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Increasing Scheduling Horizon By 100 Percent

By committing to new processes for its polyethylene business, one company was able to migrate to six standard aspenONE Supply Chain applications with a single design throughout.

NOVA Chemicals produces plastics and chemicals essential to everyday life. Their current businesses and joint ventures focus on ethylene, polyethylene, and Performance Styrenic polymers production in manufacturing sites strategically located throughout Canada, the U.S., and South America.

As a legacy MIMI customer, NOVA Chemicals recognized AspenTech's supply chain capabilities, but over time, their installation had grown to more than 25 unique models with no standardization or integration. From a change management perspective, any form of modification became overwhelming for both IT support and end users.

By committing to a new, standard set of business processes for all parts of the polyethylene business, NOVA Chemicals was able to migrate to six standard aspenONE Supply Chain applications with a single design throughout. The new business processes were automated and integrated, enabling NOVA Chemicals to react quickly to changing business conditions and determine the best course of action across the supply chain.

Lack Of Standardization

Due to fragmented business processes and a lack of automation, NOVA Chemicals was forced to manage their supply chain manually via emails and phone calls, making it difficult to react to any type of business change. They had no way of evaluating the impact or determining the best course of action to respond to events such as price changes, shutdowns, raw material constraints, and weather-related impacts. Further, the lack of uniformity between models broke down synergies between groups and made change management difficult.

Redefining Business Processes And Tools

As part of their Integrated Demand and Supply Planning (IDSP) project, NOVA Chemicals set out to redefine their business processes to be consistent with the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model, a best-practice framework developed by the Supply Chain Council. Once the newly defined "To-Be" business process was agreed upon by all stakeholders, NOVA went from 25 unique models to six aspenONE Supply Chain applications.

For implementation, the team focused on a specific business area and worked to prototype each application to meet the business needs. Once the prototype was completed, the system was reviewed by the business and recommendations were made. The recommendations were ported into the other areas and a full implementation was conducted, resulting in all business units having the same tool with the same process.

Standardization And Integration

NOVA Chemicals' new standardized set of software tools supports a single set of business processes while still allowing for user flexibility. Fourteen scheduling models have been reduced to one, providing a similar design and common look and feel that significantly reduced the effort required when schedulers cover for each other. The standardization across models also reduced NOVA's overall IT ownership cost. Change management/maintenance requests such as deploying changes and resolving issues went from one week to less than one day in duration.

NOVA's newly integrated process allows upstream changes to propagate downstream to other models. A central data repository now enables a single source of data sharing and collaboration between all IDSP modules and allows for dynamic reporting across all regions and businesses. NOVA's initial focus has been primarily on the execution side (scheduling). Their next area of focus will be more strategic, long-term planning.

"Due to forward visibility, the scheduling horizon doubled, increasing from 90 days to 180 days. This gave the schedulers better raw material visibility and a better product wheel," says Zoran Stojcevski, Systems Analyst and Developer, NOVA Chemicals.

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