Nouryon cuts down 3 months of research to a 30 minutes search with ZyLAB solutions


With approximately 7,650 employees worldwide, operating in more than 80 countries, Nouryon, previously known as AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, is a global leader in producing specialty chemicals used by their customers to manufacture everyday products such as active ingredients in personal care, cleaning, paints and coatings, agriculture and food, pharmaceuticals, and building products.

The Research and Development teams consist of about 450 members, located worldwide. These teams are supported by several information portals, hosting a few million documents, that are being supervised and maintained by the Knowledge Management team based in Deventer in the Netherlands.

One of the portals can search in all historic research reports the company collected over the years. Nouryon, started using ZyLAB for the first time in the early 1990s, first for digitizing paper records up to now for preserving & managing electronic records with ZyLAB ONE cloud services 

Challenges Nouryon was facing before ZyLAB 

Nouryon is an Intellectual Property intensive company and relies heavily on proprietary chemical research in marketing and sales.

For over 30 years, Nouryon research teams have built vast bodies of knowledge, containing research reports and patent disclosures.  Changing requirements at customers, different raw materials, and evolving legislation on chemicals, triggers new research projects which needs to build upon the knowledge already present in the Nouryon archives.

Nouryon had almost all RD&I documents stored in ZyLAB and other (non-RD&I) documents on Microsoft file servers, Hummingbird / OpenText databases. They were getting lost in time and the presence of various systems were complex to operate.

Nowadays documents are digitally born but older reports were on paper or microfiche. They were scanned, letter recognized and stored.

The limited search and result representation functionality on full-text in Microsoft & OpenText made researchers spend a long time searching and reviewing documents. This, in turn, led to avoiding the use of archive searching with an increased risk of duplicate research and longer time-to-market times.

Why Nouryon chose ZyLAB solutions

To better serve the R&D teams, Nouryon was looking for a solution that would provide a single point of entry for searching the Nouryon R&D archive. 

 Nouryon's main requirements for this centralized portal: 

1. Making documents accessible & searchable: 

One of the key reasons for Nouryon to choose ZyLAB lies in the technology’s advanced search capabilities that allow teams to conduct complicated searches and efficiently display search results.

That said, Nouryon needed a powerful search functionality, that supports searching for molecule names.
In finding the right molecule names, keyword searches had to be expanded with wild card, truncation, and proximity searches. Nouryon also needed the ability to create their own search syntax.

Furthermore, Nouryon wanted to be able to search simultaneously through several archives with different authorizations, so they can prevent multiple searches in different archives and prevent unawareness among researchers because they were searching in the wrong archive, or they were not authorized to that archive.

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“ZyLAB provides a single source for archiving, finding and assessing information by using its rich search capabilities.”

Information Knowledge Manager Officer

2. Intellectual Property Protection 

Nouryon is dealing with sensitive information. Securing access to documents for the right users is essential.

ZyLAB allows for team, user, and document level access control, so users have the right information at their fingertips, and sensitive patent information is protected from (in)adverted disclosure.

This made
the difference to standard record-based solutions in the market like SharePoint and classical Document Management Systems where they do not offer this functionality in sufficient detail. 

“I have been testing ZyLAB today and I am extremely happy with the function and system! I will go home with a smile on my face - probably first time due to a new IT system”

Head of Lab PPC Nordics

How Nouryon uses ZyLAB solutions

Nouryon’s Knowledge Management team and all Nouryon ZyLAB users worldwide have extensively used ZyLAB in all the following use cases: 
  • Archived documents in a single portal.  

  • Created a single portal for all business units, with easy access to all knowledge available in the Nouryon organization. This has been achieved by simply uploading all electronic file formats within the platform: from scientific to regulatory documents and IP-related documents.  

  • Advanced search functionality, that allows for molecular names searches in documents, with high relevance and less noise in results. Uses proximity search to find properties of products, truncation searching to include variations of their word-stem or Fuzzy Search to deal with OCR errors in scanned documents. 
  • Advanced result options: Previews, Keyword in Context, Hit Highlighting in both electronic and scanned documents. Continue Review is also an appreciated function that allows the users to continue the archive search from where they left it before closing the browser. 

  • Knowledge protection by team, user, and individual document access control.  

  • Keep confidentiality in place because of working with 3rd parties, IP-limitations, or operational procedures. 

The Results 

  • Saving time by the centralized management of Knowledge Information, which gives research teams immediate access to the needed information. 
  • Improving time-to-market for new products. 

  • Reducing R&D costs, by preventing duplicate research across the global organization. 

  • Supporting file formats that are no longer supported by Microsoft via the PDF download option. 

  • Preventing Knowledge Data from getting lost in time. 
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“Doing a 30-minute search could help to prevent carrying out 3 months of unnecessary research!”

Information Knowledge Manager Officer


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