Synergy in automating processes

Innovation is about finding new ways of solving problems and challenging the status quo. Our Administration, Supplier Management and IT teams have managed to integrate different management systems and automate a process by asking a simple question: Who else can I work with to be more efficient?

Recently at Tecpetrol, we've been working intensively on a range of innovation, digitization and systems automation processes.

For example, the implementation of the Atenea Project in 2021 meant a qualitative leap in data and process management: work is also being done to integrate this with other software in addition to the new SAP. In many cases, Excel spreadsheets have been upgraded and transformed as part of systems that are more agile and offer greater control, leading to better productivity, consistency and precision.

With their sights set firmly on continuous improvement, different areas of Tecpetrol have been working on developing new opportunities for automation between related systems. The keyword here is synergy. Delving into the etymology of the word, we find that its roots are the Greek 'syn ' meaning simultaneity, and 'ergon', work, providing enough of a clue as to how to encourage teamwork—and ask ourselves the following questions: Why? As well as: Who else can I work with to get started? Ultimately, working in "synergy mode" involves coordinating two or more parts whose effect is greater than the effects achieved by each part working individually.

Two management systems begin a dialogue: a single criterion for Exactian and Ivalua

Auditing our suppliers and contractors play a key role in mitigating risks and guaranteeing the safety and excellence of our operations. Our Exactian platform for contractor control allows us to audit our suppliers' documents and integrate them seamlessly with the site's access control system.

However, one more step was needed: Alexis Segovia, the Administration Manager in Argentina had to be able to automatically determine the validity of the qualifications awarded to our suppliers. The objective was to define how often they needed to be evaluated—depending on the type of supplier—thus making better and more efficient use of time and avoiding having to use manual reviews that never got updated.

An inter-area work team was set up including Diego Melgarejo, an IT expert and Luis Lanziani, the Head of Supplier Management, to reconcile key aspects of Exactian and Ivalua, the supplier management system launched in December 2020. They were trying to come up with a single company classification matrix that would allow both systems to interface and be compatible in order to improve supplier control. 

A piece of data or a cross between these characteristics making up a software could seem relatively unimportant, and perhaps we as platform users may not spot what’s happening, so the only way to fully understand the effects of this working synergy is to observe them in practice.

For instance, when a contractor or supplier arrives in the field and passes through access control, the person at the site checkpoint consults Exactian to see whether all the documentation has been approved and the supplier can enter and proceed to carry out work in the field.

Likewise, in order to determine the type of documentation which should be audited for each supplier in general, it was first necessary to know what kind of company it was, based on certain parameters (size, financial solvency, etc.). Formerly, the Administration area used to look up the data manually. Now, these kinds of checks are no longer required as the information is automatically pre-defined.
In fact, it is thanks to this inter-managerial agreement between Administration and Supplier Management, being driven by IT, that the data on the type of company can be uploaded into Ivalua and fed into Exactian automatically through SAP.

"Quite often you get a silo culture between areas, and the challenge is to move towards a global vision of our processes so we can continue building a more efficient Tecpetrol, asking ourselves how we do things. It’s not just about solving problems, but also about focusing on comprehensive developments that necessarily require work on a number of areas that cross over or overlap,” points out Luis Lanziani.

At the end of the talk, Diego, Luis and Alexis challenged the audience to ask themselves “Why?” and “What for?” more often, as well as “Who else?” They've committed to working in a more communicated and integrated fashion with a view to achieving synergies between groups and areas, taking advantage of the path traveled and improving it, because they know that this is possible.

Benefits of the Ivalua-Exactian integration

  • It’s made management software criteria from different areas compatible so that suppliers can be evaluated at different instances.
  • The supplier control processes have been automated, enabling static data to become dynamic.
  • The criterion of the type of provider has become a single corporate value that is not susceptible to change between one operation and another.
  • It’s brought about improvements in productivity, and speedier document control and field access.

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