There is a growing urgency for businesses to leverage digital technologies to improve the efficiency of their operations. Shell, the largest lubricant business in the world and market leader for the past 12 years, is accelerating its digital transformation. Richard Jory, Vice President, Lubricants Supply Chain at Shell International, says that throughout Shell’s lubricant supply chain, from manufacturing to distribution and sales, the company is investing more in digital technology – including data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Speaking on March 5, at the inaugural Asian Lubricant Manufacturers Union (ALMU) Annual Meeting & Global Leadership Summit on “Digitalization in the Lubricants Industry”, Jory identified three key areas Shell is extracting value from digital solutions.
The Shell representative estimated that 80%-90% of the benefits of Shell’s digital work is about “building a strong digital backbone” within the organisation to strengthening data management, gain deeper insight into customers, and improve how Shell delivers products and services.
By way of example, Jory highlighted a new “track and trace solution” Shell is building to improve the visibility of their supply chain – end to end – and to increase transparency. Eventually, this will enable improved sustainability across the whole value chain, drive quality assurance, and better communications with our customers, he says.
Jory cited Shell Lube Chat, an artificial intelligence-enabled online chat robot, as an example of the company’s recent efforts to use digital to derive new value from existing businesses. The service provides real-time product support to 6000 business-to-business customers around the world using their smartphones. This is part of Shell’s strategy to deliver services that reduce total cost of ownership, and digital platforms that grow business with their workshops.
Finally, Jory outlined Shell’s investment in pipeline digital ventures, managed as standalone businesses with a fast development start up culture. The marriage of new business models to a global leader with deep industry knowledge will ensure the company continues to be “the disruptor and not the disrupted”, he says.