Business and operations integration plays an important role in the city gas distribution (CGD) segment as it ensures environmental protection and minimises business risks associated with gas network operations. This allows companies to meet their short-, medium- and long-term targets, which in turn helps improve the overall business efficiency.
Honeywell case study
A case in point is Honeywell, which deploys enterprise-wide solutions to optimise its entire business operations. Under the performance materials and technologies segment, the company offers various solutions for the oil and gas industry. These include smart field instrumentation, advanced distributed control systems (DCS), process optimisation diagnostics and services, integrated safety and security solutions, mobile business productivity tools and services, cybersecurity protection, technical services and field support.
The main objectives of these solutions are capacity utilisation, minimising operational costs, managing ageing pipelines and equipment, capturing spot opportunities, mitigating disruptions, and business and operations integration. For planning and scheduling their operations, companies require the following:
- Tools to balance supply, demand, capacity and logistics.
- Manage multiple planning and coordination constraint.
- One version of truth to support consistent decision making.
- Predictable business process that can be tracked and managed.
- Ability to track performance and improve the overall process.
- Broad visibility to ensure alignment.
These enable the organisation to achieve the following objectives:
- Take decisions on what to do about dynamic market conditions.
- Respond quickly to an unexpected customer request.
- Provide consistent, timely reports and outlooks for the organisation.
- Manage the business processes and improve them based on the feedback.
- End-to-end supply chain visibility.
- Identify opportunities and potential problems in advance.
- Shift to proactive business management in order to avoid firefighting.
- Synchronisation between business, production and logistics.
Traditionally, spreadsheets have been used as a data modelling tool for planning and forecasting. Although they are extremely flexible, there are challenges associated with spreadsheets such as managing and maintaining a large amount of data, multiple versions of truth and complexity with growing business.
In a typical reporting workflow, an engineer collects data/manual feed from the website in an Excel format or scanned copies, or uses the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and historical (past) data. He then sends the data to the operator/manager/technician for clarification, after which a report is generated. This is entirely a manual process in which multiple versions of truth are created. In order to resolve this problem, Honeywell proposes to adopt a completely automated business and logistics approach.
Under this approach, the SCADA or historical data is sent to a central processing tool, namely, the capacity distribution planner (CDP). This tool processes the data and further sends it to the operator/manager/technician for approval. A data warehouse stores all the approved and validated data, from which the final report is generated by the engineer. The CDP provides interactive, structured and collaborative decision support, helps collate data, and provides one version of truth. In addition, it is easy to use, highly configurable and extensible, and helps provide full supply chain solutions.