How oil and gas companies can improve their productivity & performance

Mail Manager 23 Aug, 2021

Deloitte’s 2021 Oil and Gas Industry Outlook uncovered that although global oil demand fell by 25% in April, the end of year total loss was only 8%. They anticipate that the demand for oil will strongly recover, however, this is anticipated to be between 4-7% lower than pre-COVID-19 levels. The global downturn caused by the pandemic, paired with the long-term move towards renewable energy sources has meant that the industry will change a lot in the next decade, and companies will need to adapt to survive.

In fact, COVID-19 and the oil downturn have accelerated global long-term trends towards energy transition and digital transformation. Digital transformation is widely considered the key to business survival post-pandemic, and we’ve seen that other industries such as AEC have already had to adopt digital environments and improve their internal technology adoption.

There are a number of management practices and digital technologies that industries such as the AEC use to boost their productivity and performance that the oil and gas industry can learn from. But, simply copying these practices isn’t enough.

Oil and gas companies all over the world face similar issues in that no oil and gas projects is the same, lead times can be extremely long and there is often a high turnover of staff. It’s not all doom and gloom though. A recent finding by McKinsey found that by reducing development time alone, companies in the industry have the potential to deliver 15-30% in cost savings. So, how can oil and gas firms boost their productivity and performance?

Four steps to improving project productivity and performance

1. Adopting Project Production Management (PPM) practices

PPM views a project as a collection of discrete production systems with their own sets of processes. By managing each process and system separately, businesses will be able to better track and optimise performance. Take your project email management for example. How many hours a week do you spend either checking your emails, or getting distracted by a ‘new email’ notification. Our research indicates that this number looks like three hours every week, and studies have shown it takes 23-minutes to regain your focus once your attention is pulled elsewhere. By incorporating PPM, project managers can regain control over their project processes.

2. Integrating digital technologies and automation

We’ve seen it in almost every industry around the world. Implementing digital technology and automation drastically improves projects, and it’s no different for oil and gas projects. Straight of the bat, organisations won’t have to manually undertake their repetitive tasks, and put more focus on their billable work. It’s also now possible to automate quality control functions, as well as purchase ordering from suppliers. Recent years have seen construction projects using technologies like Digital Twins and 5-D BIM, and by using similar tools and digitising processes, oil and gas companies could save time and eliminate masses of paper that are currently used on sites.

3. Harnessing the power of advanced analytics  

Project data is key in discovering what drives better performance, efficiency, and quality. But, how often do project teams in oil and gas actually make the most of this information? Often, the data you need is buried in thousand of spreadsheets, on paper or in email trails with no central repository, and information is often lost at the end of a project, or when a member of staff leaves the company. As a starting point, ensuring that you file all project-related correspondence will make sure you’re able to keep track of everything you’ll need in case something goes wrong, or to improve processes for the better.

4. Adopting agile ways of work 

Agile working and management practices have been used widely for around 20-years now. Agile relies on cross-functional teams, rapid learning and technology-led decisions which helps companies respond quickly to change. For oil and gas, agile working involves operating in project teams, where a project leader has a complete vision of the project, and knows what needs to be done to achieve it.

Reimagining the oil and gas industry

By taking on-board agile work, advanced analytics, digital technologies and automation, and PPM, oil and gas companies can completely rethink the way they carry out capital projects. There are always opportunities to improve productivity, and by seizing these, project managers will be able to complete their projects faster, reduce costs and improve the overall project success. These changes don’t happen overnight, and project managers and business owners will be at the forefront of this change. But an easy way to get started is through leveraging your email to drive bigger operational efficiencies and value.

The number one productivity tool for Oil & Gas businesses is Outlook, but businesses generally haven’t changed the way they use it for the past 15 years. So, what if there was a better way to utilise Outlook in your business? Especially knowing the vast majority of project information is buried within emails.

At Mail Manager, we help businesses find any email on any project within 3 clicks, saving people on average 30-minutes per day. You can read more about how we solve the email productivity headache for the oil and gas industry here, or read how we’ve helped Offshore Design Engineering increase transparency and improve their productivity.

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