Vinmar International, a global chemical and plastics raw material distribution company with more than $4 billion in revenue, is leveraging process mining and the Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) to eliminate inefficiencies across all lines of business.
The privately held Houston-based business runs a distribution giant that requires multiple high-volume and high-velocity multi-touch transactions across its 50 offices, delivering to more than 100 countries. Honing the process choreography required to meet global customer needs is one of the reasons Vinmar is using Celonis’ insights to continually improve.
In a recent webinar, Vinmar CEO Vishal Goradia outlined the three focus areas for improvements: labor productivity, process efficiency and working capital. Vinmar has addressed those areas by using Celonis EMS as a cockpit that replaces manual processes and improves labor output.
For instance, Celonis has improved labor productivity by complementing SAP with the Celonis EMS as one optimized interface for Vinmar’s back office to execute orders. Previously, supply chain team members flipped through multiple SAP screens, emails and various IT systems to manually compile and track data in Microsoft Excel. In addition to the EMS, process mining has helped Vinmar identify hidden bottlenecks inside processes.
Goradia, who mapped Vinmar processes early in his career, said revealing these hidden bottlenecks is critical. “Everything looked great on paper, but Celonis allows us to see how things are actually working,” said Goradia. “These process improvements also have intangible benefits such as the quality of life for employees. Having Celonis makes life easier for our team.”
"My goal is to make Celonis the driver of efficiency for the entire organization and improve return on investment," said Abhi Banerjee, Director Process Transformation and Digitization at Vinmar International. "We have designed the EMS workspace to allow our supply chain team to focus on problem solving and customer satisfaction while advanced algorithms help identify the order related gaps, create logical groupings and distribute them to team members,” he added. “The system unlocks efficiency and improves work balance in the team.”
Banerjee said Vinmar's Celonis journey started in 2020 with process mining to optimize its SAP financial processes and has since evolved to focus on using the EMS as a platform for the company's supply chain operations. "We are pushing boundaries with custom connectors via the action engine, execution apps, row-level/field-level security and near real time data ingestion with multiple IT systems including SAP and other home-grown systems,” said Banerjee.
For instance, Vinmar's back-office teams can now log into the Celonis sales order based EMS cockpit and view the number of open and delayed orders, as well as blocked and incomplete orders. More than 150 columns of order related data from multiple systems are available to the team members with one log-on for a 360-degree view of a process. Vinmar’s team members can create deliveriesfrom Celonis via an action engine tied to SAP in real time. The EMS-based workflow eliminates the need to log into SAP to perform a transaction, improves efficiency and reduces errors.
“Vinmar is looking to optimize working capital and labor efficiency. Once fully implemented, Celonis will measure the organization in terms of KPIs and that creates better governance across the board,” said Banerjee. “Working capital and labor improvements is just a start. Inventory, order-to-cash, credit approvals, demurrage charges, accounts payable and automation are all targeted improvement areas.”
The need for a CoE
The journey to efficiency requires considerable investment of time and effort. Vinmar has created a Celonis-centric Center of Excellence (CoE) with partnership with Tech Mahindra and Prametis, a boutique Celonis consulting firm. To maximize the return, it makes sense to build once and deploy it across multiple regions and business units with minor tweaks, the ideal function of a CoE organization.
The support for the CoE starts at the CEO level and this helps to maintain the momentum of the continuous improvement process. "The CoE reports into VP of Operations, and we are integrating it into our routine business culture," said Goradia. "As a service company and one that is physically moving product, storing it and delivering it we constantly think about process and execution. Mistakes can be costly."
The CoE organization reports to Sajan Dhanuka, Vice President of Operations at Vinmar. Vinmar is in the process of supply chain transformation and digitization. "We needed a focused effort to align with the leaders of the business, and on-boarded Banerjee to lead that effort. With the renewed focus on a CoE team, Vinmar can make quick gains in efficiency and drive transformation faster,” said Dhanuka. The CoE team members are in the United States and India to support multiple locations around the world. "Currently we're relying on Celonis, Prametis and Tech Mahindra to offer technical support to our CoE team,” said Dhanuka.
Ajay Pratap Yadav, Digital Transformation Lead for Americas at Tech Mahindra, said his firm provides the technical services to build out the execution apps as well as the process mining methodologies in the background. Tech Mahindra is supporting Vinmar's CoE and has its own process mining CoE with more than 200 consultants focused on multiple industries including telecom, banking, manufacturing and retail.
Yadav said the discussions about a Vinmar CoE accelerated in 2020 with a rollout in 2021. Tech Mahindra deployed Celonis process mining for Vinmar's accounts receivable, accounts payable and procure-to-pay processes in a staged approach. Those deployments made the case for a broader CoE, said Yadav.
Rahul Agarwal, Tech Mahindra's Senior Director of Digital Transformation & Solution and BPM/Process Mining CoE, said developing a CoE requires a bevy of roles including process experts, low-code and no-code developers and analysts to provide baselines.
Agarwal said Tech Mahindra was able to provide its experiences with CoEs to Vinmar. "We knew what needed to be done," he said. "You need the right value framework, user and deployment support and governance."
For Goradia, the CoE will be "the best way for continual improvement, a core part of our philosophy."