Five key features to look for in an oil and gas ERP

While many assume that the oil and gas sectors look like ‘any other’ industrial business, when it comes to ERP operations specific elements must apply. There are host of reasons for these differences, but in the main, they are related to critical sensitivities associated with real-time management, the particular densities of business compliances, and a rapid ability to leverage external apps after the fact.

Consequently, here are five key features that must apply to any ERP platform in use by oil and gas companies.     

1. Real-time hard and soft asset control

Asset controls in the oil and gas sectors are critical to efficient operations. This is due to comprehensive dependencies involving integrated search R&D and operations, acquisition, development, transshipment, and refinement. Within this constellation, myriad software, hardware, and industrial components such as heavy-life vehicles, rigs, piping and more interact to define and deliver a final product. As a result of this nest of requirements, some ERP platforms are unable to deal with these elements efficiently - make sure potential vendors are up to scratch in this area.

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2. Active TQM/QA processing

Constant improvement requires constant quality assurance, and this axiom plays a particular part in oil and gas sectors. In these business segments, unlike other more static commercial endeavors, R&D drives production, so ‘improvement’ is always a central operating driver due to the enormous opportunity costs associated with converting raw, fossil-based materials, into one or more final energy products. Consequently, the QA element is equally important since the products themselves require assurance validations throughout the entire supply-chain. Many vanilla ERP platforms are simply unable to maintain, so be careful to look for this particular checkpoint whenever you’re investigating a O/G platform.   

3. Thin systems integrations

This value point typically applies to the speed of operations; so if you find that a particular ERP platform is difficult to integrate third-party components with a core ERP platform, you probably looking at the wrong system. Again, opportunity costs relating to oil and gas sectors are enormous, so you don’t want to find yourself being slowed down by one or more balky affiliate components. Time is money, and with oil and gas time is more critical than others.  

4. Active compliance and policy management

This feature set is really where some ERP platforms perform like stars, when others don’t. The oil and gas sectors are highly regulated, with hosts of Federal, State, and Tribal rules being applied quarter-over-quarter. Over time, these clusters of regulations and policy-sets have become nests of inefficiency that tend to weigh O/G operations. Nevertheless, many exist in perpetuity and as a result, ERP platforms that can deal with more efficiency than others become critical validation points.    

5. Standardized data processes

In the same way that regulations and levels of process efficiency apply to oil and gas operations, the ability to leverage standardized processes that maintain an ERP datastore becomes equally important. This is a matter of opportunity costs, on top of the costs of downstream maintenance, since standardized systems suggests better long-term stability at lower cost, where the inverse condition clearly costs more over time. In the event, the core system itself shouldn’t be the only area of investigation, however, but also the validation of any affiliate, utility, or third-party component since, once integrated, these components can either streamline or obstruct the final performance of the system.

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton