AVEVA Schedule Assistant
Discover how AI is unlocking the strategic power of refinery schedulers
Written by Joseph McMullen, Senior Marketing Manager, Value Chain Optimization, AVEVA
Refinery owners and their scheduling managers are under pressure like never before in today’s volatile marketplace. They need to find ways to both protect profit margins and minimize environmental impact.
With global geopolitical events in the headlines causing daily fluctuations in the price of oil , refineries must constantly pivot to respond to events that are out of their control. One aspect that impedes their agility is that schedulers must contend with legacy tools that require hours of manual data entry and analysis, which delays them in seeking to capitalize on opportunities as they arise.
Now, new technology, infused with artificial intelligence (AI), is speeding up this response by helping refinery schedulers identify optimal scenarios in seconds. With these tools, schedulers transform from number crunchers to the strategic advisors they are positioned to be by complementing their experience-based assumptions with actionable digital insights.
A new planning paradigm
Until recently, most companies approached refinery scheduling in ways that were highly repetitive and largely based on trial and error. Outdated scheduling tools were little more than sophisticated calculators. Schedulers had to spend hours—if not days—on manual data entry and analysis.
Today, cloud-enabled solutions blend AI, simulation, and optimization technology to transform scheduling and deliver proactive strategic scenario analysis. Schedulers can quickly run scenarios and identify the best approach for their refinery.
With built-in scenario planning and optimization, schedulers have almost instant access to the information they need to rapidly and confidently identify the right course of action.
Build, view, maintain, and understand schedules visually
The new technology provides end-to-end plant scheduling, including feed and blend optimization. Schedulers can integrate the efficient and adaptive simulation engine with other cloud-enabled supply chain management tools to allow real-time interactions with the schedule.
Every refinery has its own unique operating complexity and constraints. A refinery’s schedulers can use the latest scheduling technology to automatically generate and evaluate scenarios in line with the refinery’s objectives as well as the events anticipated within the supply chain. Schedulers will find the technology offers up to five practical and deliverable approaches that they can then quickly assess based on their experience to determine the best way forward. They can also manually adjust the solution’s parameters.
The solution enables schedulers to:
- Improve supply chain economics by optimizing operations across single and multiple timeframes.
- Promote sustainability and safety by synchronizing scheduling with other supply chain data in the cloud. By understanding the impact different blends and stock feeds will have, schedulers can identify the best approach to meet ESG targets.
- Enable collaboration by giving multiple schedulers access to adapt and update the same schedule—reducing the time taken to produce an end-to-end schedule.
- Increase business agility by simplifying the analytics of complex workflows by facilitating setup, optimization, and analysis all in the same place.
The more you use the technology, the smarter it becomes
AI learns over time to recommend the best strategies. By continuously feeding in data not only do the scheduling recommendations improve but also less experienced team members can learn from the trends identified. With machine learning, new scheduling solutions can take into account that every site is unique as well as the constraints of the refinery. By richly contextualizing data, the solution will only produce scenarios that are relevant and actionable. With multiple of these contextualized, fully-costed scenarios produced by the solution, schedulers can perform their job faster and more effectively than before.
Schedulers benefit from the AI-infused technology’s transparent visualizations, easy modeling, and enterprise sharing, which ensure ease of use, consistency in decision making across planning teams, and clear communication to the wider business. Schedulers can more easily explain solutions and share insights with colleagues. With this technology, the workforce aligns itself around a single data stream, eliminating barriers between different users. In this single-supply-chain model, schedulers can thus fully draw on and utilize the collective knowledge and experience within their company.
How AVEVA™ Schedule AI Assistant can help
AVEVA™ Schedule AI Assistant is a step-change for schedulers. It rapidly generates multiple optimized schedules, negotiating days of schedulers’ work in seconds. With this technology, schedulers have more time to perform deep analytical reviews of the optimized scenarios and add strategic operational value.