Upstream, Downstream, One Voice

Operational excellence (OE) is delivering ROI, but digitalisation holds the key

New survey findings from Petrotechnics, the developer of the hazardous industries’ first operational excellence software platform, reveals that Operational Excellence (OE) remains central to firms’ enterprise-wide strategies and is now delivering tangible results.

This is the second year Petrotechnics has surveyed oil, gas and petrochemical industry professionals to gauge attitudes around OE and measure progress towards its adoption. Nearly all (95%) respondents agree that Operational Excellence requires everyone “from the boardroom to the frontline, to consistently make the most effective operational decisions.” Some 60% of respondents said OE has become more important in the last 12 months compared to 80% in the previous year – meaning OE has become the new normal.

Scott Lehmann, VP Product Management and Marketing at Petrotechnics said, “The last year was a significant phase in the evolution of Operational Excellence. It proved its worth in volatile times. The turbulent oil price put operations to the test, and many companies – to their own surprise – weathered the storm. Now that the price has stabilised, firms can focus on applying the same OE measures more widely to even greater effect. Indeed, Operational Excellence has emerged from the confines of OE departments to become the new enterprise-wide norm.”

Firms leading the way are beginning to see tangible results. For 16%, OE initiatives are delivering a return on investment, and for 10%, it is embedded in the way they work. A commitment to enterprise-wide implementation can achieve valuable rewards, including improved maintenance optimisation (36%) and reduced operational and major accident hazard risk exposure (33%).
While industry leaders are delivering ROI, there remains a huge opportunity for many more firms to follow suit. Nearly half of respondents (44%) say OE is a priority and should be the way they run their business – while 20% state “much more needs to be done.”

When implementing OE initiatives, workplace culture is the single biggest challenge according to 60% of respondents, followed by leadership and management (40%). Mr Lehmann added: “OE initiatives require major change across the entire enterprise, affecting numerous roles and the way many individuals work. Inevitably, there will be resistance to change. Management holds a vital role in leading teams through the transition.” Encouragingly, nearly half of respondents say senior leadership is the most engaged with OE initiatives in their organisations.

Last year, 92% agreed, “technology is an enabler for delivering sustainable Operational Excellence in the hazardous industries.” That sentiment continues this year, with 73% agreeing that, more specifically, “digitisation helps accelerate the ability to deliver sustainable operational excellence.”

Mr Lehmann concludes, “Digital leaders have paved the way for the rest of the industry to follow. They have proved the value of Operational Excellence, and they have demonstrated the power of technology – including its ability to enhance OE frameworks and deliver long-term rewards.”