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Blog Series: Best Practices for Your Petroleum Supply Chain

Check out our blog series, "Best Practices for Your Petroleum Supply Chain" and learn from industry experts how to incorporate best practices to improve your planning and scheduling processes.

November 30, 2016 by Ruben Ramirez / 0 Comment
Ruben Ramirez

It’s Time to Stop Herding Cats – and Spreadsheets

Herding Cats

One of the phrases we sometimes use in our office when assembling global, multi-discipline teams for a project is that it’s just like herding cats. We are in Houston, Texas, so the images of a cowboy, cattle and corral are easy to imagine. The skill demonstrated when herding cattle is impressive, but cats being, well cats, they could make any cowhand hang up his lasso.


The refining industry is a world of uncertainty and things rarely go exactly as planned and can fluctuate just like a cat’s temperament. When a change occurs in the schedule it is imperative to be able to share that information across the organization to make the right business decision. However, the challenge faced by many refiners is that scheduling a refinery can be like herding cats, with important scheduling information dispersed among many individuals.


Typically, you have crude schedulers, product schedulers and other scheduling stakeholders who need access to accurate information on the company’s current corporate objectives and refinery capabilities, such as logistics, outages, feedstock receipts, process units, tanks and product lines across the entire refinery. This information needs to be interconnected and easily shared, but often cannot because of the multiple versions of the schedule being shared.


The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this! In this new white paper, Reach New Heights: Six Best Practices in Planning and Scheduling, it explains how to address complex challenges that arise with best-in-class petroleum supply chain technology. Stop running around trying to herd cats (or spreadsheets) every time a change occurs and spend more time evaluating different scenarios in a collaborative scheduling environment.


A Petronas Melaka Refinery faced a similar challenge by using multiple, standalone spreadsheets that led to an increase in manual errors when creating the refinery schedule. Check out this short video on how the Melaka Refinery (@Petronas) eliminated their spreadsheets and increased profit margins through a collaborative scheduling environment.


  • Patrick Garrett
    December 20, 2016 by Patrick Garrett / 0 Comment

    Achieving Work/Life Balance: How the Right Tools Can Help

    Work/life balance may be the most important factor in achieving and maintaining happiness and success as an employee. I know that this concept is true for myself, most of my friends, and my colleagues. It is vital to enjoy your personal time, whether you’re leaving work to play some basketball with your buddies or heading home to play with your newborn son. In my case, it used to be the former, but now it’s the latter…

  • Allison McNulty
    September 21, 2016 by Allison McNulty / 0 Comment

    Goldilocks and Refinery Planning and Scheduling

    Okay, I confess – in addition to the various news sources I peruse daily, I also learn from “Captivate.” You know, the ingenious screens at the top of the elevator that flash snippets of news to stare at so you can avoid eye contact instead of (gasp!) actually talking to your fellow passengers …

  • Patrick Garrett
    October 14, 2016 by Patrick Garrett / 0 Comment

    Weather the Storm With These Refinery and Olefins Planning Best Practices

    Weather is a lot like the energy industry—globally interconnected, hard to predict, ever-changing and cyclic. In different places around the world, weather varies but there are many similarities, just like the energy industry. In summer, Europe is warm and relaxing but in India, it is roasting hot and dry with everyone eagerly awaiting the first monsoon…