The business environment of the energy industry is forecast to undergo major changes going forward. For Idemitsu to continue to grow, proactively applying digital transformation (DX) to all business processes, enhancing operational sophistication, and continuously providing services that meet new needs will be essential. Based on this understanding, we outlined a basic policy of accelerating our business platform for 2030 and are promoting initiatives to accelerate DX.
We established the Digital Transformation Department in January 2020 and began multiple on-site investigations and in-house education programs to foster a corporate culture. We consolidated BPR functions carried out across multiple departments in July 2021, and the Digital & BPR Department (currently Digital ＆ ICT Department) works to create more social and customer value and accelerate the enhancement of employee experience.
Idemitsu acquired DX Certification (from the Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry) on April 1, 2021. And, Idemitsu was selected as a Digital Transformation Stock in 2021 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Tokyo Stock Exchange.
The Digital & BPR Department (currently Digital ＆ ICT Department) uses data to connect all internal and external value provision and focuses on creating a digital business base.
We have secured both highly specialized DX personnel for value maximization and a dynamic organizational structure that facilitates the implementation and promotion of DX.
To promote the transformation of operating processes across the Company, we launched multiple on-site investigations from April 2020 to help create synergies between divisions and contribute to overall optimization. After confirming the results, we have been making steady progress, including conducting trial runs.
In addition, since the emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, over 90% of the entire company’s employees (excluding the Manufacturing & Technology Department) have been working from home. In terms of DX, we are using more web meetings, going paperless, and utilizing an electronic approval system, and employees have become more aware that workstyles have significantly changed. As of September 2021, departments with occupations that can be done remotely have maintained an in-office attendance rate of less than 30%.
We held online seminars for employees to create and maintain our corporate culture and are promoting activities aimed at transforming the entire company that cover a wide range of content, including the provision of explanations of the necessity of promoting DX to realizing Idemitsu’s future vision as well as internal case studies. In addition, we have been holding panel discussions with external experts.
Undertaken as an internal DX project, the transformation of maintenance operations entailed the verification of results while revising the way we conduct operations by adopting an unconventional approach (Agile and Design thinking).
Refineries and relevant departments formed a DX promotion system and implemented continual operational process improvements in 100-day increments. As a result, we were able to see the possibility of reducing maintenance costs and enhancing competitiveness through more efficient operations.
In addition, these initiatives helped create a corporate culture of working as one team to create better products instead of the former with former buyers and sellers.
We have begun considering how to best expand the scope of transformation and are extending the application of knowledge gained from pilot tests to other plants. Going forward, we will continue aiming to promote and maintain operational process improvements and creating synergy across businesses.
To continue creating new customer value in existing businesses, we need new initiatives that fully leverage the Company’s assets. For example, with regard to service stations, it is not enough to simply wait for customers to come to fill their tanks, we need to send out information and transform these facilities into places that offer new experiences. With our apollostation network acting as a one-stop shop for a new era of enriching local residents’ lives, we will leverage our accumulated data and realize services tailored to each customer in order to provide optimal services at the best time to meet diverse customer needs, such as solving locally unique issues.
In January 2021, we launched "apollostation Portal," a portal site designed to drive digital transformation for dealers. The portal allows the centralized management of business systems essential to dealers and SS (service stations) operations, including those for ordering, human resource management, and customer management. In addition, via the portal site's web conference system, users are able to participate in online SS meetings, briefings held at branches, and workshops. As of the end of May 2021, the portal is being used by approximately 1,200 dealer companies and 8,000 individuals in Japan, and has been well-received. We will promote work style reform and the creation of new businesses for the entire Group by using the apollostation Portal.