As a consulting engineer, can your task management, risk assessment and register solutions help you build a stronger relationship with your customer?
As a software provider serving the upstream oil and gas sector, we have spent much of the last 13 years developing and implementing robust web-based solutions to allow operators working remotely to manage tasks, actions, risks and events. These solutions have allowed offshore and onshore operational staff alike to take advantage of ever more reliable bandwidth to gather and share important data and use it to increase efficiency and mitigate risk.
For us, this has meant the development of more focused modules addressing such priorities as joint integrity, locked valve status, operational risk assessment and asbestos registry. What it also means is that operators are expecting more from solutions when it comes to supporting them in collaboration and doing more with the data their operational staff have gathered using these tools.
Today it is not enough that your solution can generate useful reports, or even allow managers to build their own portfolio of reports. Now companies should expect pertinent information to be proactively ‘pushed’ out of the solution directly to the right people at the right time and that this should be in the form of something as simple as a text or an e-mail.
To deliver on this expectation we have been able to use functionality typically reserved for our government projects where the legislation surrounding the care of vulnerable service users has meant this functionality has been in-situ for some time.
The result is a suite of solutions used by the oil, LNG and process sectors with an enhanced capacity to gather information, analyse it and communicate it proactively to the right people depending on their responsibility and location.
One trend that has been prevalent in both the oil/LNG sector and the government sector is the commissioning of external organisations to run day-to day operations. In the case of oil and gas this can mean an operator commissioning an organisation to manage a whole plant or a platform for a fixed term or a process such as a shutdown or decommissioning project.
This perhaps gives an opportunity for consulting engineers to make the most of the right solution by making it work as a common medium and getting it to generate value in multiple ways:
Firstly, and most obviously the solution needs to be able to help the organisations staff and managers deliver on their responsibilities as efficiently and safely as possible. The right solution can play a part in making a competitive bid possible and help drive additional efficiencies through the lifetime of the project/contract.
Secondly the right solution should be able to take care of audit-ability. This is not just restricted to actions, tasks or registers. Today web-based solutions are powerful enough to incorporate complex processes like change management or wide-reaching subjects like the status and integrity of a joints across a plant or entire organisation. Audit-ability across all these tools will doubtlessly provide a strong body of data…all of it making the engineering companies added value more obvious. Moreover, the value of this data is greater now than ever before thanks to the increasing ability of modern industry standard solutions to synchronise with a client’s in-house solutions quickly, securely and cheaply, meaning the properly equipped external engineering company can be feeding the clients systems with relevant, accurate data.
Thirdly the solution should be flexible enough to reflect the company’s brand, this is important because an operations solution, may be part of the day to day interface with the company for new staff who have come across from another organisation. In addition, the reports generated will become valuable exposure to the client.
Finally, and taking this point a step further, a modern, flexible solution should make it easy for the engineering company to create a client specific KPI view of the operational solution. This allows for ever more dynamic exposure and can cultivate real ‘stickability’ with a client. This is perhaps a genuine attempt at taking the well used ethos of ‘partner not vendor’ and really making it happen!
A well-chosen, industry standard solution can certainly significantly strengthen a bid, add rigour to the contract work undertaken and make all of this very evident to the client. The right solution should prove to be a cost-effective way of helping an engineering company deliver more and helping communicate its value to the client at each step of the way.