It starts with chatter around the workplace. A company is growing. Procedures that were once “nice to have” are now serious money bleeds. That is exactly what Certis found when they revamped a major E&P subsidiary’s communication procedures.
When an oil and gas company plants itself in any nation to explore for business opportunities, its communications with the nation’s government and with its JV partners can be, understandably, informal for the early stages of the project. As the company moves from Exploration and Appraisal phases towards a full fledge Development and Operation, what once worked with lax communications becomes a risky endeavor.
While these risks can be underplayed next to health and safety hazards, we discovered they warranted immediate action if the company is to survive long term. Consider these two real situations, to name a few:
1) Sensitive information leaks, for example, at early stages of exploration efforts, any discovery would have a large impact on a company’s stock price (if public) and serious implications on their competitor’s behavior.
2) Growing companies’ watch millions of dollars become billions of dollars almost overnight. Those large dollar amounts require complete technical data and timely communications to appease the government and the JV partner. The flow of information becomes crucial.
Knowing something is broken isn’t the same as understanding how it is broken and how to fix it.
Most employees can feel the weak spots in their company. When you start to sense problems, the cost of fixing them seems outlandish. But overtime the scales tip. Often, when the scales tip, the problem has grown to overwhelming proportions for employees to handle alone.
The scale had long ago tipped for this client. Our team’s role was to quickly identify causes of communication problems, and orchestrate a long-term plan and processes to mitigate risks.
Over a period of few weeks, we surveyed the office, field, and rigs in two different continents. We went through a full cycle of process improvement. At the end we were able to divide their information communications needs into four process categories: 1) Documents and Data Management 2) Decisions Documentation 3) Security and Access Management 4) Request Management.
Our plan started with ‘Quick Wins’ that changed the way the subsidiary did business in the first month. Imagine being able to institute relevant changes in your company in one month. Yes, it was that easy to solve. The rest of the implementation plan spanned over 4 months. Communication policies, standards and procedures were to be defined and complied to across the organization.
We all know that the cost of fixing is cheap compared to the cost of cleaning up a huge mess later.
The costs of missed opportunities, reduced stock prices, or the cost of million-dollar lawsuits make this kind of projects important, combine that with the relevant low fixing cost, makes this project a “high” priority.
I believe a company needs to do more than simply comply with government or JV partner contracts. To build strong relationships, you must be able to readily prove your compliance. That’s just good business.
Our client’s new transparent business practices allow the government to view them as a serious and trusted part of the country’s future. It is impossible to put a price on a valued relationship. But successful business people know that gaining trust means big business over time.
What about your company? Is it starting to feel the risks of outdated communication systems?