Something Antiquated; A Paper Process

By Payload • January 12, 2022

Within the context of the Oil and Gas industry, change is hard to come by, and the same can be said of its respective logistics operations. A bustling industry often moving faster than the modes of transport that use it, logistics—ironically enough—can be slow to change.

The adages go “people are creatures of habit” and “people are afraid of change”; both of which apply to Oil and Gas logistics.  And whether behind the wheel or a desk, personnel in these operations have come to heavily rely on pen and paper, and for them, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.  But change is coming.  On the oil patch, technology is charging forward, exposing solely paper-based processes as arduous and convoluted; often requiring overly complex routines and workflows.

So, one may find themselves wondering why processes in the industry are not keeping up.  To fully understand this problem, it may be beneficial to cover some of Oil and Gas’ history, and how far back it goes.

What we now know as “Oil and Gas” originated in Western Canada where, in the 1700’s, aboriginal and indigenous peoples used tar-like residue from oil seeps and oil sands deposits to seal their boats.  The Oil and Gas industry in Canada, however, dates back to the mid 19th century when Charles N. Tripp, a businessman from Woodstock, Ontario, founded the International Mining and Manufacturing Company in 1851 to take advantage of asphalt beds and oil springs in the area.

Considering the age of the industry, it may be surprising to some readers that there has not been regulation until recently. A 2019 Danatec article titled “The Evolution of Transporting Dangerous Goods in Canada”, “No lawful TDG regulations existed in Canada until 1980, with the first complete set of regulations coming into force in 1985. The TDG Act, 1992, received Royal Assent on June 23, 1992”.  With that in mind, it becomes easier to grasp how an industry focused on the movement of Oil and Gas products has been at a stand still, and why it needs to change.

Bearing these things in mind, one must wonder how businesses who refuse to adopt digital solutions plan to survive, especially when contrasted against a society that becomes more “touch-less” by the day. What truck needs to be dispatched? Do our units need maintenance? Is this driver over their legal hours of work? These questions, and others like them become significantly more difficult to answer when paper is misplaced, damaged, or lost under a mountain of other paperwork. By stepping into the digital age, businesses become more informed, competitive, socially responsible, and put frankly, work better. And as regulators shift to putting paper in the back seat, processes based solely on paper will be left behind, and become obsolete.

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