Infineum, a leading lubes additive company, chose us to help connect their ERP system with the Elemica e-Marketplace. As a systems integrator we brought to the project years of technical expertise relating to e-business connectivity applications and standards and our in depth knowledge of the global chemical industry.
Efficiency through business process automation and inventory optimisation through greater data visibility across the supply chain.
Infineum’s business objective, to leverage new technology to drive an even greater improvement to the overall efficiency of its global supply chain, is being achieved by implementing a series of e-business initiatives. Reducing the cost of procurement transactions by streamlining and automating the purchase-to-pay process and improving inventory control through increased data visibility and supply chain management are several areas where Infineum is targeting its efforts.
Greater data visibility across a global supply chain will increase Infineum’s effectiveness in managing its worldwide inventory. Tighter control of inventory not only helps the business run its operations better as a whole but also provides some key benefits. These include decreasing working capital, improving the audit trail and optimising manufacturing output.
Extend B2B connectivity and increase collaboration with business partners.
To implement one of its key e-business initiatives, Infineum called on leading independent supply chain systems integrator, Rex, to help connect the additive company’s new SAP R/3 ERP system with the Elemica e-Marketplace to enable electronic transactions to be processed with trading partners. Infineum has adopted integrated application architecture based around a single instance of SAP R/3 4.6c. This single ERP system forms the basis of the company’s worldwide business transaction platform. The Elemica e-Marketplace enables buyers and sellers to send and receive transactions securely via the Internet by connecting, cross-referencing and translating their multiple data protocols. One of the benefits for Infineum using Elemica Connected Solution is best stated by Elemica’s ‘Connect Once – Connect to All’ value proposition which captures the reduced cost of connecting to multiple trading partners by avoiding the need to create point-to-point connections for each trading partner.
Elemica already embraces more than 31 trading members with many more in the pipeline preparing to connect. The e-Marketplace provides ERP-based partners with a robust, adaptable connection solution that addresses the critical components in every data transaction/message. Elemica validates and can transform the data while the system’s business process mapping capabilities determine what to do with the messages.
The e-Marketplace, which was developed to minimise integration effort while offering a scalable platform, makes the prospect of connecting to additional trading partners easier and more cost effective.
The proven integration platform, webMethods, was used to integrate the SAP system with the e-Marketplace. With a strong global customer base in the chemical, oil and gas industries, webMethods supports several chemical industry standards such as the Chem eStandards developed by the CIDX organisation. Another major factor in the selection of webMethods for this project was the software’s wide adoption in SAP applications worldwide. To prove the integration has been successful, Infineum has begun using the e-Marketplace connection to procure a single raw material from a supplier in the USA. Contract order business is ideal because handling the transactions automatically eliminates human interaction for routine orders. The system enables a purchase order to be sent and an electronic response to be returned. Infineum’s ERP system manages the requirement for key raw materials as part of Infineum’s manufacturing process by planning future procurement activities. These ‘planned’ orders are then converted into ‘real’ orders as demand dictates. Instead of faxing these orders to the supplier, which is traditionally the case, the system now sends the order automatically via Elemica. Only orders with a problem will have a need for direct follow-up. This approach offers transaction process benefits because the supplier no longer needs to re-key the order into its systems thereby reducing a major source of potential errors in order processing.
The Rex approach to connecting the ERP systems to Elemica is similar to that of implementing EDI but is a lot less expensive. Internet technology and ChemXML are highly cost effective implementation tools compared with the technologies required to run EDI applications.
Automation of routine business processes leads to improved customer service and reduced costs.
The success of the Elemica integration project has pointed the way forward for further e-business connectivity developments. Implementing point-to-point connections as well as integration with other e-Marketplaces or e-Hubs should now be able to be progressed far more rapidly. Although some of the business processes are different this project has proved the concept is achievable and will remove any fear, uncertainty and doubt involved in integrating to other trading partners.
Moving this technology from the procurement side to the sell side should lead to similar process efficiencies. Streamlining, simplifying and automating transactions together with greater transparency will ultimately lead to improved customer service and efficient supply chains.
Rex was chosen to help connect the ERP system with the e-Marketplace because of its proven professional competence. As a systems integrator the company brought to the project years of technical expertise relating to e-business connectivity applications and standards. In addition, Rex possesses a broad knowledge of the global chemical industry.
Ever since the petroleum additives company was formed in 1999, Rex has worked as an e-business consultant for Infineum. This long working relationship means that Rex already has a considerable insight into how Infineum runs its business operations worldwide. Rex was already familiar with Infineum’s business information systems, the business processes as well as the organisation’s infrastructure around the world.
A good deal of this knowledge was gained through Rex having closely worked for the additives organisation on several e-business initiatives including the development and implementation of the Infineum-Plus secure extranet platform.
As a WebMethods Partner, Rex has an in-depth knowledge of the product, solution and service capabilities of the WebMethods integration software platform. As a Service Partner, Rex is well placed to help its clients maximise return on investment opportunities WebMethods offers by linking business processes, enterprise and legacy applications, databases and workflows both within and across enterprises.
Rex is an active member of the Chemical Industry Data Exchange (CIDX), which is responsible for developing and maintaining the XML-based Chem eStandards that define the electronic business documents required for trading with the chemical industry.
The Infineum Group of Companies is a world-class petroleum additives enterprise. With headquarters in Milton Hill, UK, Infineum is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of lubricant additives used primarily in automotive, heavy-duty diesel and marine engines, and additives for gasoline and diesel fuels. Infineum’s global customer base
“We are pleased with the results achieved with Rex in extending our enterprise to the Elemica Network. We look forward to working with the knowledgeable and dependable people at Rex to extend our enterprise and advance our eBusiness programmes.”
Paul D’Ambrosio, Worldwide
e-Business Development Manager, Infineum