Marketing and Sales
Industry-specific marketing and sales teams are responsible for developing new business with prospective customers and expand business relationships with existing customers, as well as for continually analyzing markets and trends. Each business entity engages in sales and marketing activities for its own products through its own sales organization as well as through trading houses and local distributors. Major customers with global operations are an exception to this, as these are serviced directly by our key account managers. All activities are conducted in close cooperation between marketing, sales, and application development teams. At Covestro, marketing activities are comprehensively managed by the business entities.
In recent years, selected business entities transferred some of their sales activities to the Covestro Direct Store, our digital sales channel. In fiscal 2022, around 13,000 transactions (previous year: more than 13,000 transactions) with a total value in the mid- to upper three-digit million euro range (previous year: mid- to upper three-digit million euro range) were processed via this digital platform. Both the number of transactions and their total value were therefore almost at the prior-year level, despite the dynamic business environment. Besides selling products through the Covestro Direct Store, the company is also working on placing a selection of products on third-party digital sales platforms to align our range of offerings even more closely with our customers’ needs and to give them a completely digital customer experience.
As part of our Sustainable Future strategy and the Customer Centricity concept described there, we use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customers’ willingness to recommend Covestro (based on the question of how likely it is that customers would recommend the company to employees or business partners). Covestro uses the NPS score, which ranges between –100 and +100, as a measure of customer satisfaction. An NPS of +42 was measured for fiscal 2022. According to those surveyed, the main reasons for this high willingness to recommend Covestro are the company’s customer service, the good business relationship, and product quality.
Our global marketing and sales activities continue to focus on progressive digitalization, the circular economy, and collaboration. We have significantly expanded the range of webinars and digital events we offer. We participate in trade fairs in hybrid form to supplement and enhance physical events with digital content. In this way, we reach out to more people and offer our customers a wider choice of ways to make contact and interact with us. The tool we use to manage hybrid trade fair participation is called Digital Event Space, a platform on which customers can, for example, prepare for their visits to physical events, make personal appointments, hold digital meetings, view the exhibition online in advance, and obtain a large range of additional information. In addition to the ability to digitalize events, we also scrutinize our marketing activities to establish to what extent they can make a contribution to sustainability. Our stand for this year’s appearance at the K 2022 plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf (Germany), was redesigned using, among other items, reusable furniture, which can be redeployed for future trade fair appearances.
In addition, we conducted marketing campaigns on a number of topics, such as the Sonnenwagen project, which involves a solar car developed by a team of students at RWTH Aachen University (Germany). Built using Covestro materials, it takes part in international races and world record attempts. The vehicle is continuously enhanced and demonstrates that the possibilities of zero-emission mobility have by no means been exhausted. The Sonnenwagen is only one example of how Covestro and its partners jointly develop advanced solutions and drive the creation of a better, more climate-friendly future. Another campaign that we have launched relates to the Circular Intelligence (CQ) label for products, a module on our path to becoming fully circular. As part of this campaign, a brand named Evocycle® CQ has been introduced for recycling programs within the company. The first initiative under this brand is the Evocycle® CQ mattress, for which chemical recycling is used to obtain recycling polyol as well as recycled toluylene diamine (TDA); these compounds are then returned to the value chain for high-quality polyurethane foam. In this initiative, we collaborate with partners at all stages of the value chain, such as taking back, recycling, and reusing materials.
The corporate Supply Chain & Logistics function with its regional hubs in EMLA, NA, and APAC is primarily responsible for customer care and efficient order processing. Supply Chain & Logistics owns the entire process – from order acceptance to factory logistics, and from shipping planning to invoicing and complaints handling. Thanks to customer-oriented support in the individual regions, orders can be processed particularly quickly and smoothly. Covestro makes use of channels such as e-commerce platforms for order entry and processing. Our customers can place orders and check the status of their orders at any time in the Order@Covestro self-service portal. Order@Covestro is not used to initiate new business: Rather, the portal complements the services we provide to our existing customers and helps us handle routine inquiries during times outside our customer service and sales staff’s business hours. Covestro is working in all regions on a shipment tracking solution that is to give customers a transparent overview of their orders and deliveries.
Covestro operates a global production network and produces in the EMLA, NA and APAC regions, in particular for customers in the respective regions. Our products are transported to the customer by logistics service providers, which we select and evaluate based on strict safety, environmental, and quality criteria. In addition to protecting people and the environment, delivery reliability is particularly important to us. Our foremost quality goal is therefore to eliminate errors in all our processes to guarantee a high level of customer satisfaction. This is regularly determined worldwide in a global management system: We take into account customer satisfaction analyses in which we are rated as a supplier, as well as supplier assessments in which we evaluate our transport service providers on the basis of the responses from our customers. We use this data to derive corrective and preventive measures for the purpose of continually increasing quality and customer satisfaction and lowering the error rate and the incidence of complaints.
In the reporting year, we received 5.11 customer complaints per 1,000 deliveries. Complaints caused by logistical problems are included in Covestro’s assessment of the performance of the freight forwarders and are discussed in the regularly held review meetings. Overall, the year 2022 was characterized by a challenging transport environment, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian war against Ukraine. The preferred mode of transportation in the regions is rail or intermodal – a combination of different modes of transportation. When choosing the transport route, we pay particular attention to resource efficiency and the associated reduction in GHG emissions. Projects on drives with alternative sources of energy and the use of alternative fuels are the main focus of cooperation with our logistics partners. At the same time, we are driving further automation and digitalization of our business processes.