How process mining is driving visibility and enabling business continuity at Neste

Discover how process mining is providing Finnish oil company Neste with an unprecedented level of process visibility and enabling ‘business as usual’ during a time of crisis

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Adam Jeffs

Ahead of his session at BPM Live 2020: Business Process Management, Markko Rajatora, vice-president of business processes at Neste, spoke with PEX Network about how process mining has benefitted the Finnish oil refining and marketing company and the challenges it has solved.

Rajatora explained that the motivation behind the implementation of process mining at Neste was a lack of visibility of how processes behave and operate on a day-to-day basis. He noted that, in order to optimize and enhance processes, Neste first had to understand the intricacies of its processes such as how IT systems are being used in practice and how transactions are managed.

“This is important because of the transparency it provides us with regard to our processes,” remarked Rajatora. “Now we can follow in real time how our sales deliveries are going and can see the lead times we have in different process steps and address the speed and efficiency of the process.”

Rajatora noted that through the implementation of process mining, Neste has been able to identify a number of problematic instances within processes, including duplicate deliveries or invoices, missing actions and late or missed deliveries. Prior to mining processes, the organization as a whole did not know how processes were operating on such an intricate and individual level.

“Now the functionality of our processes is clear and evident through the data we have gathered,” Rajatora explained. “We can build KPIs and see metrics like lead times and sensitivities and take action to address details that break system limitations.”

Rajatora noted that the primary challenge that process mining has helped Neste overcome was the lack of visibility into what the organization’s challenges actually were, explaining that previously these were identified by communicating directly with staff or observing behaviours.

“This was problematic as if one person happened to shout loudest about a particular issue, you may think that is your main challenge, but it may not be so,” remarked Rajatora. “Now we can focus on the facts and then see if they align with what people are saying.”

Rajatora also believes that process mining has helped Neste continue business as usual during the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the intricate level of visibility it now has into its processes has allowed identification of variations in the cash-to-cash cycle based on geographic location, that have arisen in this time of crisis.

“It was process mining that showed us what was happening,” explained Rajatora. “This allowed us to dig into the root cause and smooth out the cash-to-cash cycle throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Rajatora concluded by offering his predictions regarding the development of process mining in the coming years. He believed that cloud solutions for process mining will only become more prevalent and that this will tie into other innovative technologies that are being applied in conjunction with process mining initiatives.

Rajatora explained that machine learning can be integrated into process mining to help it dig into root causes and that artificial intelligence can even offer features such as text analytics for an unprecedented level of process visibility. Rajatora believes that these advancements will serve to not only make process mining more operational but less time consuming, with features such as artificial intelligence facilitating automation of certain aspects.

To hear more insights and advice from Markko Rajatora on how process mining is supporting Neste’s business operations during challenging times, register for his session at BPM Live 2020: Business Process Management.