Business Automation

Automation and Operations Excellence in Energy: Five Things You Should Know

bySusie Yuill

In five years, the invoice as we know it today won’t exist.”

This is just one example of the many thought-provoking statements presented during the 2021 SPARK Conference. Since its inception, the SPARK Conference’s driving purpose has been to help energy professionals navigate present and potential future challenges with thought leadership focused on process automation, analytics and digitalization that will transform how supply chain, operations and accounting teams collaborate and drive value for the business.

This year’s event showcased innovative approaches to these challenges through industry thought leadership, customer-led sessions demonstrating solution impact for companies of all sizes and new product launches from Enverus Business Automation. If you weren’t able to attend the conference, or you missed some sessions, you can access the on-demand sessions here.

Below are our top five highlights focused on automation and driving operations excellence from this year’s SPARK Conference.

1. Success in this new environment requires energy supply chains to shift to a proactive, data-driven approach, making the supply chain a source of strategic value.

The environment of volatility in commodity markets and the macroeconomic situation created by COVID-19 have thrust the importance of a strong, strategic supply chain to the forefront of everyone’s awareness. Historically, the energy supply chain has been viewed and treated as tactical and reactive. Companies now look to transform it into a strategic value chain through improved processes and cost-efficiency. Accurately forecasting expenses in a volatile price environment is critical for capital discipline. Access to accurate, current spend data, filterable at the category and attribute level, empowers supply chain organizations to implement a data-driven strategic sourcing strategy.

During the customer-led session, OpenInsights: A Customer Perspective on Supply Chain Analytics, Enverus customers Matthew Morrow, manager of Finance and Treasury at Spur Energy Partners and Ellen Heflin, strategic sourcing manager at Endeavor Energy Resources, shared how their organizations are shifting their supply chain mindset.

Ellen says:

“There’s been a shift in supply chain on the operator side. Where before, supply chain organizations weren’t as common, now supply chain organizations have become more formalized. At Endeavor, we work hand-in-hand with operations to try and find areas of opportunity for strategic negotiations and work those negotiatons for the betterment of operations overall.”

Matthew weighs in on Spur Energy:

“After we made some acquisitions, our operations team started looking for ways to lower service costs and more accurately predict that. But operations needs to focus on drilling good wells. So, at Spur we are excited to put focus on the supply chain side to assist operations. Across the industry, investors are pushing for stronger hedging in portfolios. This is good because it keeps companies being disciplined with capital. But that only locks in one side of your income statement. If we aggressively hedge our revenue that’s great but our service costs are fluctuating due to commodity pricing and prices go up as they have recently, your forecast is thrown off. That’s why we’ve put focus on our supply chain, because we are locking in our revenue side, but we need to make sure we are accurately forecasting the expenses that go with it.”

When asked how Spur Energy’s supply chain is using Enverus OpenInsights spend analytics, Matthew replied:

“For us, we’ve focused in on a unit basis, trying to compare per truckload or a specific part, has been very helpful. It takes a process that’s very manual and makes it not manual. The low hanging fruit for us is being able to pull data historically by AFE or job and see how prices are fluctuating, if a service provider is more expensive, are we getting a benefit somewhere else? We love to compare our spend numbers to the OpenInsights Market Price Indices by basin. We are excited about comparing pricing for the Permian Basin to understand if our pricing is above or below the market average.”

SPARK 2021 banner linking to on-demand sessions

2. Managing the source-to-pay process on the Enverus platform allows companies to realize the benefits of automation and data visibility much faster.

In the session, Building Source-to-Pay: A Digital Transformation Story, Mary Atkinson, director of Supply Chain at Grayson Mill Energy, discussed how the private equity-backed company put a focus on automating processes via digitalization after acquiring Equinor assets in the Williston Basin.

“We had to think through a strategy of moving from a small company with manual systems and processes with low automation to more presence in the digital space. The driver — lean, efficient operations. That’s why we decided to implement the Enverus Source-to-Pay solution. It includes OpenInvoice, OpenTicket, OpenOrder and PriceBook.”

Mary highlighted the value of the Enverus buyer-supplier network by confirming that from day one of go-live on OpenInvoice, Grayson Mills was able to transact with 210 registered vendors that were already on the OpenInvoice network, 63 of which were also registered on OpenTicket.

Grayson Mills was the first client to issue a purchase order with the new OpenOrder solution. They are using POs for inventory items and engineering services. Their main driver was to capture procure-to-pay and automating the three-way match.

