Global supply chain transformation at Borealis

When you’re as internationally active as Borealis is, managing your global supply chain is quite a challenge. Redefining those processes is an even bigger challenge, but Borealis was confident to tackle. Together with Flexso, they embarked on a digital transformation to automate and optimize their supply chain and operations.

Supply Chain SAP APO low

Managing global supply chain processes

Borealis is a top 10 global producer of specialized plastics and chemicals, with production sites ranging from Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia. Needless to say, their supply chain processes (S&OP or sales and operations planning) are rather complex.

The manual steps in Borealis’ production planning created bottlenecks in their operations planning. These in turn led to large stocks and delays in customer service. To boost their efficiency, Borealis decided to redesign and automate their supply chain.

Business process optimization

Before defining an IT roadmap, Borealis decided to first rethink their global processes. “Our organization was changing and so was the context”, explains Tamas Kenesei, Supply Chain Product Owner at Borealis. “In 2019 and 2020, events like Covid and Brexit increased the complexity of our supply chain even further. That’s why we took the opportunity to rigorously review and redesign our business processes, in particular the logistic and supply chain processes.”

We rigorously reviewed and redesigned our business processes, in particular the logistic and supply chain processes.

Tamas Kenesei - Supply Chain Product Owner at Borealis

“One of the fundamental process changes we made was separating planning and execution. We first redefined the KPIs for our planning processes. What is the best way to serve the market and our customers? How do we create value for the company? Then we translated these goals into feasible and efficient operations.”

To bridge the gap between business and IT, Borealis created a center of excellence focusing on process excellence, data excellence and data science. They also introduced new methodologies like lean activities, performance monitoring and a self-learning supply chain.”

Based on these new business processes, Borealis adjusted the organization and created an IT roadmap.

The supply chain automation at Borealis in a nutshell

ATP (Available to Promise) improvements

Exception based planning by automatically detecting scheduling conflicts results.

Process automation
Automate the production scheduling by introducing customized heuristics and alerts.
Introduce statistical forecast in demand planning.

Supply chain planning optimization
Achieve lower stock and improved customer service by Introduction of Supply optimization to automatically balance demand and supply inside the network.

Fast order confirmation
Customer segmentation and financial information (CSM) in order confirmation to improve customer satisfaction and margins.

Customer segmentation
Customers segmentation to have the focus on the correct strategically correct customers throughout the planning process.

Automate and predict

Borealis had been using SAP APO (Advanced Planner and Optimizer) to organize their S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning). To support and automate their new processes, they decided to further develop SAP APO, adding custom-built functionalities.

“We outlined a few clear goals”, says Tamas. “We wanted to improve our demand planning through statistical forecasts. Historical data can be leveraged to make accurate projections of the production planning. That way, we’d be able to lower stocks and speed up order confirmation, thanks to a better overview of available materials and production capacity.”

Build the future of the company

To realize these ambitions, Borealis called in Flexso’s help. “We wanted Flexso to help build the future of our company with SAP”, says Tamas. “They had the industry-specific knowledge and technical expertise to think along with us: how should SAP work for us, how should we adapt our processes and more specifically: how do we develop SAP APO to support our ambitions?”

Teamwork Supply Chain SAP APO

“But more than their expertise, we are very happy with the way we formed one team. The Flexso colleagues brought an open mindset and were ready to learn with us. Part of the design phase is to put your trust in partners to reshape your business. Long story short: the Flexso people brought their knowledge, but they brought themselves along to create a true team spirit. And the results are obvious.”

“We managed to create an automated digital supply chain, with statistical forecasting and possibilities for people to decrease manual work”, says Tamas. “Change management was a challenge, as it was a big project that involved a lot of people. But Flexso navigated us through this phase as well. We were able to manage a business-critical transformation in turbulent times, and it’s something to be extremely proud of”, Tamas concludes.

A more resilience for your supply chain?

A digital supply chain provides a real-time view of all the links in your chain, processes and costs. This gives you the resilience to make rapid changes. Discover how your supply chain can become a differentiator.

Written by

Tommy Vanspauwen

Tommy Vanspauwen

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