The manufacturing technology of the 1980s in the chemical and petrochemical industry is not likely to show any radical change. There will, however, be significant advances in some general areas. Part I of the paper is concerned with developments arising from exploitation of fundamental research in the molecular sciences and in biochemistry and microbiology. These are expected to lead, respectively, to methods for the design of selective catalyst and improvements in separation processes, and to increasing use of biochemical processes. Part II discusses developments in operation and design, aimed at reducing construction and operating costs; particularly to make best use of materials and energy, and to conserve the environment economically. In all areas the pace of technological development will depend on the ability of industrial teams to exploit the results of fundamental research. Both research and the development stemming from it will continue to be dependent on increasingly powerful measuring and computing facilities, as also will be the larger and more closely integrated production complexes. The scientist and the engineer welcome the aid of the computer to extend their own abilities, but others (such as process operators) fear their introduction will take away the interest of their work and ultimately eliminate their jobs. This will pose a serious problem to management, not only on the plant, but in all departments of a company. Careful planning and experiments will be essential to ensure that all personnel have satisfying jobs and can develop their full potential. This is one aspect of the much wider problem set by the need of all organizations (industrial, political and social) to improve the design of their structure and management, to meet the individual's legitimate aspirations in a changing society. It is suggested that the application of the concepts of system analysis and control engineering will contribute significantly to the solution of this problem: but the major contribution must come from sociology and the human sciences.