Communication as a success factor for global digitization program
A leading international chemical company faced one of the biggest challenges of current times: digitalization. The goal of this transformation was to simplify and streamline processes to increase the efficiency of workflows, reduce production costs and ensure safe, reliable, and efficient operations. Data, IT systems, and interfaces were to be standardized and simplified across the company. With eight production sites on three continents and more than 60 plants, this represented a mammoth program that was successfully coordinated and driven forward over several years by a team of experts from T.A. Cook:
The large-scale digitalization program for engineering, production, and maintenance activities included more than ten individual projects executed at all sites. One of the key projects involved establishing a standard core set of applications for design, engineering, and asset documentation to support the entire asset lifecycle. As a result, internal and external engineers can now work on one single engineering platform with a standardized data model, in which all types of information such as P&IDs, piping, and asset tags are mapped and interlinked. This “digital twin” ensures the uniform definition and provision of necessary engineering process data.
Further projects in the digitization program aimed at optimizing various areas including shift handover, mobile maintenance, a standardized project control approach, improved data analysis, and interfaces between turnaround and routine maintenance.
Most digital transformation initiatives fail because the team is not sufficiently involved in the change process. However, changing operations and familiar processes requires that all stakeholders support the project, understand the need, and drive the changes.
A. Cook understands these challenges and geared its consulting services towards reaping the benefits of the digital transformation. Communication at various levels was paramount and accompanied by T.A. Cook’s diverse activities, including:
– Gaining the commitment of top management for the upcoming changes
– Driving organizational change management with expertise to ensure smooth implementation
– Realizing local ownership at plant and site levels to enable full, sustainable implementation
– Building targeted project marketing and appropriate communications to work toward awareness, enthusiasm, and greater participation
– Acting as a sparring partner for the various project leaders to ensure success of individual projects, and thus the overall program
– Driving project progress by anticipating obstacles and managing variances
– Managing interfaces and relationships between projects and the various sites or business units.
Throughout the process T.A. Cook mediated the relationships between the various IT solution providers and the client by bridging the gaps between global requirements and local circumstances, and between relevant best practices and the customer’s specific needs and existing IT offerings. To ensure sustainable success, T. A. Cook developed pragmatic solutions that were understood and supported by all relevant levels including newsletters, articles, demo videos, organized Q&A online rounds, workshops, and roadshows. With support from all levels of management, the teams internalized and accepted the innovations.
T.A. Cook’s active and long-term support and advice took the pressure off the employees and enabled risks to be identified and minimized at an early stage. Engaging and resolving the individual concerns and questions of the various project managers was a critical key to success. The individual projects were driven forward at a brisk pace, and everyone was up to speed. This program laid the foundation for the digitization of the company: harmonizing processes across locations, creating a uniform database, improving data access, and defining important interfaces. This made it possible to reduce inefficient processes, create more time for productive work, and achieve higher plant reliability. The expected benefits of the entire digitization program for the company amount to more than 40 million euros.
“Working on a digital transformation program means being part of something really big. Together, you are already part of the future. Such projects are exciting and terrifying at the same time. That makes it all the more important that everyone involved has a shared vision and follows it together.”
"The discussion and exchange of information between the participants - in terms of approach to other companies - was very insightful."
Projektmanager ENGIE E&P Deutschland GmbH (GDF Suez)