‘Innovation’, in the context of Banpu Power, is the design and selection of high-efficiency and clean technologies suitable for each project , and the initiation to change the working process to be more efficient. This can be proceeded through studying how to improve the procedures, probably including applying advanced technologies to current tasks such as digital technologies, electricity trading technologies, and a virtual power plant etc. The development of production processes and innovations will be a significant platform to increase competitive advantages and create stable and sustainable growth amid the fast-changing industry during the disruptive technology era.
Banpu Power has improved its production efficiency based on the principles of ‘Operational Excellence’ together with innovations. Employees at all levels collaborate to identify problems possibly arisen during working including finding their root causes through a systematic process and continuous improvement in order to increase working efficiency and process reliability as well as to reduce costs and losses in a production procedure. The process starts with training employees to enable them to identify the problems that may arise during their working processes with the support from a corporate team. In addition, a knowledge exchange between business units for mutual learning has been conducted, while employees have the opportunity to present a project initiated and implemented with fruitful results.
The Company has driven innovation through the creation of corporate culture – the ‘Innovative’ value, one of the three corporate shared values. Innovation has been promoted through various activities in order to help all employees understand the importance of applying innovation to their works. The ‘Wow Idea’ system has been created for employees to propose their initiatives so that they can present the ideas and innovations leading to the concretely tangible practices.
With a realization of future operations in which digital technology will play an important role in creating competitive advantages, Banpu Power has paid great attention to the transformation of work processes to the digital age (Digital transformation). As a result, not only devices have been modified, but also applications have been developed. Moreover, employee’s digital skills have been enhanced, while their working concepts have been adjusted so that they have flexibilities, skills and expertise, being able to quickly respond to any new changes or demands. This includes the effective cooperation with experts in various fields (Agility).
- Carrying out the digital transformation project aligned with the target set.
- Having the assessment result related to digital mutuality level of 42%, which was classified in the digital leader group, an increase of 30% from the year 2018 when the digital transformation started implementation.
- The power plant’s production process and innovation improvement project, such as:
- A project to improve the power plant’s boilers to be able to accommodate wastes generated from customers’ production process at Zouping Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant.
- A project to improve the power plant’s boilers to handle low-calorific coal in order to reduce the fuel costs at Zhengding CHP Plant.
Key Activities and Projects
As digital technologies have drastically been reshaping the way we live and work, digital transformation has been on Banpu group and BPP’s agendas as one of the key success factors to drive its business transition aligned with the Greener & Smarter strategy.
To reflect the progress of Banpu group’s digital transformation journey, starting since 2018, Banpu Group assessed its digital, automation, industrial-internet-of-things (IIoT) and analytics maturity at a group level. Four areas of management best practices were measured, including
- corporate culture
- right structures and internal processes, and
- digital skills and technology capabilities.
The assessment, which was done by leveraging a third party self-diagnostic tool from one of the globally leading digital consulting companies, helped the company to discover digital opportunities as well as identify gaps between current capabilities with the final goal of becoming a leading digitally driven organization. The methodology has a proven track record and has been used by more than 550 companies across multiple industries globally. More than 80 energy, gas, and mining companies were used in the benchmarking.
At the asset level, Zhengding CHP Plant became the first CHP plant in China to be assessed by using the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI), created by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) in partnership with a network of leading technology companies, consultancy firms, and industry and academic experts. SIRI is comprised of a suite of frameworks and tools to help manufacturers – regardless of size and industry – in starting, scaling, and sustaining their manufacturing Industry 4.0 transformation journeys. Zhengding CHP Plant has shown the areas for improvement in only 4 out of 16 dimensions of the SIRI framework, which now helps identify the development priorities for the operations.
Accelerating digitization by using low-code platforms:
User-designed applications using low code platforms such as Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Power BI are the instruments for increasing the digitization of business processes across Banpu Group. These applications provide structured data for further analytics, visualization, and decision-support, which was previously impractical or inefficient.
Robotic process automation, cost-effective IIoT networks linked to cloud data platforms and visualization tools are enabling us to drastically improve the efficiency and accuracy of the collection, analysis and reporting of environmental, social and governance (ESG) information from the front-line operators to stakeholders. The applications BPP has used in many cases include:
- Blink: an application for collecting sustainability data and reporting;
- IRIS: an application for market intelligence of coal supply chain; and
- ENIGMA: an application for BPP asset monitoring dashboard, focusing on renewable energy generation assets.
People transformation enabling home-grown agile digital studio:
The importance of digital and transition to tech-enabled work environments is everywhere across the globe. More importantly, attracting and retaining people with right capabilities and talents will continue being a growing challenge in all business domains. Up-skilling and re-skilling existing workforces deeply understanding the company’s culture and having hands-on experiences in the functional business process is the key factor to sustain the transition to the workplace of the future.
HPC Power Plant in Laos successfully completed Phase-1 of its boiler improvement program, focusing on reconfiguring and deep analytics of data from the existing acoustic sensors. The whole process, starting from diagnostics to prioritization, workstream planning and execution, was done by an energetic inhouse team whose achievement we are proud of. Besides, Phase-2 will activate prediction capabilities or the system and lay down the foundations for building digital-twins of mission critical equipment.
The transition pathways to a low-carbon, clean and green world will remain at the core of all business strategies in the years to come. With the Greener & Smarter strategy taken place since 2015 and the Digital Transformation program executed since 2018, Banpu Group has been well positioned in focusing its transformation efforts and agile change on decarbonization of our energy value chains as well as bring step-change improvements in operational safety of all our assets and operations and the communities.
Our network of Digital Capability Centers (DCC) at Beijing and Luannan Power Plant act as the innovation and ecosystem engagement hubs to continue our journey towards a digitally enabled enterprise.
We will continue the re-skilling programs through Banpu Digital Academy (BDA) and improving the way our people collaborate with each other under the digital environments via the constant user experience and user interface (UX/UI) design improvements, as well as pursuing new growth opportunities by commercialization of relevant digitized cases to other industry peers.
Example of courses offered by BDA: Scrum 101, Design Thinking, Creativity, Design Thinking and Innovation for Business, New Lean Startup Principle, Product Management Fundamental and Introduction to Business Analytics.