Schneider Electric releases supply chain management solution

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 23 September 2014
Schneider Electric releases supply chain management solution

Schneider Electric has introduced a unified supply chain management solution for the hydrocarbon processing industry.

Built on the company’s Spiral Suite platform, which is based on Microsoft technology, the new offering shortens the value gaps created by poorly integrated legacy tools.

Thanks to the improved levels of collaboration across a refinery, Spiral Suite software enables traders, planners and schedulers to make reliable decisions, manage risks and increase profitability.

“Spiral Suite promises to transform the refinery business environment from being a place where hundreds of people work in isolation — not seeing or understanding how their bits of individual work contribute to the whole — to a place where workers first see and understand how their decisions impact others and then cooperate to collectively unlock the maximum value of their economic forecasts,” said Ravi Gopinath, executive vice president, Schneider Electric Global Solutions, Software Business.

Spiral Suite users can contribute to and add value to one another’s decision making without running the risk of overwriting data or causing downstream processing issues at the plant.

Using the solution and its intuitive visualisations, users can view, understand and respond to incidents.

“The latest advances to our Spiral Suite toolset achieve, above and beyond, what many refiners and vendors have tried and failed to do with legacy solutions: it improves understanding and cooperation between traders, planners and schedulers and replaces several disjointed point solutions with a single, easy-to-use application,” added Gopinath. “In short, it increases transparency and collaboration across different business groups, enabling our customers to make the best overall decisions for safety and profitability while taking better advantage of new opportunities presented by the market. It’s a great example of the new, game-changing technology Schneider Electric will continue to introduce to help our customers plan and manage their future.”

Refinery activities are supported within a single environment, with accurate and up-to-date information is available to view across the entire business.

Planners are able to see future scheduling constraints, and schedulers are able to assess decisions against commercial impact and operational feasibility. Users from different disciplines and locations can work together to create flexible plans to meet any set of circumstances, potentially unlocking significant cost savings and margin improvements.

Spiral Suite’s software-as-a-service model, off-the-shelf integration and ease of use also means the solution can be learned quickly. Furthermore, legacy point solutions can be easily replaced, without incurring the high costs associated with implementing or maintaining data transfer.

“With Spiral Suite, even novice planners can be up and running within a week, rather than after a year of training it would normally take with heritage products,” said Peter Reynolds, senior consultant with ARC Advisory Group. “In an industry where challenges are coming from every direction, companies risk losing out if they continue to apply outdated work processes that rely on experts. In some cases, optimised production planning is only achieved through knowledge held by a small number of people and naturally collaborative working relationships. As these experts retire, more companies are looking to invest in a sustainable solution that supports the younger, more mobile workforce. Spiral Suite offers exceptional ease-of-use, meaning users can perform all the necessary analytics and backcasting to make profitable, risk-adjusted feedstock purchasing and refinery planning decisions within weeks of licensing.”

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