Communication is key.
Everything is true until it’s not.
One-on-one conversations and casual communications have often been a strength in the oilfields. The relationships between the guys working at site and the service providers they deal with run deep. There’s a trust built up by years of working together. Sure, maybe these conversations don’t always address every detail of a job and, sure, forms aren’t always fully complete, but we’re all friends and we’ve worked like this for years. Things have gotten done. In a real way, the system works.
Until one of the key people involved changes jobs.
Until there’s a dispute over three extra hours on an invoice.
Until someone at head office needs a completed ticket to authorize payment.
Until commodity prices fall and costs become an issue.
Until you don’t know where your driver is or when he’s coming.
Until you miss out on a job because nobody told you it was up for bid.
Until someone’s entire day is burned chasing a missing signature.
At a Payload focus group, we gathered input from a mix of on-the-ground oilfield experts including Field Engineers, Wellsite Supers, Drilling and Production Engineers, Operation Consultants, Ops Managers, and Project Managers. There was a mix of people new to the industry and many more with 20 plus years of experience.
One of the key insights that came out of the session was the communication gap. Many of the people involved were excellent communicators in their immediate spheres of influence. But they didn’t have control over communications across the full procurement-to-payment lifecycle. There was broad agreement that many of the issues that cause inefficiency in the oilfields come down to communication.
Faced with the challenge of a widely distributed workforce in remote areas the industry did what they needed to get the job done; paper, telephone and talk. Until recently, it would have been fair to argue that fixing the systemic communication issues that have plagued producers and service providers alike was too time-consuming and too costly. One-to-one communication was the best answer.
Not anymore. Technology and wider networks in remote locations now give us the ability to simply and easily communicate one-to-many. All job details can be captured in one place including alerts, SDS and road use agreements. So many fundamental problems that cost us money and cause us stress can be eliminated if we use technology to our advantage. The solutions are here and they’re not cost-prohibitive or time consuming.