A new emphasis has been put on the importance of workforce management in the Oil and Gas industry over the past couple of years. As competition grows and oil and gas companies seek alternative energy sources, optimized and automated workforce management and field resource management has become essential. These companies face a myriad of problems on a day to day basis; on a global scale they face the diminishment of natural resources, on an organizational scale they face the challenges behind centralizing operations, managing risk, hiring, and maintaining safety.
Unlike the typical field service organization, Oil and Gas organizations run into the complexity of having to organize multiple types of resources. Personnel, crews, and equipment of all different types need to be scheduled to ensure production runs smoothly and costs stay low. This is where workforce management software comes into play. Workforce management software or field service management software automates and streamlines the process behind assigning and scheduling tasks, field resources, and equipment, taking the guesswork and human error out of the equation. Most workforce management solutions offer seamless integration into an organization’s pre-existing backend applications and provide a direct connection between the field service operations and the rest of the business.
However, as the demand for workforce management software within the Oil and Gas industry grows, vendors face new challenges to meet these demands and provide solutions that tailor to this industry’s very specific needs. Here are some of the challenges that come with field service operations in oil and gas that vendors need to take into account in order to make a successful solution:
Different Workforce/Workflow Process
Most field service management solution providers get their start in the utility and telco industries. These industries have relatively easy business patterns and processes to automate. Oil and Gas on the other hand has entirely different processes, patterns, regulations, and assets to track. The same mold cannot be used to develop the best solution.
Long Duration Jobs
Unlike meter readings or cable setup visits, Oil and Gas has long duration jobs that can last weeks or months. These however must run simultaneously with shorter jobs such as equipment delivery. The key is to optimize all jobs and tasks that utilize the right assets and the right times and reduce if not eliminate gaps or decifiencies caused by unexpected hindrances.
Security and Safety
The Oil and Gas industry has specific regulations in place to protect their workers, regulations that must be taken into consideration by an automated and optimized schedule, forecast, etc. These regulations include the length of shifts, the training required for specific jobs, and more. This adds a level of complexity to an automated scheduling solution, because an algorithm must term which assets are right for which jobs/tasks to ensure compliance.
Remote Locations (No Connectivity)
Vendors must also take into consideration how they are going to accommadate remote locations such as offshore drilling rigs. Will they disable the automated scheduling feature? Provide guidance on creating and maintaining a manual schedule? Or solve the connectivity issue all together?
Most Oil and Gas organizations span multiple countries and locations. In order to truly provide global visibility of the business, incorporating all locations of oilfield resources, crews, and equipment, a viable workforce management solution must easily share information between buiness units. This means the solution must be adaptable and translatable.
So what’s in store for Oil and Gas and workforce management solutions in the future? For one you can definitely expect new solutions to pop up that are built directly for the industry. Existing vendors who want to step up their game will spend valuable R&D resources on making their solutions tailor to Oil and Fas. And you can also expect to see the competition heat up, not just between workforce management solution providers, but also between Oil and Gas companies, first within the U.S. and then globally. What’s the bottom line? The Oil and Gas industry is adapting to the changing technological climate with help from workforce management solutions. Those that don’t will be left behind.
Are you an Oil and Gas organization looking to implement a workforce management solution? We can help. Find out more about our consulting and implementation services below.