Well-oiled IT Processes for the Oil and Chemical Industry

“Anyone dealing in oil products has to be able to respond quickly and flexibly”, says Thomas Ernst, Managing Director of the Hamburg-based SAP partner Implico. “Companies have to make decisions about prices and profit margins within a very short period of time and often have to take these decisions while the customer is still on the telephone”, explains Ernst when describing the situation oil companies face. Comprehensive modern solutions are required to be able to have all the relevant information relating to the sales and payment record of a customer and to the actual profit margin, continues Mr. Ernst.

Reflecting day-to-day operations

According to the Hamburg-based software and system house, the qualified mySAP All-in-One solution Min-Oil 2.0, which features more than 200 pre-configured industry processes, covers almost all the functions required in the oil industry. Min-Oil represents a complete solution for the oil industry, integrating posting, fleet management, electronic data exchange with road tankers, route optimization and Terminal Automation Systems which connect refineries and tank farms.
“During the development of Min-Oil, we did our utmost to ensure that the solution reflected actual day-to-day operations and not a theoretical ideal situation”, explains Thomas Ernst. When entering jobs in Min-Oil, whether it be a price inquiry, quotation, order or framework contract, two alternatives can be created from the same transaction and a delivery date suggested to the customer using the preplanning facility. Implico considers it equally important that delivery data is fed back. In the oil industry, orders are often based on only rough estimates, so the amount actually delivered to the customer is seldom identical to the amount ordered, continues Ernst.
Using the actual deliveries, Min-Oil’s feedback data is used to automatically adjust all transactions, such as amounts ordered, on a daily basis and generates corresponding delivery notes. Thomas Ernst sees one of the main advantages of the mySAP All-in-One solution in the straightforward and user-friendly operation of the system. Around 80 percent of day-to-day operations can be dealt with using two screen masks.

An overview is essential

The mySAP All-in-One solution supports almost all the de facto standards of the oil industry, which ensures that it can work with third-party software and can thus cover specific technical requirements. For instance, Min-Oil transmits delivery data to tank farms using OpenTAS and sends delivery orders to mobile TouchPC devices. Map & Guide or an SAP-certified interface with OptiTool performs automated route optimization for road tankers. The communication assemblies correspond to the TDL (Truck Data Link) industry standard. Thomas Ernst uses a theoretical delivery scenario to explain the complex requirements which the solution must satisfy. Min-Oil checks possible delivery amounts for the time zone and the number of orders. Both values can be adjusted using the customizing facility. The solution sends all the orders for a day to a route optimization program which in turn optimizes the orders along a given route. The result produced can still be manually adjusted. The mySAP All-in-One solution then outputs the routes to the on-board computer and receives the result. “Min-Oil therefore covers the highly complex planning processes in the oil industry over the entire value-added chain (supply chain) from order input to route planning and automated delivery”, summarizes Mr. Ernst.

An open and scalable solution

Implico developed the solution in close cooperation with oil industry experts. The standard SAP R/3 application and the industry solution mySAP Oil & Gas were used as the basis for development. According to the manufacturer, the solution can be installed in mySAP Oil & Gas 4.6C and mySAP CRM without any modification. It can also be usefully supplemented with mySAP BI. Min-Oil also offers unlimited scalability and is suitable for environments with between 20 and 5,000 users. The introduction of the solution, explains Mr. Ernst, takes between four and six months. “The time scale depends on the number of users, the complexity of the business processes and how the preset system fits into existing business processes”. For free database selection (for example, SAP DB), Implico lists SAP R/3, mySAP Oil & Gas and the Min-Oil engine as the system requirements for installation. Min-Oil is also available as an outsourcing solution in Implico’s data center and costs between Euro 95 and 150 per workstation depending on the number of users.
An ISO 9001:2001 certified quality management system also defines and details processes, procedures and responsibilities. “The Min-Oil industry solution speeds up company workflow and helps to prevent errors and adhere to agreements with customers”, states Implico’s Managing Director in conclusion.

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Dr. Andreas Schaffry
Dr. Andreas Schaffry