“On other systems, a three-way match is hard to execute. With OpenOrder we had all the back info — well ID, supplier info, etc. When you have a PO with approval and coding upfront, it’s much easier to validate with the goods receipt. When the supplier submits the invoice, there’s your match all in the same system in one place. It really automates your approval process.”

3. Enverus’ OpenContract, a new smart contracting solution, will transform contract management for the industry.

At SPARK 2020, Enverus announced a collaboration with Marathon Oil. The vision was to remove the manual workaround contract management by co-developing an e-contracting solution that reduces manual touchpoints, speeds execution and improves data accuracy.

Shared vision for Source-to-Pay

This solution would allow a workflow between the operator and the supplier, keeping that contract up to date and ultimately shortening the turnaround time from agreement initiation and ready-to-invoice. And because OpenContract leverages the existing platform and network, there’s no more converting and uploading the pricing agreements. You can do the entire thing in the tool, and it allows customers to leverage the protection of the price book without all the overhead administration.

List of Product Goals

The new solution will provide more clarity to operators on what they are spending, ensuring that the spend matches the contractual structure. It will require less effort from suppliers to create invoices and will speed up payment cycles.

At this year’s conference, Tracy Sloan, VP of Supply Chain at Marathon Oil, said this solution will be a reality in early 2022:

In a matter of less than 12 months, we have gone from concept to almost reality. In early 2022 we’ll have a fully-functioning system that will be able to start trialing in that collaborative commercial environment. I think as we think about where this front-end source concept could take us, I really do believe if you can get an environment that’s easy to use for both the operators in the industry as well as the suppliers in the industry, that translates these negotiations and commercial terms into a living systematic document. It does create a foundation that I believe will allow the industry for the first time to truly be able to do real-time ticketing, real-time price ticketing and real-time conversion of ticketing to payable.”

You can watch the session Building Source-to-Pay: Smart Contracting for details on this exciting development.

4. The new OpenTicket Mobile app shows how IoT will drive new automation in the field and the back office.

The new OpenTicket Mobile app, showcased during the session Transforming Source-to-Pay: Verified Tickets With OpenTicket Mobile, allows operators to see the route a supplier takes and track the movement of goods. The app is included in the OpenTicket subscription and is free for suppliers to use. The mobile solution will focus on visibility into field operations and capturing digital ticketing.

OpenTicket customers will now be able to see the route that a supplier took, the time that it took to complete the route and a list of geofence locations that they traveled. This solution will support general tickets, everything from complex services for DNC to LWE operations and hauling tickets, tracks the movement of goods and fluids produced, and focuses on contract labor equipment and materials. This is included at no charge for suppliers and existing OpenTicket customers.

OpenTicket Mobile with GeoFencing

5. Enverus is solving major challenges with joint venture accounting and minerals management.

Sessions like JIBFlow: Highlights of Customer Success, Owner Relations Managed Services: Outsource Solutions To Drive Growth and Next Level Owner Relations With MineraliQ, demonstrated the innovation and investment Enverus is using to solve challenges for joint-venture accounting.

The acquisitions of Oildex, EnergyLink and MineralSoft united competing platforms. Enverus has since migrated all former Data Exchange joint venture data to EnergyLink. Owners now have a single portal to get their statements. This single platform also accelerates data delivery in MineralSoft. Finally, EnergyScan, a new solution, allows customers to upload data and have it automatically reviewed for duplicates. It provides seamless visibility into the job progress with status updates, within one network.

In closing, the global pandemic couldn’t dampen the excitement and anticipation the Enverus team felt around hosting this year’s conference. As Chris Dinkler, general manager of Enverus Business Automation, shared during his Executive Kick-off session:

This year’s SPARK is the most exciting thing we’ve done. We rebranded this event a couple of years ago. You remember the acquisition of Oildex and EnergyLink and Cortex was about three years ago. We’re rolling out more innovation this year than some of those companies have done in 10 or 15 years. It is truly the most exciting time to be a part of Business Automation.”

Want to learn more about Enverus Business Automation solutions? Fill out the form for more details.

Picture of Susie Yuill

Susie Yuill

Susie Yuill is Director of Product Marketing at Enverus. She specializes in bringing SaaS software products to market and creating and implementing high-value marketing programs to reach and convert target accounts. Throughout the years, she has led the marketing product launches for several SaaS products for various industries. Susie is a proud, fightin' Texas A&M Aggie and earned an MBA from Texas State University.

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