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Bringing operators to the 21st century.

Oil and gas professionals face many pressures these days, and the market doesn't seem to get any friendlier. Profitability is harder and harder to maintain because of erratic commodity prices. With all the new environmental requirements that have escalated the costs and the adversity of regulatory compliance, oil and gas companies face one of the most challenging periods of their life.

Does the oil and gas industry need a digital reinvention? Are operating rounds in need of a digital revamp? 

In the 21st-century business landscape, company owners can choose from numerous opportunities to improve plant reliability, safety, and operational profitability. Bringing operator rounds to the future proof stage means digitizing the mobile workforce, hence, maximizing efficiency and improving collaboration. 

Preparing upfront for the many challenges, like the aging workforce that can slow down operational efficiency due to retirement and knowledge loss, the oil and gas industry can pave down the road to the future proof operator rounds. 

So what does it mean to bring your operators to the 21st century?

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Connecting your operators

The best assets of the oil and gas industry are still the operators. A lot of innovative solutions are discussed already: robotics, drones, responsive maintenance with IoT sensors, etc. However, until these technologies will be more affordable and ready for usage industry-wide, there are already changes you can make today. Digitizing the current operator with tools that are flexible, scalable, and future-proof will bring quick-wins and provide a solid baseline to integrate with smart glasses, drones, and IoT in the future.

Provide your field engineers with a connected environment. Terminal facilities need reliable tools to help the industry increase efficiency and logistics, ensure safety, and to reduce the frequency of downtime events. With a solution that maximizes operations’  collaboration, you can focus on maximizing other areas of growth.

Collaboration is part of operator rounds. When performed on paper, or spreadsheets, the collaboration is chaotic, prior to human error and missed checks. The operator rounds of the 21st-century use inspection tools that allow multiple operators to work on the same form without affecting their colleagues' work and ensuring no details are missed for example.

If an inspection can’t be completed in one visit at the terminal, any other operator can pick it up from where it was left, continuing the inspection with zero incidents saving the other operator precious time.

There are many situations in which operators are facing rough work conditions like bad weather, exposure to cold water, and dirt. Once the inspection is conducted they still have to travel back to the offices, file, or scan the paper-based inspection so they can share it with other operators. Have you ever considered how much time and energy are invested in one single inspection?

Download our free whitepaper: Mobile Operator Rounds - Oil and Gas Industry

Improve Asset Reliability

When operators perform inspections on the plant, they want to make sure that there are no unscheduled downtime, safety risks, or other problems that could affect regulatory compliance. How would having access to data insights in real-time using a custom dashboard where all the corrective actions can be visualized by everyone in charge, anywhere at any time, change the rapidity of business decisions regarding asset reliability? Would that sharpen the accuracy of the processes conducted?

Instant access and notification 

Because of the high-pressure operators, along with the decision-makers’ experience, availability is a key element. The information of high importance should be accessible in no time with as little effort as possible. Forms and previous inspections should be effortless to find and access by anyone in the organisation who needs to overview or recheck them. A future-proof operator round leaves no room for errors; that is why scheduling data collection or observational tasks with a reminder feature will ensure accountability.

Say goodbye to shadow IT 

No more clipboard or binders, nor overstuffed filing cabinets, lost spreadsheets, and noncompliant MS word inspections. Seamless integration between the office and the field operators will enable efficiency through the integrated solution.

Manually transferring data between an app to another application, or to a spreadsheet, is problematic. This so-called process of shadow IT, is full of flaws which increases the risk of errors, missed information, or even complete loss of data. Manually transferring data can cost businesses billions of dollars due to the risk of mistakes. Spreadsheets are difficult to control. Companies that run inspections using one of these programs might be aware of how difficult it is to exchange data between separate software programs and how collaboration is strongly affected by it.

Furthermore, making use of shadow IT is not designed for collaborative work especially when inspections require information from multiple parts to multiple departments who have to validate the data. An inspection is complete after multiple exchanges of data, ideas, input, comments, files, and approval has been obtained. 

Naturally, you cannot replace all the various applications with one single application. However, what you can do is make use of a platform where all the applications come together and exchange data with each other. The last piece of the puzzle between the operator and the back-end of your organisation.

Final thoughts

Working with companies in the oil and gas field, we’ve learned about the challenges caused by difficult operator rounds. The business leaders we talked about the digital transformation of their organisation have agreed that a smooth transition to digital is needed to progress and grow in this business landscape. Nonetheless, the reluctance can still be noticed especially after operators have built a comfort zone around their processes, and many times, in order to grow you have to step out of it.

In our efforts to help businesses transform their inspections so they can achieve their goals faster and improve their process in a more accurate and efficient manner, we at Smartflow are working to improve our cloud-based solution that digitizes work inspections in order to meet the requirements of the businesses in need.

Get in touch with one of our consultants if you want to learn more about our solution.

Request a demo.