96% of manufacturing involves chemical processes, showing the importance of the chemical industry. 1 However, the chemical companies have faced several challenges in recent years:
- Companies are expected to reduce carbon emissions and switch to more sustainable production by 2030.
Process mining can tackle these issues by bringing visibility to operations, locating inefficiencies and automation opportunities, ensuring compliance and managing all relevant manufacturing and supply chain processes.
This article explains 10 process mining chemicals applications to help business leaders and analysts understand how they can deploy process intelligence and accelerate in today’s competitive market.
1. Ensure compliance
Before producing and distributing their products, chemical manufacturers are expected to apply for permission, known as the permission process. The application process requires:
- Strong coordination between state agencies and local authorities
- Transparent and straightforward data analytics
- A clear process map including path, opportunities, specific deadlines and overall planning
- A comprehensive environmental and socio-economic impact report
Each requirement alone involves time-consuming and costly activities and tasks.
Process mining can help with the entire permit application process by extracting process data and analyzing it automatically. Process mining customizes dashboards and generates a process model by using the data. Analysts can use these insights to prepare ESG reports and data analytics.
Chemical industry analysts can leverage process maps to promote communication and collaboration. Besides, they can compare the discovered model against rules, regulations and standards with conformance-checking capability. This way, they can assess and ensure compliance, reducing high fees and promoting safety for workers, consumers and the environment.
2. Enhance inventory management
Better inventory management can decrease costs while increasing safety and sustainability rates. Chemical firms invest in inventory management software and predictive maintenance tools. Yet, they still complain about the lack of:
- Centralized datasheets: Chemical firms have to track the flow of material from multiple buyers and suppliers, which makes it challenging to centralize the material flow record.
- Reliable data: The inability to record the flow of raw material creates inaccurate and unreliable data about storage, threatening compliance and production.
- Visibility: Lack of central and reliable data leads to over or lack of purchases for manufacturing, affecting costs and production.
Process mining can help chemical companies manage their inventory efficiently and reduce their additional costs.
Process mining can automatically capture data from ERP systems to track and map materials that have been purchased. Chemical manufacturers can also gather data from other spreadsheets and tools to manage their inventory and upload it on the process mining platform.
As a result, they can centralize their raw material inventory data and increase their visibility. Besides, they can leverage a task mining capability to capture user interaction with these apps, improving their data reliability and visibility.
In process mining case studies, a logistics firm that deployed process mining managed to reduce its warehousing cost by 40%.
3. Remain sustainable
International and national authorities and customer expectations push chemical and pharmaceutical companies to
- Offer environmentally friendly products
- Reduce their energy spending
- Watch over hazard their production leaves.
However, remaining sustainable and achieving high performance and low costs may not go hand in hand for chemical firms.
Process mining can overcome this problem by allowing chemical and pharma firms to measure and illustrate their commitment levels by uploading and comparing environmental metrics, such as:
With process mining, chemical and pharma companies can track their energy and resource usage, measure their costs and performance and compare them against sustainable production targets.
4. Improve emergency response
Chemical accidents can occur as explosions, fires or emissions during production, storage or transportation. Over the last 90 years, the FACTS chemical accident database registered 25,700 incidents containing hazardous materials and goods. 2
One prominent example is the explosion in a warehouse storing a large amount of ammonium nitrate at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. The accident led to 218 deaths, 7,000 injuries, and US$15 billion in damage while leaving 300,000 people homeless. 3
Chemical firms can handle such accidents and minimize the impact by following an efficient emergency plan. However, the designed program and real response do not match reality for many firms.
Process mining can improve emergency response by identifying deviations from the drills and prescribed emergency plans. Analysts can drive data-driven insights to evaluate and improve emergency response plans.
5. Achieve plant maintenance
Effective plant maintenance can help chemical manufacturers:
- Maintain equipment and facilities properly
- Find easy methods of repair for the equipment
- Improve machinery and equipment to avoid the potential risk of damage
- Reduce additional costs caused by inefficient management and stop time due to mistakes and incidents.
For example, in a study from Chemical production, monitoring plant maintenance with sensors and predictive maintenance software enabled timely intervention, downsizing costs and time-to-repair by 50%. 4
Process mining can also build successful plant maintenance by running process diagnostics of the industrial plants and analyzing root causes behind emergency shutdowns. With process analysis, visualization and diagnosis, chemical manufacturers can:
- Locate failures in their system
- Predict potential risks of broken equipment, components and sensors
- Monitor the performance of the machinery
- Develop quantitative strategies.
6. Enable digital transformation & automation
The chemical industry has embraced digitalization and automation for higher operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Chemical automation and digital transformation strategy can focus on any change in IT systems, analytics, or procurement.
Yet, 60% of chemical firms still need a clear digital strategy. 5
Process mining can facilitate the deployment of RPA and digital transformation of chemical processes by:
- Increasing visibility to activities and tasks
- Allowing run simulations of automation scenarios with a digital twin of an organization
- Identifying repetitive and redundant activities to automate
- Monitoring performance during and after the transformation to assess its impact.
7. Develop efficient procurement strategy
Purchasing spending takes between 20 to 60 % of chemical firms’ sales revenue, and a good-performing procurement process can reduce this spending by 6- 10%. 6This is why 80% of chemical company leaders aim to reduce costs and mitigate risks by improving their procurement processes. 7 On the other hand, 62% of these leaders complained that they lacked the skills to implement their procurement strategy.
Process mining can be useful in developing and implementing an efficient procurement strategy.
With the help of process mining, chemical firms’ business analysts can:
- Extract and use data left on CRM like Salesforce and ERP systems, such as SAP.
- Detect issues and root causes behind them.
- Map out complicated processes such as order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes.
Learn other process mining use cases, case studies & benefits:
- Top 44 Process Mining Use Cases & Applications
- 51 Process mining case studies & project results
- Unlock 11 Process Mining Benefits
Check out our data-driven and comprehensive vendor list to benefit from process mining software.
Explore comprehensive and constantly updated version of process mining case studies.
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