What is “innovation”?We see it as an overused term and an underutilized strategy especially in certain business sectors. What was the last new product or service your organization developed? Are you still using paper invoices and Excel spreadsheets to manage processes?
In the September 2016 edition of Digital Oilfield, Outlook Report, the legendary Calgary oilman Jim Gray, recognized the lack of innovation and technology application in the oil and gas sector:
“We must, as others have observed, innovate and adapt on an urgent schedule.” (JWN, Glacier Media, Inc., 2016, p. 11).
“Little or no innovation was occurring at $100/bbl [price of oil]. Now, at roughly $35/bbl, everyone is innovating and working diligently to reduce costs and remain relevant. … In this increasingly complex and competitive global market, we simply have to improve our recent performance.” (JWN, Glacier Media, Inc., 2016, p. 25)
Yet many companies do not invest in innovative technologies.
COPQ Example: Manual and Inaccurate UWI Tank Information
|What’s the matter with this picture?|
A Unique Well Identifier (UWI) is a key data element used in many processes in the oil business such as royalty reporting, inventory tracking and truck transportation management. The orange paint UWI label is malformed but still is used by truckers on their bills of lading. Unless corrected later in the various processes, this will cause a 100% error rate leading to regulatory fines and could lead to incorrect transportation rates among other costly issues. Correcting these errors are time consuming and expensive for everyone in the supply chain. A simple correct and clear sign would help solve the issue but still requires manual input which is has a typical 2%-5% error rate.
How could innovation and technology solve this issue?
The reasons are as many as the companies who have not invested. However, one common theme is “no cost justification.” The problem is what is meant by “cost justification.”
When costs are only looked at in terms of labour reduction, it can be truly hard to justify technology or process change investments. The trouble is, that labour cost reductions are often dwarfed by the cost of poor quality (COPQ). COPQ is often hidden but very real and almost always overlooked as a “cost justification”.
Let us talk to you about how to increase profits by reducing COPQ.
Process Automation & Electronic Data Interchange
Too many processes are still “physical” paper or “electronic” paper based. These processes rely on manual, repetitive and error prone data entry. Unlike the rail industry, the trucking industry is one that still relies very heavily on paper systems for all kinds of processes from bills of lading to proof of delivery receipts. Many companies still send paper invoices in large measure because so few companies have the ability to process true electronic invoices.
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems tend to be looked at only as engineering systems yet they hold a wealth of commercially applicable data. SCADA systems are often not integrated into commercial processes. Often data from these systems are in the form of a paper printout or a digital screen readout that has to be manually entered into the business system(s).
Let us talk to you about true electronic data interchange (EDI) and process automation and integration.
IT Project Management & Expert Systems
Expert Logistics System: Integrated Enterprise Management
|One example is an expert logistics and enterprise management system we designed to manage the flow of crude oil from the wellhead to final destination. (Click image to enlarge).|
This system integrated SCADA, remote tablets, AEI tag readers and several external business systems (rail, customs, regulatory reporting) via EDI and other electronic communications. While the illustration is about crude oil, any commodity could be managed.
When companies look to purchase or develop computer systems they often look at transaction based and disjointed systems that provide a lot of data in the form of reports or inquiry screens. This data requires human experts to interpret and act upon.
Our approach is to develop expert systems that institutionalize human expertise within the system and integrates with internal and external systems.
Let us help you build or acquire your own integrated expert system.
Intellectual Property, Patents & SRED
Intellectual property is very valuable but companies often don’t recognize that their ideas form their sustainable competitive advantage. Patents are one way of protecting intellectual property but many companies think that patent only apply to widgets – physical things. But, processes can also be patented like this one.
Sometimes intellectual property may have been developed through research that may qualify for Canadian Scientific Research and Development (SRED) grant money and/or tax credits.
Let us help you with patent ideas and SRED applications.