open the comparison overview. For a detailed view, you need to scroll down a bit. At the bottom of the table, you will find a button to open any request to continue negotiating. Or, by clicking “add request” you can add a request to the table, by clicking “x” you can remove them.

Now It Is Up to You.

Try the feature now to compare any request you want. If you have any comments, questions, or wishes regarding this feature, please contact us: hello@chemondis.com