By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
The Group Chief Operating Officer of MRS Holdings Limited, Amina Maina has said that investing in Digital Technologies will reduce costs, improve efficiency in the downstream petroleum sector.
She made this known during the panel discussion on “Automation, Digital Transformation, and Retail Margins at the Last Mile: Status Report” at the 13th edition of Oil Trading & Logistics Africa Downstream Week 2019 recently held in Lagos.
In her words, she pointed out that Technology is something that the industry cannot leave without.
“Today, you cannot afford to have manual processes in your company or retail outlets. The entire world has moved from having a manual system to all kinds of digital systems.
“When we talk about the digital system, we are talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) which is the basic connection of devices and human interface. Also, there is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is being used by most of the IOCs at this point. But, we don’t have that in Nigeria yet”, she said.
According to her, an enabling environment is needed to guarantee investment in the development of the sector.
“The pricing template doesn’t favor investment. It is capital intensive to make this investment.
“There is a huge cost difference using digital technologies but to make those investments, we need an enabling environment that is about the right policies and regulations.
“We need to have enablers, incentives that allow people to make these investments because when you talk about ‘Automation’, you are looking at not just things that will happen now but something that will happen in the nearest future.
“With Digital Transformation, the face of the industry is changing. And, a lot of service providers will benefit from it.
“For us at MRS, all our systems are fully automated. We have done end-to-end automation from our loading to the distribution of our products.
“We don’t have any dealer that comes into our office to order our products. They can order our products from their phones wherever they are. And, that’s what we want to see in the industry and we hope that by next year, a lot of these technologies will be available in the market.
“For instance, if you go to our retail station in Victoria Island you will see a lot of automation that has taken place. The idea is to use ‘Automation and Digital Transformation’ to reduce costs, improve efficiency and more importantly, get customers satisfied,” she added.