Inspectioneering Journal

How to Pivot Your Program During an Economic Downturn

By Lewis Makin, VP of Solutions and Marketing at Pinnacle. This article appears in the May/June 2020 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


As the oil and gas industry slowly begins its long journey back to recovery, facilities are continuing to look for areas they can immediately reduce costs without negatively impacting their programs in the future. Additionally, decision makers are having to quickly decide where to invest the remainder of their severely diminished budgets and are having to make these decisions based on the data they have access to. Often, this data does not identify the areas of their program that have the greatest impact on their overall facility performance and can cause facilities to invest in activities that do not directly provide value to the facility.  

Identifying initiatives that reduce short-term costs while having a positive, long-term impact on a program can be very challenging for plant management. However, despite the recent challenges that the oil and gas industry has faced over the past couple of months, facilities have the unique opportunity to assess, optimize, and improve their programs. This article will provide three areas plant management can focus on to pivot their program during an economic downturn:

  1. Evaluate facility culture and embrace potential change
  2. Build strong, data-driven processes to drive decision making
  3. Pursue excellence and focus on measuring quantifiable value

Evaluate Facility Culture and Embrace Potential Change

When evaluating which areas of a program to invest in during an economic downturn, facilities should first evaluate their culture and embrace any potential changes that may need to occur. Historically, many facilities have relied on tribal knowledge and the mindset of “that’s the way we’ve always done things” to drive processes and decision making. Decision makers with this mindset can hinder the potential success of their program because they often do not see the need to make necessary changes to current processes, procedures, and tools. Often, plant managers develop this mindset because they do not know how certain changes will impact their program in the future. However, given the current environment of the oil and gas industry, now is the best time for facilities to implement changes.

To begin, facilities should evaluate their company vision and goals. A company vision serves as a guiding force for the overall organization. Facilities should be able to tie each and every goal to the overall company vision. Having a strong company vision that ties to facility goals will help plant managers measure the strength of their goals and will also coordinate their risks and opportunities across multiple teams.

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