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logo q8During the last three years Kuwait Petroleum in North West Europe (KPNWE) has been implementing a project to come to a more centralised approach to the North West European business. This included the closure of local offices and centralisation of businesses and functions at the center in Antwerp. As a consequence of this, the logistics department absorbed new countries into the existing organisation in Antwerp. 


Due to speed of the implementation, processes were taken over as they were performed in the local organisations and the logistics department in Antwerp needed to handle different processes per country and customer segment. Consequently, logistics administration required a lot of effort. Shortly after the centralisation project, a corporate initiative was launched to accelerate the month end closing process. Faced with these two challenges, KPNWE turned to Voorne Partners for support in streamlining the administrative logistics processes in terms of speed, reliability, and resource requirements. To achieve the expected substantial process improvements and benefits, project Sunshine was born.

Designing the European Process Platform (EPP)

As a first step all existing processes per country and business line were mapped using MIFA (Material and Information Flow Analysis), a lean management technique to capture, visualise, and analyse all key characteristics of logistic flows in one go. The results were used to identify strengths and weaknesses and to design a harmonised and efficient solution. Voorne Partners facilitated the process through a series of interlocking and cross-functional workshops covering as-is assessment and solution design.

This collaborative approach helped KPNWE logistics to understand the variance in its processes and to build consensus and support for a standardised solution: the European Process Platform (EPP). It is built around a series of highly automated core processes, simplifies and harmonises the current process landscape, and can be “copied” to accommodate new businesses as the company continues to grow. Additionally, improvements in truck planning / inventory management, forecasting, and fuel contamination prevention were identified.

Building the European Process Platform

After the overall design had been accepted the project team went on to describe the impact of the EPP in detail for all countries and business lines. The next step was to build, test, and implement the EPP. Voorne Partners used a parallel approach making sure that learnings from one area could be used to update others seamlessly while the EPP grew.

Planning quality was improved by introducing a new forecasting tool that suited the dynamics of the oil business better, and by optimising order and trip planning parameters. To tackle cross contaminations of different fuels a poka-yoke** solution was developed, piloted, and implemented in a joint effort of KPNWE / Voorne Partners, its logistics service providers, and suppliers of tank truck equipment.

As the organisational implications of the EPP and improvements in planning became clearer, a change management stream was phased in to update the organisation structure, job descriptions, and to come up with a coherent training concept and communication plan. Voorne Partners provided KPNWE with the methodology and templates to identify critical areas of change and their organisational impact in a structured and efficient way.

As Koenraad Vankelst, Director Logistics and HSSE of KPNWE said: “I felt that we worked really well as a team, Voorne Partners and KPNWE, and that the people within KPNWE learned a lot from you as well. A big thank you again for all the hard work. You gave us the necessary tools, it is now up to us to show to the company that we have entered a new era, with more automation, standardisation and efficiency.”

After all, the Sunshine project not only delivered the quantitative benefits that KPNWE had targeted but also highlighted the non-monetary real value of excellent supply chain management in terms of simplicity and flawless execution.

** Poka-yoke (...) is a Japanese term that means “fail-safing” or “mistake-proofing”. A poka-yoke is any mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur.

Kuwait Petroleum refines and markets fuel, lubricants, and other petroleum derivatives to a diverse customer base across Europe under its distinctive “Q8 sails” logo.

Its network of more than 4,000 Q8 branded service stations extends across seven European countries - Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. Q8 is at the forefront of developing forecourt retailing by expanding the range of goods and services offered – serving the needs of the local communities and motorists. In some markets this is through establishing partnerships with other companies – in the Benelux an alliance with supermarket chain Delhaize provides a complete “mini-supermarket” service. KPI owns through International Diesel Services (IDS) a network of fully automated 24hours outlets supplying diesel to large national & international road transport across Europe. Own customers are serviced through our highly automated logistics network, where our investment in technology plays an important role in ensuring timely delivery of the highest quality products.