ARCHIVED - Actenum Corporation Vancouver, British Columbia
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March 08, 2007— Vancouver, British Columbia
For most of us, heating our homes is pretty easy: we turn up the thermostat, the furnace kicks on and within minutes we have the comfort of warmth. But for the companies that bring us our energy products, it's a lot more difficult. The logistics of industrial production and distribution are enormously complicated, involving schedules, supply chains, manufacturing, refining, employees – the list goes on and on.
To manage the efficiency of operations and resources, companies make heavy investments into sophisticated computer applications like ERP, EAM, CMMS and Supply Chain Planning applications. These important programs are useful when everything goes as scheduled, but are limited when a disruptive event occurs. The current technology platforms these programs are built on cannot compute all the variables, especially true when a disruption occurs. Managers are left to make important resource and asset management decisions with too little strategic data to support them. No matter how much experience a manager has, gut-level decisions are high-stress and prone to error.
"A lot of money leaks through resource management inefficiency holes," says Owen Plowman, VP of Business Development for Actenum, a company that is creating innovative software to solve these inefficiency problems. "Most companies know they are losing money, but the technology to manage every factor and eventuality simply hasn't existed until now."
Enter Actenum Corporation.
Using innovative developments in the field of constraint technology, Actenum is creating software tools that are taking the guesswork out of impossibly complicated operational scenarios. They have developed an algorithmic engine able to rapidly model complex scheduling situations and optimize resource management, even in disruptive environments. They are unraveling the puzzles of unpredictability.
In 2003, Actenum, then a consulting firm named Girba, approached the National Research Council Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) for discussions. Julia Rylands, a NRC-IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor and now Regional Director for NRC-IRAP Pacific saw the potential for industrial applications immediately. Initially, under Ryland's mentorship and financial assistance from the program, Actenum was able to incorporate, attract investment, hire two additional research scientists, merge with another company, register two U.S. patents, and begin exploration around the globe for potential customers. It was determined the best place to begin was the oil and gas, mining and utilities industries.
One marketing program from IDC Energy Insights, a group of O & G experts helped Actenum identify global O & G players and learn current trends in the industry. "We knew the IDC program would be valuable, but without NRC-IRAP's help we would not have been able to participate," says Plowman. "We're pleased we did. It flattened our learning curve and 'boot-strapped' our knowledge-base of the global oil and gas industry. It also focused our product development. We needed make sure we were developing in the direction the O & G sector really needed us."
Rubbing shoulders with the right people has paid off. In 2006, global oil giant Saudi Aramco deployed Actenum's Rig Activity Scheduler (RAS). Drilling rigs carry a cost of approximately $50,000 USD per day with additional costs for moving them. "With a fleet of 150 drilling rigs, they needed a scheduling tool to maximize drilling time and minimize rig movement," said Plowman. "The RAS optimizes their drilling rig schedules, matching appropriate rig size to well size. It will also schedule high-value wells as early as possible. The RAS program will save them a lot of money," predicts Plowman optimistically.
Actenum now has 16 full-time employees plus several consultants. It has run several successful projects with Precarn, involving industry and university partners and was just named a "Ready to Rocket 25" company. Actenum expects to double its revenue in 2007, a conservative prediction of a bright future.
But nothing predicts quite like new customers, and with another recent deployment at a major oil company operating in the Canadian oilsands, it is clear Actenum is being noticed here and around the globe.
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