Customer Focus

Our customers are our number one priority. BASF supplies products and services to around 90,000 customers1 from various sectors in almost every country in the world. Our customer portfolio ranges from major global customers and small and medium-sized enterprises to end consumers. Our comprehensive product portfolio means that we are active in many value chains and value creation networks. We use various business strategies, which we adapt to the needs of individual industries and markets. These range from cost leadership in basic chemicals to tailored, customer-specific system solutions.

1 The number of customers refers to all external companies (sold-to parties) that had contracts with the BASF Group in the business year concerned under which sales were generated.

Innovations and tailored solutions

in close partnership with our customers

We want to be our customers’ most attractive partner for all challenges that can be solved with chemistry. This is why we continue to drive forward our focus on customers and their needs. We are refining our organizational structure so that our operating divisions can flexibly address specific market requirements and differentiate themselves from the competition. In addition, we are simplifying and digitalizing our processes to make the way we work more effective, more efficient and more agile.

We are continuously increasing transparency for our customers and improving our customer service with a range of measures. For instance, we have used the Net Promoter System® since 2019. We are constantly improving our problem-solving skills, product quality and delivery reliability based on customer feedback. In 2020, we also started the global rollout of Salesforce, a new, integrated IT-based customer relationship management system. The user-friendly application helps sales employees deliver even better customer support and simplifies their work.

Above and beyond this, we want to intensify cooperation with our customers and leverage growth potential together with them. For instance, we have created interdisciplinary teams in our business units to even better and more quickly address the needs of our most important customers. Cooperation and innovation are also the focus at our Creation Centers in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Mumbai, India; Shanghai, China; and Yokohama, Japan. These creative centers bring together our comprehensive materials, design, and – in particular – our digital development expertise in high-performance plastics using the latest visualization and collaboration technologies. This enables us to transform our customers’ ideas into tailored products and applications even more quickly – everything in one place, from initial inspiration to solution.

Ultrasim®: Shorter development times thanks to virtual simulation

Technical progress requires innovative materials. This is why engineering plastics are being used in more and more sectors and applications. They are often significantly lighter than conventional materials, are usually easier to process and offer advantages such as heat and impact resistance or mechanical strength. As a leading manufacturer, BASF not only offers a comprehensive portfolio of high-performance plastics, but also has extensive expertise in computer-aided engineering (CAE). Ultrasim, our virtual simulation tool, covers the entire process chain – from the selection of suitable materials and the development of virtual prototypes to the optimal production process for the component. Our customers find out quickly, precisely and reliably how our materials behave in specific applications. This reduces development times and saves costs for complex tests.

Ultrasim®: Shorter development times thanks to virtual simulation (Photo)

Customer awards

We again received awards from a number of satisfied customers in 2020. In North America, for example, BASF was recognized by General Motors (GM) in June as a 2019 Supplier of the Year for the fifteenth time since 2002. The award is presented to suppliers who exceed GM’s expectations around quality, execution, innovation and total enterprise cost. GM also honored us with the Overdrive Award for our sustainable construction solutions. BASF products help GM to meet key sustainability targets – such as a smaller carbon footprint and water and energy savings – at two of its plants.

In Europe, the global surface treatments business in our Coatings division, which operates under the Chemetall brand, received the Airbus Supply Chain & Quality Improvement award in February for the sixth time. It acknowledges Chemetall’s performance, strong continuous improvement and customer-oriented approach in line with Airbus’ targets and expectations.

In Asia Pacific, we received an award from Godrej Interio, India’s leading home and commercial furniture brand, in the category “Best Overall Performance” in July. BASF has supplied Godrej with Elastoflex and Ultramid products since 2008. The award particularly recognizes delivery reliability and innovation. In September, this was followed by the CIIF New Materials Award, presented by the organizers of the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai. The award recognizes BASF for its modification of the intermediate PolyTHF, which is used to produce elastic spandex textile fibers. The next generation offers our customers easier processing and products with improved stretch characteristics.

In Brazil, we received several awards in 2020. BASF’s Coatings division markets a broad portfolio of decorative paints here under the Suvinil brand. The national association of construction material traders (Associação Nacional dos Comerciantes de Material de Construção) selected Suvinil as the most popular brand for wall, ceiling and exterior paints with the Anamaco award in the wholesale category. The award was based on a survey of more than 1,600 traders conducted by the industry association. The market research institute Instituto Melhores Empresas em Satisfação do Cliente (MESC) also confirmed that Suvinil customers are satisfied customers. According to a poll of over 250 companies and 41,000 customers conducted by the institute, Suvinil is one of the brands with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the construction and decorative materials segment.

Quality management

Our customers’ satisfaction is the basis for our success, which is why quality management is of vital significance for BASF. We strive to continually improve processes and products. This is also reflected in our Global Quality Policy. The majority of our production sites and business units are certified according to ISO 90011. In addition, we also meet industry and customer-specific quality requirements such as IATF 16949 certification for the automotive industry.