Over the past 20 plus years of my career, I have had the opportunity and privilege to design, support, implement, and sell enterprise drilling and production management systems to over 70 companies in the US. After you have chosen the software to manage your data, the success of your production system implementation will depend a commitment to planning and execution throughout all stages of the process.
1. Assign the right people with the right skills and passion for the project
Having the right people assigned to a project is crucial. It is important that the internal leaders understand what the production system will provide and what technical skills and training will be needed to work with the vendor throughout this process.
Each team member needs to have working knowledge of how products are measured and produced in the field, and understand the process flow from production to final sales. The measurements for oil, gas and water should have consistent standards set for gathering and reporting the data. The field personnel will have changes that occur in their daily processes, and must be taught to adhere to the new system. By being passionate about the ultimate results, and willing to learn the fundamentals of your new system, you will be well on your way to success.
2. Obtain buy-in and support from executive management
A clear vision and mission statement by executive levels will impact any project. Often times that commitment becomes beneficial in pushing through bottlenecks that may occur for a variety of reasons.
3. Gather and organize all required data elements prior to the project
- Get a listing of all facilities and wells and their defining attributes (Section, Township, Range, County, State, Field, District, route, pumper, accounting code, API number, etc.) and put them in a spreadsheet for complete data cleansing prior to upload.
- Get a listing of all tanks, meters, LACT meters, orifice meters, fuel meters, etc. and note what they are measuring and which well or facility that they are associated with.
- Record carefully which wells contribute to sales at which facility, and any other product measured at the facility which will need to allocate back to the well (such as gas flared, gas used, oil sold etc.).
4. Build your success incrementally
The best understanding of a solution comes when team members work for success on a few groups of assets, then progress to others with a growing understanding of the software. Select a route or area that makes sense with the personnel involved, and work through the entire process. Discover any processes that need to change, and document those you wish to repeat. Generate vital reports and deliver them to the people who will use them. This will begin to give your project momentum. Work through your cyclical processes for each day, and then for the month, to insure that all procedures are being covered.
5. Don’t overload people with other responsibilities
I have seen projects fail because the lead person in a company is overloaded, needs to learn the new product, make the transition, and complete other responsibilities as well. Be sure to have enough staff assigned to the details, and if necessary have some of the work contracted out. Dedicated focus on the project will speed the project and reduce cost.
6. Know the software
The operations company needs to commit to manage the software internally. Setting aside time and budget to train all departments and users will make sure that you are able to sustain the new system, and utilize it fully. This knowledge will provide momentum as the progress makes its way. Your goal should be that the vendor begins to take a secondary role to internal resources as the project progresses toward completion. The best training will make sure that multiple people within your company are capable of maintaining the processes.
7. Customize the software after the implementation
Often, requests for customization needs come prior to a company fully utilizing what is available. It is a good practice to utilize the software and configure it to its fullest extent in live usage before requesting customizations that could throw the overall progress off course. Many times this patience helps the customer realize features that already exist, mitigating the need for customization.
The best success stories in nearly all commercial grade products can be attributed to good principals in implementation, leading to great results. Pattern yourself after these successes. You’ll find that failures and obstacles are frequently the result of neglecting the above stated processes. Make your implementation successful by being intentional about each step.