process excellence in order management celonis

How Huntsman scaled process excellence, use cases

Chemical company Huntsman was able to onboard more than 100 Celonis users globally in less than 6 months and cultivated a team of 'citizen developers' to stamp out process inefficiencies. The real trick: Cultivating a culture that didn't get defensive about process problems and became more collaborative.

Jennifer Bury, Senior Manager of Global Data & Analytics at Huntsman, outlined the company’s projects at Celonis World Tour 2022 Houston. Huntsman started with Celonis in 2020 with a plan to start small, prove value and scale. After a year, Huntsman realized value in order-to-cash processes and grew usage from there.

"When we first started to connect our data to Celonis, we had data that used to take 6 months and 10 different groups manually to pull together," said Bury. "We built a view for a particular issue in a 30 minute session. I was completely floored."

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Once that light bulb moment happened, Huntsman was able to attract more attention and users. "It took a year to get funding for a pilot, but we had to overcome the too good to be true KPIs," said Bury. She said there were multiple process inefficiencies to tackle.

In 2021, Huntsman reported revenue of $8.45 billion, up from $6 billion in 2020. On Huntsman's first quarter earnings conference call, CEO Peter Huntsman said the company has been managing through "continued logistics and supply chain issues" for each of its business units.

Bury's team's goal is to chip away at process inefficiencies and the challenges ahead. She said the approach to become more efficient revolved around "tiger teams" that serve as hunters for process problems. A team included an analyst, commercial lead, financial analyst and subject matter experts. As these teams proliferated, Huntsman has been able to add 40 to 50 analyst users across units.

A Celonis Center of Excellence was also created to further scale across 35 processes. The Celonis Center of Excellence is the mediator that solves issues across units.

Culturally, Bury said Huntsman brought analysts and leaders together to find cases and build views over two days. "Each of the groups presented a business case. Each group realized they weren't alone. We went from defensive to collaborative," she said. The two day work session created multiple use cases.

The context for Bury's efforts is a broader efficiency push at Huntsman. Huntsman has been forced to raise its prices due to inflation, but CEO Peter Huntsman said the company is working to become more efficient and manage costs. Peter Huntsman noted:

"Our second major focus is on our cost realignment across all of our divisions and our SG&A. We presented at our Investor Day a goal of $240 million. To date, we've achieved $125 million of value creation. We remain on track both with respect to timing and the $240 million objective. We share the concerns expressed by just about every company with regards to the threat of energy volatility, inflation, consumer spending and the uncertainties between Russia and Ukraine."

Bury said that Huntsman's plan is to find more use cases, including sustainability. Huntsman has 35 use cases on tap now with some needing operational changes and others that can be solved with automation. Huntsman is using EMS for process alerts and exploring other proof of concepts.

Larry Dignan mugshot 2022
Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief (former)

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of Celonis Media. Before joining Celonis, he was Editor in Chief of ZDNet and has covered the technology industry and transformation trends for more than two decades, publishing articles in, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine.

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