Don’t Waste A Good Crisis
Yep, oil prices are still down. With oil below $50/barrel, revenues in the oil exploration business side are nowhere near what they were when oil was at $100/barrel. Many are struggling to stay afloat.
So what do you do?
One of our clients had a great thought. He said, “Don’t waste a good crisis.” What he meant was, while revenues are down, you may find yourself cutting back on your core business. For the exploration guys, this might mean less drilling. Fewer rigs probably means less opportunity to cause incidents associated with drilling. Therefore, your investigation teams are NOT performing as many root cause analyses, and therefore, proficiency drops. Your options are:
1) Stop performing root cause analyses
2) Exercise your investigation teams on other items.
He had mentioned that this is a prime time to do things that you may not have had time to do before. For example, his company is going back to review old incident reports. They’re doing a deep analysis, looking for commonalities and repeat issues. In other words, they are taking this time to improve their processes. When business picks back up, they want to be in even better shape than they were before. They want to be leaner, make fewer mistakes, waste less time, keep their people and the environment safer, and save money.
How many times have you seen companies stumble when they ramp back up? They are less proficient, they’ve let their equipment languish, they’ve let their skills degrade. Suddenly, business picks up. They go through a period of rapid hires, bringing on new people that may or may not still be proficient at their jobs. The investigations teams suddenly find themselves busy, but they, too, have lost their proficiency. Investigations take longer, and they’re not as in-depth. Lots of wasted time, money, reputation, and (worst case) lives.
All of this can be avoided by taking advantage of the down-time. Use your skilled workers to their fullest. I know those engineering teams have sharpened their pencils, looking for better, safer, and cheaper ways of extracting oil. Your investigation teams should be doing exactly the same thing. They should be looking at your processes, finding the repeat failures and incidents, and putting more robust corrective actions in place right now.
Where are the inefficiencies in your processes? What repeat mistakes have your people made in the past, and how can we prevent them from happening again tomorrow, when business is again booming?
I thought that was a great attitude. Don’t waste this great opportunity. Don’t waste a good crisis.
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