Schneider Electric Introduces Unified Supply Chain Management Software for Refineries

SimSci Spiral Suite offers new cross-boundary workflows and creates instant collaboration across the full hydrocarbon supply chain to unlock profitability.

Spiral Suite supply chain management software from Schneider Electric can help refineries save millions of dollars each year. Source: Schneider Electric
Spiral Suite supply chain management software from Schneider Electric can help refineries save millions of dollars each year. Source: Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric has introduced a unified supply chain management solution for the hydrocarbon processing industry built on its Spiral Suite platform. The new offering closes the value gaps left by poorly integrated legacy tools and improves collaboration across the refinery, helping traders, planners and schedulers make reliable decisions, manage risks and ultimately increase profitability.

Spiral Suite will be on display at Schneider Electric’s Software Global Customer Conference taking place the week of September 30, 2014, in Orlando, Fla.

“Spiral Suite promises to transform the refinery business environment from being a place where hundreds of people work in isolation—not seeing or understanding how their bits of individual work contribute to the whole—to a place where workers first see and understand how their decisions impact others and then cooperate to collectively unlock the maximum value of their economic forecasts,” said Ravi Gopinath, Ph.D., executive vice president, Schneider Electric Global Solutions, Software Business.

“The latest advances to our Spiral Suite toolset achieve, above and beyond, what many refiners and vendors have tried and failed to do with legacy solutions: It improves understanding and cooperation between traders, planners and schedulers and replaces several disjointed point solutions with a single, easy-to-use application,” explains Gopinath. “In short, it increases transparency and collaboration across different business groups, enabling our customers to make the best overall decisions for safety and profitability while taking better advantage of new opportunities presented by the market.

“It’s a great example of the new, game-changing technology Schneider Electric will continue to introduce to help our customers plan and manage their future,” he added.

Spiral Suite users can contribute to and add value to one another’s decision making without the risk of overwriting data or causing downstream processing issues at the plant. Combined with powerful, intuitive visualizations, everyone is able to view, understand and respond to incidents. All refinery activities are supported within a single, intuitive environment, and accurate, up-to-date information is available across the business.

Planners can see future scheduling constraints; schedulers can assess their decisions against commercial impact and operational feasibility. “Users from different disciplines and locations are now able to work together effectively to create the most flexible, optimal plan for any set of circumstances, unlocking potential cost savings and margin improvements that could total millions of dollars each year,” says Gopinath.

Peter Reynolds, senior consultant with ARC Advisory Group, said, “With Spiral Suite, even novice planners can be up and running within a week, rather than after a year of training it would normally take with heritage products. In an industry where challenges are coming from every direction, companies risk losing out if they continue to apply outdated work processes that rely on experts. In some cases, optimized production planning is only achieved through knowledge held by a small number of people and naturally collaborative working relationships.

“As these experts retire, more companies are looking to invest in a sustainable solution that supports the younger, more mobile workforce. Spiral Suite offers exceptional ease-of-use, meaning users can perform all the necessary analytics to make profitable, risk-adjusted feedstock purchasing and refinery planning decisions within weeks of licensing,” Reynolds said.

Spiral Suite’s SaaS deployment model, off-the-shelf integration and ease of use mean the application can be learned within days. Legacy point solutions can be replaced quickly and simply, without incurring the high cost of implementing or maintaining data transfer. Inadequate, unsupported integration bridges are removed, as is the need for application experts and extensive training courses, which lowers total cost of ownership. Data from in-house and external systems can be made available automatically within workflows, and people from across the business can work in parallel to build the supply chain model within weeks, without needing to know matrix math.

Spiral Suite takes advantage of the advanced features of modern processors, exploiting multi-core and cloud environments to generate results in seconds and then present them in a way everyone can understand. Users can explore the business and operational implications of millions of scenarios and receive real-time feedback on how their changes would impact the rest of the supply chain.

Integral cargo tracking and assay management mean crude oil quality variations can be analyzed within minutes, rather than weeks. This allows users to swiftly assess the financial impact on the business, as well as any potential operational and reliability issues, prior to purchase of the crude. The software also automatically reconciles all available data and performs “backcasting” to understand how and why there are deviations to the plan.

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments. For more information about Spiral Suite, visit www.spiralsoft.com.

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