While it may not seem like it, the oil and gas sector have a lot of similarities with the technology sector. Both have far reaching effects that they have transcended from being mere consumer sectors into becoming cultural drivers. These similarities allow them to learn from each other – lessons learned in one can be applied to the other.
Since the downturn began in 2014, oil and gas companies have been learning some hard lessons. Difficult business strategies had to be executed, and capital expenditure had to be cut for companies to survive. High-capital, long-term projects have been cutback or cancelled, while short-term projects had to be quickly implemented. And while all these factors caused significant pain, they did serve as an important catalyst for innovation in an industry that had grown complacent during the long years of price stability.
The following lessons learned during these difficult years can be adapted to the technology sector; helping tech companies avoid failure and secure success:
Effective Use of Workforce
Restructuring was a necessary measure for many companies to survive, but the human cost was staggering. Many talented veterans had to be let go. Many new talents kept away, fearing the instability. With the need to do more work with a depleted workforce, companies are embracing technology to better manage operational planning, crew rotation, and workforce scheduling. When contingent labor has to be brought in, these applications can help properly manage, utilize, and optimize the additional workers – ensuring efficient use of the investment.
While tech companies rarely lack skilled workers, turnover rates are high. Effective and efficient use of the workforce can help alleviate stress and prevent burn-out of talented veterans. Even if retention is not an issue, these applications and practices can help in the full utilization of the workforce while increasing productivity.
Augment Workforce Capabilities with Technology
Using technology on the field to augment the capabilities of workers is another way of working around the shortage of workers. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) can be used for topographical mapping and scanning of pipelines for damage. Workers can wear augmented reality equipment to allow more experienced workers to coach them, even when the senior worker is in another location.
In tech companies, remotely guided or autonomous vehicles can help maintenance teams scan for damage across an entire facility. System experts can guide field service technicians equipped with wearable technology. Technology is especially useful when the facility to be maintained is remote, cramped, or the maintenance and service technician lack experience.
Balance Short-Term and Long-Term Projects
Due to the need to quickly cut on capital expenditure, many long-term projects have to be cancelled. Short-term projects became preferred as a quick return on investment. This required good project management capabilities and industry expertise to quickly plan and implement short projects.
Tech companies may have no need to cut on capital expenditure, but the ability to take on short-cycle projects is a good option to consider. Tech companies should develop the capability to quickly seize on innovations and trends, either to augment their current products or diversify their services and offers.