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Discovery Newsletter: Perspective, Brad Razook and Jim Hannan

February 26, 2019

min read

Brad Razook and Jim Hannan
KII EVP and CEO – Resources | KII EVP & CEO — Enterprises

Web scraping. Optimizing bots. Internal crowdsourcing. Dark mode in Sketch. Velocity-based slotting. Autonomous modeling life-cycles.

Strange as they may sound, all of these are examples of technology-driven changes underway across Koch Industries. They are evidence of our “commitment to continually transform our performance” in keeping with KII’s new Vision.

At Koch, our emphasis is not on using technology as a way of replacing people. Instead, we strive to use it in ways that enable self-actualization and create new opportunities. We’re also particularly focused on tech that helps us make jobs safer and less boring.

We seek technologies that will help free you so you can be more autonomous and self-directed. We firmly believe that if we can accelerate your success, you will help the company succeed even more.

Can technology really make that happen? Consider some of the tech-driven changes we’ve seen recently at Koch businesses and capabilities, then decide for yourself.

Where are you?

Few things frustrate customers more than being left to wonder when a much-needed shipment or service person will arrive.

KBX Logistics and i360 are using the Internet of Things and machine learning to do a better job of predicting truck arrival times. They’ve figured out a way to ensure that information on truckloads can be updated every 15 minutes, allowing a 30 percent improvement in accuracy for pick-ups and delivery schedules.

The technology has global scalability, which means it could work just as well for the Koch-Glitsch manufacturing site in Savli, India, as it would for the Molex distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Similarly, Guardian Glass is using technology to improve its supply chain performance by connecting data from customer orders directly to the warehouse floor, and then tracking everything through to customer delivery.

This efficiency helps give customers what they want more promptly. And by creating production and warehousing efficiencies, it makes Guardian’s products less costly.

Similarly, FHR is fully automating the monitoring, reordering and replenishment of chemicals and other additives for its chemical plants.

Word for word

At INVISTA, sales orders printed on paper were often a major headache — especially when they had to pass through multiple hands to be corrected or revised.

By using a combination of optical character recognition (an electronic scan that actually “recognizes” the words on a page) and machine learning, INVISTA has transformed how sales orders are created and processed.

This has resulted in reduced error rates, fewer people handling each order page, more accurate order fulfillment and less waste.

Even Koch’s history is being affected by this technological change. A new project to digitize the documents in the corporate archive using OCR will result in easier, faster and more accurate searches. Rather than being forced to read thousands of pages to find a single name or term, a machine can do that work.

Technology is transforming the work of attorneys, too. Seal Contract Discovery is software that combines machine learning with natural language processing to search for legal terms, provisions and other data buried in thousands of pages of documents.

Turning around turnarounds

By using data analytics, location tracking, mobile technology, Molex sensors and a newly installed array of 36o˚ cameras, Flint Hills Resources is transforming the way it performs major maintenance on its facilities, including the Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota.

By securing better information — delivered in real-time to operators throughout the plant — FHR can now plan and execute turnarounds in radically different ways. As a result, scheduled maintenance can be more effective, less disruptive and far less costly.

More comfortable, too. By letting technology do the work, some inspections and chores no longer have to be done by an employee bundled up for sub-zero weather. Instead, that same employee can handle them from a control panel loaded onto an office computer.

Inch by inch, row by row

In the world of agriculture, KAES is working with Descartes Labs to see if Descartes’ satellite imaging and data capabilities can help KAES predict where and to what extent crops will be planted.

Having accurate planting information will help KAES better position the right types of fertilizer in the right locations. Crop fertilization is a time-sensitive challenge for farmers all around the world, so any improvements KAES can help provide could have enormous benefits.

Tech is also transforming how our employees in human resources roles do their jobs — a story that will be featured in an upcoming issue of Discovery.

The bottom line is, more tech-driven tools like these — as well as many others we never imagined — are coming your way. Guaranteed.

We must have a heightened sense of urgency and a commitment to continually transform our performance.

– KII Vision