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Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Use-case: Automate Vessel Planning Scenario in Oil & Gas industry

SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation is a collection of tools with which complex workflows can be automated and data could be brought together from multiple systems in real time. In the following blog post, I will take you through a standard industry process and how Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Use-case could be used to simplify this process

Vessel planning or berthing planning is a key area of focus for any O&G company’s day to day operations. With large oil tankers moving from one port to another daily, it is critical for operational success to ensure that there is clear and real-time visibility about the current and planned locations of each vessel.

 

The following is a typical use-case workflow that is common in Oil and Gas Industries.

  • A tanker plan for the upcoming month is received at the importer’s mailbox
  • Based on the received tanker plan, the receiver prepares a new Plan (Lets call this, the Port Plan), based on the proposed dates, ports and quantity

The next steps are sent via multiple emails, which include details like

  • Vessel Arrival Date and time, Notice of Readiness (NOR), Berthing date and time. Connection of loading arms, Cargo loading completion date & time, Disconnection of loading arms, Vessel Name, Bill of Lading, Grade wise Cargo Quantity, Expected Time of Arrival at Disport, Expected Time of Berthing at Disport, Expected Time of Sailing off at Disport, Vessel Arrival Date and time, Berthing date and time, Connection of loading arms, Cargo loading completion date & time, Disconnection of loading arms, Sailing off date & time

All these details will be typically sent via mail with a definite subject line.

These details which are received over multiple e-mails are typically read by a user and then the receiver updates the Port Plan manually as and when a new mail is received.

 

Once all the required data are received, a summary is prepared by the receiver and then this will be shared with all the involved role holders for Product Planning,

If this process can be automated to ensure real-time updates to the tanker plan reports, then the amount of manual effort can be considerably reduced, resulting in an efficient, connected, and seamless vessel planning process.

Every day, a typical port sees upwards of 1 day of pre-berthing time. This automation can considerably reduce the coordination process involved in berthing and thus bringing this pre-berthing time down quite a bit.

 

RPA Automation to the rescue

 

The above representation provides an overview on how Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Use-case can be used to simplify the entire process, which could be performed by 3 bots, which could be scheduled in the background (As unattended bots).

Bot 1

Bot 1 reads the Tanker plan, which is received towards the end of every month, which contains the Tanker plan for the upcoming month. This bot will read the mailbox searching for a subject which will be associated with the Tanker plan. Once the mail is received, upon reaching its scheduled trigger, the bot will read the mail, download and extract data from the excel and update the Port Plan for the next month.

Bot 2

Bot 2 will be scheduled more frequently than Bot 1 and the subject to be searched would be looking for the definitive subject line with wildcards as these mails would come from multiple sources. These mails are then extracted, and the information contained in the mail body are read by the bot via Regular Expressions (REGEX) and the extracted information are also stored into the Port Plan.

Bot 3

The Port Plan thus created is later verified via Statement of Facts, which are received as a PDF attachment via email. This would be read by a Bot that can be scheduled every day. The number of days taken for discharge and demurrage are then calculated and updated to the Port Plan by the same Bot upon verification via Statement of facts. The bot then shares the summary details with different role holders.

The tasks which were carried out by various receivers over multiple days can thus be simplified and automated with just 3 Bots, which could be deployed as unattended bots.

This will reduce the manual errors by automating the repetitive tasks which will in turn help in reducing manual error and repetitions.

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