Oil Field at Sunset

How Celonis supports MOL in reinventing itself during COVID-19 crisis

Adaption is everything in business — especially when a global pandemic shakes up the global economy. As companies all over the world had to rethink and recreate their business strategies and processes, MOL Group was one of the early-adopters who led the pack.

We are a producer, refiner and retailer with operations in more than 30 countries, employing 26,000 people worldwide, with a $7 billion market capitalization. Our exploration and production activities are supported by 80 years’ experience in the hydrocarbon field.

Being the leading integrated Central & East European oil and gas corporation, headquartered in Budapest, Hungary, we became a Celonis customer towards the end of 2019 and had just finished a Celonis Proof of Value project when the pandemic hit. The timing turned out to be highly serendipitous. The Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) provided the insight and flexibility we would need to respond to rapidly-changing circumstances — not just to get through the pandemic itself but to emerge stronger afterward.

Within a year after deployment, 16 companies in the MOL Group are using Celonis — with more than 90 active users working on 40 different custom analyses and process improvement projects. And the fast roll-out has paid off. András Katkó, Head of Group Corporate IT and a key driver of digital transformation within MOL, says: “We discovered what we didn’t know and confirmed what we knew. It’s like we now have an X-ray machine that helps us monitor our processes and our progress. It helps us to see more clearly and get a kind of confirmation on our business decisions.”

Early 2020 was tough for everyone, but especially for oil companies. Demand for oil and natural gas plummeted as widespread lockdowns caused industry shutdowns, massively reduced car usage and grounded aircraft. At one point in April, the oil spot price even went negative, when the global capacity to store any more oil was exhausted. This resulted in shipments with literally nowhere to go all over the world. We had to think fast.

For MOL, agility has always been a key factor to their success, and now, being a Celonis partner since January 2020, we also had the chance to rely on it in these tumultuous times. With the Celonis Execution Management System, we were able to navigate our way effectively through the inevitable budget and workforce schedule adjustments and to bridge planned internal expansion and operationalization until allocating more budget is viable.

Execution capacity is the key

The emphasis at MOL is on core process excellence. However, it’s fair to say that there is always room for innovation and finetuning. All organizations suffer from under-performance in what Celonis calls “execution capacity” — the performance they can achieve with available time and resources.

Celonis and SCMC successfully delivered an initial proof of value project for MOL’s Purchase to Pay (P2P) process across four countries. It was a real breakthrough and the final presentation to senior management convinced us that Celonis’ technology was bringing significant business benefits to the company. The EMS is providing full transparency into our day-to-day activities and, in particular, we value that Celonis’ analyses and insights have established a shared language across the entire company, from the shop floor to the executive board.

Ready when the crisis broke

Leveraging the full set of capabilities of the Celonis EMS in times of the COVID crisis, from Analytics to Strategy, Management, Action, and Automation, meant that we could monitor and shift our operational resources in real time. This was especially important for Procurement, where resources and capacity needed to be rescaled as a matter of urgency.

The Procurement management team requested immediate weekly “Crisis Protocol” analyses to help improve execution capacity by avoiding rework and bottlenecks, increasing automation levels, conserving cash and tracking and predicting workload fluctuations for operational procurement staff. Things moved very quickly: The first usable version of the Crisis Protocol tool was available at the very next weekly procurement management meeting.

Start with trust and build from there

SCMC carried out all the necessary data engineering tasks, built quick and reliable Celonis Execution apps for our actual needs, made observations proactively from those apps, shared results and relevant knowledge, and nurtured the MOL community to understand and digest those results step-by-step. As more and more needs were satisfied, a tipping point arrived when Celonis became the de facto standard, gaining the support of the management in all relevant managerial discussions.

If the program was crucial in helping us through the first stage of the pandemic, it is now the means to flex the organization and business to whatever comes next. To drive that agility to even greater levels, MOL's next step is to quantify and track the value realization with Celonis.

As part of that, the implementation team has already customized Celonis for MOL’s Plant Maintenance / Service Management super-process, and is extending it to four additional areas: Order to Cash (O2C), Frame Contract Lifecycle (FCL) and the Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) process based on Shopping Carts and Ariba Sourcing. We have also started utilizing the benefits of the Automation Engine and will start to use Celonis’ Multi-Event Log (MEL) shortly. For example, MEL will enable process transparency across multiple, linked systems, to connect upcoming process implementations involving Contracting and Sourcing to Ariba Cloud.

There’s no doubt that the implementation project has triggered solid and important changes to the MOL organization. Celonis Execution Management owners from the IT organization have been trained and assigned to the processes that have been implemented, most likely laying the foundation for a MOL Celonis Center-of-Excellence.

This will be the next step in our digital transformation journey with the vision of designing and implementing cross-organization process excellence to drive the next wave of execution capacity improvements. We don’t know what the future holds precisely, but with Celonis, we are certain that we will emerge stronger from the crisis. MOL is prepared - whatever comes next.

András Katkó --author image
András Katkó
Head of Group Corporate IT
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