Axens turns to Oracle Aconex to help build environmental responsibility

Refining and petrochemical supplier upgrades to Oracle Aconex project collaboration software to improve efficiency and productivity.

Rick Bell | June 06, 2024

Axens is a growing international powerhouse committed to helping its clients build a sustainable future. The company provides a full range of inventive solutions for the conversion of oil and biomass to cleaner fuels, the production and purification of major petrochemical intermediates as well as all of natural gas' treatment and conversion options. A core company value is to collectively work with clients to seek out innovative, results-driven solutions. As a company and individually, Axens also is committed to reduce its environmental impact.

As Axens NA expanded in recent years across North and South America, it was clear that operational upgrades were necessary to improve efficiency and productivity. Wasted time and lagging productivity led Axens to a comprehensive, easy-to-use cloud solution that drives collaboration—one that provides a single source of truth throughout the life of any project.

Axens North America now uses Oracle Aconex as its project management and document management platform, easily connecting all project team members, processes, and data for ultimate collaboration. Before implementing Oracle Aconex, some divisions were using software with links to documents in a folder structure. Tracking, workflows, and reporting were virtually nonexistent. Oracle Aconex provides Axens with superior visibility, and everything is available in a single location, enabling easy access and collaboration.

The implementation of Oracle Aconex, Axens now boasts a folderless construction document control system with full metadata search capabilities that does the remembering for them, building collaboration and eliminating the likelihood of folder or document duplication or misplacement that risks team members using outdated information.

Oracle Aconex helps provide all organizations with complete control over their data, assuring that no one organization can alter or limit access to another organization’s data. This assurance, along with an easy-to-use interface, helps drive adoption. Automating operations with Oracle Aconex also puts documents and drawings at users’ fingertips in moments versus at least a half-hour in the past. As a single data repository, Oracle Aconex helps to eliminate guesswork as to where a document is stored, or which version is most current. Information flows freely between all project participants, creating a complete record on one system. The employees have assurance they will find what they are looking for and it will be the right version of the right item.

Better workflows and bidding processes

Approval workflows are much easier to track, follow up, and report on with Oracle Aconex. RFIs and submittals went from an average of three to four weeks to three to five days. That’s between a 66 and 75 percent decrease.

Oracle Aconex also allows easy tracking of all actions and decisions. Employees see their open tasks and deadlines then receive reminders and can quickly report on what is coming, what’s due, and what’s overdue.

The Oracle Aconex bidding module also manages purchase requisitions to the material suppliers and fabricators and for subcontractors when Axens subcontracts work. Before using Oracle Aconex, it took seven to 14 days to send out a bid. Oracle Aconex slashed that time to about four to five business days.

Considering that the oil and gas industry requires systematic, rigorous checks, security and reliability were clearly top of mind. Oracle’s knowledge, accessibility, security, and stability were vital to Axens selecting Oracle Aconex.

And secure document management through Oracle Aconex means there’s one record with immediate and transparent access to all revisions. Strict version protocols ensure users they’re working with the latest information, and previous versions are retained, providing a complete audit trail.

The Oracle Aconex supplier module makes document management collaboration transparent. The supplier easily and quickly sees what documents due, and which ones have been received.

This visibility and automation help ensure that documentation is in order and improves prompt payment to suppliers.

Oracle Aconex improves the flow of crucial materials. The suppliers update the status, and Axens can share the update with the owner. Visibility into this information supports clients making informed decisions to help prevent material delays from affecting project schedules and eliminating surprises.

Suppliers see clear benefits, so they are eager to use Oracle Aconex as well. Axens can pay their suppliers 40 percent faster on average because nothing is manual, and documentation is a collaborative process around shared information.

It’s an example of the efficiency allowing Axens to strengthen relations with its suppliers, which then pass that improved service on to its customers. Building trust through Oracle Aconex has increased Axens’ percentage of repeat customers while simultaneously gaining new business.

Subcontractors also are excited to jump onboard with Oracle Aconex. Axens specifies the system use and the subcontractors benefit from streamlined communication and workflows. With an unalterable audit trail, collaboration happens smoothly, and everyone has access to the same functionality on Oracle Aconex.

Improved corporate social responsibility

Oracle Aconex helps Axens act on their bold commitment to sustainability, save money and improve the environment through the vast reduction in printed materials. Axens used to print 25 to 30 books of handover material per project. With Oracle Aconex, Axens now provides electronic handover content and two accompanying hard copies.

Using electronic signatures also have been a huge benefit. Through the Oracle Aconex workflows, Axens and their project team members can sign, code, and work-stamp drawings.

In the past, to manage squad checks—a multi-discipline review to help ensure that all the parts of the project work together and nothing has been missed—Axens printed out drawings to be reviewed, put them in a room and informed all reviewers that the documents were available for revisions. Each reviewer then spent valuable time manually redlining and signing off on the drawings. But that wasn’t the end of the tedious, time-consuming manual process. Once completed, Axens scanned the documents and sent them back to the client. The laborious process on average took 14 days, with each reviewer having three to five days to review.

That since has been trimmed to just three to seven days, a 50 to 65 percent savings depending on number of reviewers. Per project, there are hundreds of these squad checks—perhaps 50 to 75 per month.

It’s clear that working from the wrong version of a document can cost valuable time and a lot of money. Playing lost-and-found with documents also is a huge waste of time.

Collaborative solutions gain valuable ISO certifications

Key to Axens’ growth strategy is gaining certification from the International Organization for Standardization. ISO certification increases efficiency and revenue, reduces product and supply chain waste, and forges ongoing customer relationships. Perhaps most importantly, ISO certification helps Axens win more business. Certification also mandates Quality Management System requirements for the petroleum, petrochemical, and natural gas industries. These requirements enhance customer trust and confidence in daily operations through the implementation of continual improvement processes, conformity assurance, and regulatory requirements. Before the Oracle Aconex implementation, Axens North America had just three ISO-certified locations. Internal company drives were used for data storage and access, slowing productivity, and hampering the company’s efficiency. Oracle Aconex improved collaboration by helping to improve alignment and prevent mistakes. Process automation, standardization, and hawkeye-like tracking help ensure that all changes are easily communicated for complete process transparency and accountability.

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