Maximising business efficiency through all-encompassing processes

For many oilfield services companies, global market opportunities mean international assignments are becoming the rule rather than the exception. Increasingly, people and equipment work on international projects which demand significant attention to logistics, local legislative requirements, payroll, local content rules and so on.

At the same time, customers of oilfield services companies are concerned with the continuing rise in operating costs, and demand that goods and services are provided ever- more cost-effectively – exerting pressure on margins and profitability.

For many organisations, their ability to address the challenges outlined above is compromised by internal IT systems which are simply not up to the job.

Traditional, generic management systems already struggle to deal effectively with the complexities of the oil and gas business. Add to this the fact that different parts of the business in different locations often use different systems it is not difficult to understand why it can be a struggle to bring together the vital information necessary to support successful international project assignments.

The result of these issues is higher costs, lower productivity and greater potential for human error.  This disjointed approach to managing people, suppliers, equipment and billing is putting operations and businesses at risk.

A single integrated system is the key to having the right people, with the right equipment, in the right part of the world with the right certifications at the right time – at a profit.

Integrated software packages such as SAP allow companies, from medium-sized enterprise to major oilfield service and drilling companies, to increase efficiency across the board. The resultant improvements in information distribution and reporting support management decision-making and aid delivery of more effective services to their client base.

The Advantage Oil & Gas for Oilfield Services System, which is based on SAP best practice, was developed by Absoft in response to requests from the industry for a solution capable of aligning human resources planning, equipment order and delivery, certification, payroll, billing streams and more.

Advantage provides a complete picture of these operations and facilitates complex planning, taking into account very specific issues related to people, supply chain and equipment handling.

For example the solution is able to communicate any effects that a delay to a trained staff member or certificated piece of equipment coming on site could have on the next phase of a project. As well as tracking people, Advantage is able to track materials and equipment from the vendor to the yard and onward to projects, improving asset utilisation and management of third party equipment.

It maximises the use of both human resources and equipment while reducing the cost of management and maximising revenue by capturing all billable work. Crucially, in the global oil and gas marketplace, it enables companies to have a standardised process across their world-wide operations.

Programmed with local standards for more than 45 countries worldwide, Advantage ensures legal compliance and reporting requirements are met in the UK and overseas. It simplifies and unifies the onerous tasks of scheduling and tracking workforce movements, handling industry-specific workforce events, such as the registration and maintenance of regular and irregular shift patterns and mass crew rota changes.

Routine daily tasks such as completion of timesheets and work progress logs are also integrated into the system to ensure that billing is accurate.

Advantage can be accessed at the worksite, ensuring that urgent updates on the status of a piece of work can be made if an issue arises – in turn allowing appropriate action to be planned and executed to keep the work on schedule.

The integrated system provides a clear, unified overview of operations and allows them to maintain profitability. Detailed cost planning, tracking and reporting procedures mean service companies can prove competence during both tender and work phases.

Absoft recently implemented the SAP HR solution using the Advantage implementation methodology and tools for a major international oil and gas company, migrating all of its data from a legacy system to SAP in harmony with the company’s other global business units.

The data transfer included sensitive personnel information for more than 500 employees located across the UK including principal bases in Aberdeen and London, making complete and secure transfer crucial to the implementation.

Moving all employee data to the SAP system allows for the future implementation of the Advantage system’s wider HCM elements, including personnel cost planning, appraisal tracking and competency mapping.

Centralising data from disparate systems into SAP is fundamental to Advantage, as this allows its components to be used across global regions, handling regional variations such as currency or legislative requirements in a single package.

As the data is held in SAP, the client has the capability to add further modules in the knowledge that all of the data required is available within the system in use when new processes, such as personnel cost planning, are being enabled.

The client's primary aim was to bring its UK system into line with its global implementation of SAP across its business operations and this has now been successfully completed.

Central to the implementation was knowledge transfer, as Absoft’s team trained the client’s IT management group and the business to ensure ongoing administration could be taken forward on-site. Absoft continues to provide additional support when required.

The ability to share the necessary knowledge and training on the ongoing development of the system was a key aspect of Absoft’s service, which helped them to clinch the deal at competitive tender.

Absoft's oil and gas team continues to engage with the sector to discuss and investigate potential solutions to challenges they face in their daily work – including quarterly forums specifically aimed at oil sector employees working in supply chain, operations and maintenance.

SAP is used by a significant number of energy companies and providing an arena where participants can discuss good practice and topical issues is already helping businesses to make the most of their investment in the system.

The sessions have also allowed Absoft to continue to develop additional capabilities within the software which reflect the industry's needs.