Downstream is an extremely fast-moving and agitated industry. Day by day, we see new companies entering the market and new partnerships being formed. At the same time, we also see existing players shifting assets, pinpointing operations and re-aligning focus points. In parallel to the changes that apply to the partakers in the trade, the industry itself is also constantly in flux. Market conditions, legal defaults, best practices – these change all the time. And with the changes come new challenges, such as energy transition, supply chain fragmentation, market volatility or oil price fluctuation.
The described situation makes it essential for oil and gas companies to design their businesses in a flexible and future-proof manner. To remain ahead of the curve, they must constantly challenge themselves anew, e. g. by adapting business models in a highly flexible manner, automating workflows, reducing operational costs and improving customer experiences. Here at the Implico Group we have identified cloud-based micro services as a key means to address the industry’s biggest challenges. These state-of-the-art auxiliaries are smart, digitized and purpose-driven as well as lean, flexible and readily available. They build upon shared best practices and common industry standards. They have the potential to make an immediate impact and to have a lasting effect. Supply chain companies can leverage them without the requirement of making huge investments upfront.
An ideal environment for web-based micro services to unfold their potential will be a broad, open and interwoven framework – like the Supply Chain United (SCU), whose first components we currently implement in close collaboration with select innovation partners. Here, the highly flexible architecture of the components is a major success factor. After all, it empowers the innovators to elevate key work areas without the need to kick off large projects. Instead, this approach fully supports a step by step implementation.
One of the SCU’s first practical offerings is the Truck Online Check-in. This cloud-based micro service simplifies and shortens truck entrance handling in bulk liquid storage terminals. It is connected to the site’s terminal management system and to the hauliers’ tour planning systems. The set-up as well as the technology grant the users on both ends many benefits: Via the Truck Online Check-in, the trading partners can handle the complex check-in procedure of the truck and the driver early on. All contract and order details are automatically checked, verified and communicated before the truck has even arrived at the plant. This accelerates the truck handling, streamlines the traffic on premise and reduces the risk of an empty running. Also, it makes the whole process more convenient and effective for everyone involved, be it the terminal managers and field operators or the trip planners and truck drivers. Via standardized REST-API connections, Truck Online Check-in can be integrated with any terminal management system and, optionally, truck scheduling system. It is designed to improve not only scheduled truck loading processes, but also unplanned ones.
Another micro service in the SCU portfolio is the Quantity Conversion Module (QCM). It finds application in the petroleum product trade, where volumes are converted into weight – and the other way around – to ensure that every trading partner gets what they had signed up for. This calculation must be performed with utmost accuracy; even the smallest inaccuracy can have a lasting effect on the follow-up processes in the supply chain. QCM handles this important matter precisely and reliably. The cloud service can be used as an integrated part of a connected software solution. Alternatively, it also comes with its own interactive calculator, ready for office use as well as mobile use.
With its many components and broad area of influence, the Supply Chain United will make the professional life easier for all occupational groups in the oil and gas industry as well as related work fields. IT Managers, for example, will be able to extend their core systems via the connection of scalable and affordable micro services out of the cloud. This enables them to update to state-of-the-art solutions without abandoning their current systems or investing heavily in all-new developments. Instead, they can simply expand the scope and feature-richness of their existing IT infrastructure by adding new cloud components stepwise. This ensures the upkeep of business continuity and the adherence of cost restraints. Many other roles benefit from the SCU as well: With its help, Customer Service Managers get to integrate their customers and partners seamlessly into shared workflows. Innovation Managers get access to next-gen features to achieve their digitalization goals. Operational System Users get to operate their every-day tools with intuitive UI and effective functionalities based on proven use cases and industry best practices. The list goes on.
In its essence, the Supply Chain United can be seen as the logical consequence of the direction that the downstream industry has taken in the last years. Today, terminal operators and their business partners need maximum degrees of efficiency and flexibility to react to long-term developments and short-term disruptions accordingly. The Supply Chain United provides both. Furthermore, it promotes collaboration and fosters a forward-thinking mindset. It enables oil and gas companies to stay unique and succeed together.
THE IMPLICO GROUP
The Implico Group optimizes logistics and business processes for oil and gas downstream companies. The international software and consulting company with its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, has subsidiaries in North America, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1983, the company today employs around 240 staff.
For further information please visit: www.implico.com