A faster way to work

KNPC automates document processing with IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation technology
by Leah Valentine
5-minute read
KNPC filing station

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down for a lot of businesses. For example, retail sales, travel and sporting events all experienced major downturns. But the worldwide response to the virus also drove innovation, inspiring many organizations to develop new ways to get their most important work done while keeping their employees as safe and healthy as possible.

Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s (KNPC’s) journey to automation illustrates this phenomenon. About a year before the pandemic, KNPC’s IT team began efforts to digitize and automate the flow of important interdepartmental communication using software based on IBM Cloud Pak® for Business Automation technology. They were fine-tuning process automation for four departments and preparing to bring other departments on board when the pandemic changed everything.

Suddenly, sharing physical documents and delivering them to stakeholders around the organization became a potentially dangerous proposition. Taking a one-at-a-time approach to digitizing the process for additional departments was no longer acceptable. To keep critical business documents moving, the IT department, led by Anfal Al Rashed, Project Head for Digitized and Automated Solutions, would have to speed the implementation and bring the entire company on board as quickly as possible.

KPNC Refinery

Reduced memo cycle from 5 days to

< 3

hours

The solution has helped save more than

607,740

pieces of paper

With IBM and Easy Memo, we’ve cut down on the time required for our memos and letters, and we’ve also significantly reduced the amount of paper we use.
Anfal Al Rashed
Project Head for Digitized and Automated Solutions, Kuwait National Petroleum Company
Operator at KNPC Refinery
Our goal as the IT department is to automate as much as possible and have a green, paperless environment.
Anfal Al Rashed
Project Head for Digitized and Automated Solutions, Kuwait National Petroleum Company
Onboarding the whole company
Our goal as the IT department is to automate as much as possible and have a green, paperless environment.
Anfal Al Rashed
Project Head for Digitized and Automated Solutions, Kuwait National Petroleum Company

In 2019, KNPC began using Easy Memo, a business application developed by IBM Business Partner EBLA Computer Consultancy Company that allows businesses to compose, review, approve and distribute electronic memos or letters. Easy Memo uses the content management capabilities of IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation to store KNPC’s business-critical memos and correspondence securely.

The solution also enables KNPC to digitally sign documents in a manner that complies with the requirements set forth by Kuwaiti courts, classify them according to KNPC’s unique taxonomy and track them as they move through review and approval processes. Furthermore, Easy Memo allows KNPC to respond to electronic memos in kind, include attachments with memos and perform full content searches.

Employees in the first four KNPC departments to adopt the Easy Memo application were just getting used to the new workflow when the pandemic began. It was clear to Al Rashed and the IT department that the entire organization needed the digital solution but getting buy-in from KNPC’s other 29 departments presented a whole new challenge.

Fortunately, Al Rashed and the IT department knew just what to do. “We had our IT manager send out a digitally signed electronic memo to all department managers. It started a chain reaction as department after department asked to use Easy Memo,” says Al Rashed.

After that, the team brought 2 - 4 new departments onto the platform each month. “We didn’t even need to do training sessions for it. A short awareness session was more than enough for employees to grasp what it was and how to use it,” Al Rashed notes.

Planning for more

By December of 2020, all 33 of KNPC’s departments were using Easy Memo to share, edit, sign and store memos and correspondence. That includes 168 divisions and approximately 5,000 employees. In all, KNPC has automated 26 core business processes.

The new solution’s benefits have been both fast and remarkable. To begin with, the average cycle for preparing critical correspondence has gone from five days to three hours. The organization no longer needs couriers or paper storage, and its paper and ink usage has dropped considerably, saving about 80 trees and 303 ink cartridges thus far.

Changes are easier to make now, and even documents that undergo multiple rounds of edits move quickly through the process. The solution also allows employees to track the progress of their memos as they move through the company, so it’s easy to identify and eliminate bottlenecks.

Furthermore, the labor expenditures associated with filing physical documents — about KWD 6 per file — have been eliminated, as have those associated with locating misfiled documents (KWD 37) and reproducing lost documents (KWD 68). On average, Easy Memo helps KNPC’s employees spend approximately 75% less time on internal correspondence than they did in the past.

Now, the IT department is looking into ways IBM and Easy Memo can streamline processes even further. “We’re looking into Watson-based voice recognition, and we are also very interested in using robotic process automation (RPA) to eliminate some of the tedious work we do,” Al Rashed concludes.

KNPC logo
About Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)

Established in 1960, KNPCExternal Link is responsible for crude oil refining and the sale and distribution of all petroleum products in the Kuwaiti market. The company has two refineries with total refining capacity of 800,000 barrels per day and operates 63 filling stations – including 3 mobile stations – with plans to commission another 82 stations in the next 5 years. KNPC employs around 6,000 people of multiple nationalities.

About EBLA Computer Consultancy Company

EBLAExternal Link is considered one of the largest professionally managed IT companies in the Middle East and a leading systems integrator company in the Arab Gulf region. Established in 1993, EBLA maintains offices in Kuwait and Qatar. Its 250 employees focus on selling and supporting a full range of enterprise solutions. .

Solution components
KNPC logo
About Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC)

Established in 1960, KNPCExternal Link is responsible for crude oil refining and the sale and distribution of all petroleum products in the Kuwaiti market. The company has two refineries with total refining capacity of 800,000 barrels per day and operates 63 filling stations – including 3 mobile stations – with plans to commission another 82 stations in the next 5 years. KNPC employs around 6,000 people of multiple nationalities.

About EBLA Computer Consultancy Company

EBLAExternal Link is considered one of the largest professionally managed IT companies in the Middle East and a leading systems integrator company in the Arab Gulf region. Established in 1993, EBLA maintains offices in Kuwait and Qatar. Its 250 employees focus on selling and supporting a full range of enterprise solutions. .

Solution components