It’s Time to Stop Herding Cats – and Spreadsheets
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.