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Manual workarounds at Hydro's extrusion plant in Portland, Oregon during the cyber-attack.
Manual workarounds at Hydro's extrusion plant in Portland, Oregon during the cyber-attack.

Employees find creative solutions in response to cyber-attack

November 23, 2020

Employees from Hydro operations across the world have been finding creative solutions to help satisfy customer obligations and keep business running in response to the March 19 cyber-attack.

Hydro is still working to neutralize the effects of the cyber-attack, which impaired the ability of its manufacturing sites to connect to their production systems, thereby causing production challenges and temporary stoppages at several plants.

Hardest hit by the cyber-attack is Hydro Extruded Solutions, the company’s largest business area with more than 30,000 customers and activities in 40 countries. Extruded Solutions delivers tailored aluminium components and solutions to all industries, from automotive and mass transportation to building and construction, electronics, offshore and maritime.

The “situation room” in Tønder, Denmark
The “situation room” where IT staff from both Hydro’s extrusion plant and its aluminium tubing plant in Tønder, Denmark work together.

 

"We are getting very close to our normal output with the help of workarounds and creative solutions,” says Egil Hogna, executive vice president responsible for Extruded Solutions.

Clever employees and collaboration

As a consequence of the cyber-attack, Hydro has temporarily been switching to manual operations and alternative procedures to limit the impact on customers. Employees across the world are contributing.

Here are some examples:

– In Belgium, a long-time sales manager printed out the entire order book for Hydro’s welded tubes plant, just hours before the cyber-attack had been identified. This print of orders created the foundation for a complete manual system at the Lichtervelde site.

– In Germany, where usage of the SAP system was limited, the 10-person material management team in Hamburg found that their emergency plan was a life-saver for the rolled products site. Especially the lists of their 16,000 spare parts – which they had printed out months ago.

– In France, four marketing colleagues traveled from Paris to Rennes, then to Nantes and down to Toulouse, to scan and retrieve PCs at each site. The 1,300-kilometer trek enabled IT teams to handle emergency issues in their building systems business.

Extrusion dies are stacked and put into order for use in the production of building profiles at Hydro’s building systems plant in Toulouse, France.
Extrusion dies are stacked and put into order for use in the production of building profiles at Hydro’s building systems plant in Toulouse, France.

 

– In the UK, the customer service team is receiving orders from building systems customers through older methods of contact, such as fax machines, and with digital channels like WhatsApp and Facebook. Furthermore, their technical department is using pencils, paper and rulers to create hand-drawn plans and diagrams, which are then photocopied and sent by fax machine, or photographed and sent to customers via WhatsApp.

– In Denmark, the IT team went shopping. They purchased a brand new server and 25 brand new PCs. Then they quickly programmed a new shop-floor system, tested the system, made instructions to the system, and educated users in application of the system. They rolled it out at their four heat transfer tubing plants in Tønder, including links to bar code applications.

– Again in Germany, an SAP expert at the aluminium production plant in Neuss stepped in and provided vital IT support – an additional role that emerged by chance, and by emergency. His work helped the plant keep producing metal. Said a colleague: “We would have been lost without him.”

Meet some of our heroes in this video from Magnor, Norway:

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