Highly Mobile Workforces Impact Productivity
Natural Resources industries such as mining and oil and gas have highly mobile workforces. With workers in roles such as engineering and geology often transferring between sites every few years, or joining new companies entirely, sustaining employee productivity is not evident. Often by the time they join a new site, the person(s) who knew how processes were executed have left the site.
Whether working in a natural resources industry or not, everyone has experienced some of the chaos that occurs when joining a new organization. It can be daunting when left alone to figure out where things are, where data is located, and who is responsible for different tasks (and when), and how to execute their own job tasks. Sometimes procedures are documented, sometimes they are not. If they are documented, the material becomes quickly outdated. As a result, new employees will try and invent their own processes from scratch over time; any best practice established at the site is lost along with consistency in execution.
The need for operational stability means that anything companies can do to better enable and support new employees will better ensure the continuity of performance. On the job training helps, of course, when it is available, but with fewer workers, sustained support is difficult to maintain.
Workflow-enabled Platforms Sustain Operational Productivity
Today’s technology can help sustaining employee productivity. Workflow-enabled platforms make it possible to capture, define and publish workflows, allowing them to be made consistent and repeatable. Workflows are assignable to role types and specific individuals. Engineering and geological models are part of the same platform as the workflows and the data required to execute tasks is connected directly to the modeling tools used by the workers. Essentially, the how, when, with what, and when are all interconnected to each other.
A complete chain of execution, based on roles, can be created, with automated notifications as to when a task has been completed or is pending. This allows the status of each task to known, allowing for review and approval of each along the way, if desired. Review and approval assignments can allow senior workers to check the work of employees, even if they are not located at the same sight, to ensure a task has been executed correctly and the right outcome achieved. As an additional benefit, data used in each process will be the latest version, reducing errors and rework.
Given that the drive toward ever greater operational stability, and ultimately excellence, processes and workflows will change over time. Platform-based workflows enable change to be implemented and rolled out rapidly. The updated workflows and tasks will be executed consistently from the start, sustaining employee productivity despite changes.
With the graying of natural resources workers in mining and oil and gas, workflow enabled platforms allow the decades of best practice knowledge these workers have acquired to be captured before it disappears from organizations. This is not only important in supporting the next generation of workers, but is also a necessity given increased social pressures to hire workers locally who may not be as experienced. With workflow-assisted execution, new workers can contribute effectively and consistently as soon as they join a new site.
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