Today, digital transformation is key to successful business development, as it enables companies to avoid slowing down of business processes as they tackle increased volumes of content in the process of growth. Let's see how SIBUR digitalises its processes across the board – from production to office.
Going digital at production sites
At SIBUR, we continuously introduce new digital solutions. At the end of 2018, we piloted an automated solution for mobile inspection of production sites.
Switching to digital safe work permits has reduced the time to make them fivefold, boosting labour productivity.
Superior technical condition of all devices and equipment is essential for production safety. At any point in time all equipment components should meet the required parameters of pressure, temperature, opening and closing degree, etc. Most of these parameters are controlled by electronics. However, in the petrochemical industry safety requirements are particularly stringent, and production sites are further inspected by specially trained personnel.
These teams do rounds several times a day to examine all critical components of the equipment, recording the parameters in the notebook. Afterwards, they add those records to special reporting forms. But even the most professional, diligent and experienced employees can make occasional mistakes when transferring records. Not to mention the fact that paperwork takes a lot of time.
Our experts have developed a special app that spares inspection workers the routine paperwork by registering breakdowns, keeping the round records, ensuring their accuracy and timeliness, and enabling prompt communication with the foreman and site managers. The app uses Bluetooth and NFC tags to track the inspector’s location and let him know what needs to be examined in that area. The foreman can supervise the process online and communicate with the inspection team through the app’s chat to provide additional guidance and instructions when necessary. The app all but relieves workers of routine paperwork by generating reports and transferring them to the database in real time.
Superior technical condition of all devices and equipment is essential for production safety.
According to Siemens Business Services and IT Solutions, employees spend about half of their working time handling paper documents.
Advanced safety measures
At the beginning of 2019, SIBUR’s IT started to digitise safe work permits – occupational safety instructions for performing hazardous operations. The work permit details the hazards presented by specific types of work and the required precautions to avoid injuries and accidents. This information is important not only during the work, but also afterwards when analysing upcoming repairs. The work permit contains information on the team make-up and number of people involved, the place and time of the repair, and measures that have been taken.
Given that this document deals with occupational safety, it has to be very thorough and detailed. Each work permit is compiled in two copies, which can be very time consuming considering that equipment numbers in the tens of thousands. Naturally, paperwork of this proportion may result in mistakes and inaccuracies. In addition, the work permit should include a map of the work area which requires lots of time and resources to create. Searching through this enormous amount of paperwork to retrieve and analyse information is very inconvenient to say the least. At SIBUR’s Tobolsk site alone work permits pile up into a stack of paper one metre high by the end of the work day.
Today, however, work permits are created electronically with the help of macros or scripts specifically developed for that purpose. Workers just need to sel ect the necessary equipment from the database and align it with relevant occupational safety measures required during the inspection. Then using a simple browser editor they indicate the work area on the map.
The solution has helped cut the time for preparing a work permit fivefold, resulting in increased labour productivity.
Electronic workflow is a key component of business digitalisation. With electronic workflow, companies save on consumables, reduce errors in documents, and free up space as they dispose of their paper archives. Most importantly, digital workflow helps save working time, boost labour productivity, and expedite communication with customers.
According to Siemens Business Services and IT Solutions, employees spend about half of their working time handling paper documents. Digital workflow, on the other hand, increases labour productivity by 20–25%, while also cutting document storage costs by 80%.
Paperwork may take as much as half of employees’ working time.
Digital workflow, on the other hand, increases labour productivity by 20–25%, while also cutting document storage costs by 80%.
In 2002, Russia adopted a law on digital signature, which provided a strong impetus to the development of national economy.
In 2017, SIBUR undertook a major effort to convert its paperwork into electronic form. At the pilot phase, sales documents were digitised. In February 2018, SIBUR engaged the three largest electronic workflow operators, making the source document filing procedure much easier for customers. The company sent 88,000 electronic documents in just under a year, saving two tons of paper. Ruslan Bronichev, head of SIBUR’s project to implement electronic workflow, expects that by the end of 2019 most of the company's customers will have transitioned to electronic workflow.
Combining corporate effort with employee initiative
In addition to development and implementation of effective lean technologies at the corporate level, we also welcome any initiatives from our employees to cut paper workflow. In line with this ethos, ten of our employees undertook an interesting experiment at the beginning of this year, trying to minimise and even completely avoid using paper for a whole month.
It came as no surprise that initially many of them found it very difficult to give up notepads, post-its, and other paper stationery used in task scheduling or note taking at meetings. While digital scheduling apps used at SIBUR are much more functional than their paper counterparts, it took the experiment participants some time and effort to get into the habit of using them.
“At SIBUR, we spend an enormous amount of paper with people printing anything from a single page to entire volumes that often end up in the shredder. It makes me upset, as I think how many trees could have been saved. I hope that we can radically change our approach to using paper and I wanted to start from myself”.
Planner apps can be easily installed on your smartphone and are much more functional than their paper counterparts.
In February 2018, SIBUR engaged the three largest electronic workflow operators, making the source document filing procedure much easier for customers. The company sent 88,000 electronic documents in just under a year, saving two tons of paper.
It took our employees only a few days to abandon their old paper using practices and switch to the more convenient, swift, and efficient electronic forms of taking notes and scheduling activities. In fact, by giving up paper many experiment participants discovered some hidden abilities such as improved memory and higher self-confidence.
“I have reduced the use of paper to the minimum and started using electronic notes and memos. Paper post-its could be very confusing and are often lost, whereas electronic tools are always in front of you on the screen, which is much more convenient”.
The results of the experiment inspired the participants, just as their colleagues.
“We have decided with my team mates to no longer print documents for meetings. Instead, we will circulate them electronically for everyone to read fr om their computer". Participants of the experiment estimate that they saved some 815 sheets of paper compared with the month prior to embarking on it. This is not counting the reduced use of post-its and notepads.
Inspired by these achievements, they feel like continuing to use the new skills and promoting this paperless initiative across the company, urging colleagues to adopt electronic workflow tools.