Digital transformation to achieve operational excellence

By powering the principles of operational excellence with digital and analytics, and adding a laser focus on holistic impact, companies can achieve a true step change in performance. This short interview—the first in a series—with Francisco Ruiz-Tagle Edwards, chief executive officer at Empresas CMPC, outlines the potential of this approach in process industries. His words have been lightly edited for clarity.

Francisco Ruiz-Tagle Edwards

At CMPC, we’re passionate about contributing to a more sustainable world by producing natural and circular products. All of our sustainable products are created from natural and renewable fibers and sold around the world.

How is digitalization helping CMPC achieve its strategic goals?

Digitalization helps us to improve our competitiveness, while contributing to a greener and more environmentally sustainable world in a way that is scalable.

Digitalization helps us to better serve our clients with better visibility across the value chain, including logistics and digital transactions—for example, our warehouses with their internal processes and systems, so that we serve [our clients] the best. It also allows us to improve workforce life, not only boosting productivity, also improving their life quality, releasing time from their calendars to engage in more value-added activities.

What challenges have you faced when implementing digital transformation?

One challenge I would mention of implementing digital technologies is to generate ownership in the operations. What we have seen is that the most complex side is adoption, and that technology is integrated into the day to day of the operation, going from this is a one-and-done technology installation to changing my processes by working with technology. And we realize that it is necessary to adapt the organization and management to the new processes that are infused with technology.

What changes and benefits have you seen in your organization?

The operators moved from a situation where they were really focused on their own particular area. They didn’t have the vision of the whole process. They are able now to see the end-to-end process, starting from the forest to different operations in the mills.

The benefit we have seen so far in technology-enabled operational excellence is the motivation and excitement of our people; it has been one of the largest benefits that has positive ripple effects across the organization. We have seen production increases that will help us get to first decile in productivity in the industry, and help us on our way to net-zero emissions.