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Automation helps Shree Cement reduce TAT by 50%

Shree Cement is adopting automation to overcome operational challenges and has reduced the eight-hour turnaround time (TAT) by 50 per cent

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Logistics is one of the major areas where the cost incurred is huge. Thereupon, the quality of the product has to be maintained customers are looking for superior quality cement. However, ensuring sustained quality is a concern. Manoranjan Kumar, CIO, Shree Cement asserts, “In the cement industry, if we can reduce some part of the logistics cost by automating the processes, then it is going to drastically help the bottom line.”

Further, optimising billing is another aspect of logistics that Kumar wanted to address through automation.

Automation to tame operational challenges
Shree Cement is focusing on automation, and the company is banking upon modern technologies to automate processes across the board. Kumar explains that one of the challenges was to get an accurate view of the timeframe and status of the material – be it loading, shipping or in transit – and help customers to keep track accurately. The company has overcome this challenge to a great extent with automation.

“A cloud-based analytics technology is supporting us in tracking the vehicles and it has reduced manual intervention to a large extent. The turnaround time has decreased, tremendously. Earlier it used to take us eight hours to move our delivery order from one place to another, but now the time has been reduced by 50 per cent,” explains Kumar.

The trucks are now GPS-enabled and have IoT devices, sensors and voice-based commands integrated to help drivers understand instructions even in regional languages and assist them to get their wages on time.

Shree Cement has plans to automate the packing plant, so that the POCs and shipping teams are able to manage their operations better and get complete clarity on when the actual package is dropped on the conveyer belt and is loaded onto the truck. They have developed online dashboards for the logistics team across the plants, so they can identify the status of the stock, order capacity and evaluate how the demand is going to be fulfilled, from product getting loaded to finally getting dispatched.

Not just internally, the company has adopted automation processes for their customers as well. The moment their product is loaded or dispatched from the plant, a notification is sent to the customer through an auto-generated link which is directly sent to them along with the marketing team and the logistics head. Everything is made available on the same dashboard to ensure complete clarity.

Kumar says, “For all the activities, we are using a lot of products from Oracle. We have Oracle ERP and some of them are used outside Oracle as well, but it has been integrated into the ERP system. All the dashboards, reports are sent to the top management directly with the latest location and business analytics. The dashboards are shared through the centralised control centre.”

The company has additional automation, transport management, and the cloud-based transport management system which identifies what kind of capacity is required, how much has to be shipped, on which truck and what would be the shortest route from the plant to the customer’s location.

Kumar adds, “The cloud-based customer systems are used in showcasing the forecast as well as help us in planning. Also, we are planning to deploy a mobile application.” Shree Cement is using the Oracle Management Cloud (OMC) which is built on Oracle Cloud Platform and it delivers a comprehensive, integrated portfolio of services for application development, business analytics, content and collaboration, data management, integration, and mobile. OMC eliminates multiple information silos across end user and infrastructure data – silos that have traditionally limited visibility and created inefficiency.

AI and ML to predict system downtime
In order to identify the customer demands and enhance the capacity to deliver more, the company is planning to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. “One of the use cases for machine learning in our industry is forecasting the downtime and how we can reduce the downtime and increase efficiency. This can be analysed based on the plants’ data and by cross checking with the records of previous data. Based on the data collected, the software can predict and inform the maintenance team about number of products and systems function failures and depending on the insights, we can improve quality,” he explains.

Robots for vendor payments
Earlier, Shree Cement used to make all its payments manually. “We have connected the bank with the accounting system through Oracle ERP, so all invoices will be done through the same system,” Kumar adds.

The company calls it “Soft Robotics”, using which, invoices are directly sent to the customer and in case of appropriate order or packing, the amount is credited to the customer’s account directly by integrating the bank. “These are the areas where customers and vendors are coming forward to work with us and we are giving more discounts to them than what our competitors are offering. This shows our profitability and business efficiency,” he informs.

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