3 Rules to Work By that Fly in the Face of Drilling Industry Challenges

The global economy is kind of like an elementary school playground at recess. Small groups of people huddle together to share their time, knowledge, and marbles. Ok, it’s 2016, maybe they’re not sharing marbles, but whether they’re sharing snacks, toys, or innovative techniques, it’s easy to compare this dynamic with that on a global scale.

For years nations all over the world have adopted trade agreements like NAFTA to facilitate international cooperation on the basis of mutually dependant goals while barricading trade with non-participating groups. 

Some trade agreements withstand the test of time and the politicizing of goods and services. Some agreements evaporate faster than a country can be shaken down for its lunch money.

New trade patterns are just one of the challenges the drilling industry and the oil and gas sector are faced with in today’s turbulent economy. What works one day might not work the next as corporations are forced to come to grips with fluctuating oil prices.

The other major challenges?

Read more about the oil industry’s challenges.

Drilling industry challenges aren’t a new development by any stretch, but the only way to succumb to these challenges is to let them control us. Well, we’ve got good news: you’re in charge.

Here’s three ways to keep working productively while the economy sorts itself out.

1. Work for Improvement, Not Wealth

The last thing on earth you should ignore during an economic downturn is your finances, right?

No, that’s crazy, what are you talking about?

Yes, you should worry about your finances, but there’s a lot of things at stake here if that worry threatens to take over. The quickest way to either drive yourself crazy or drive your company out of business is to focus exclusively on all the money you’re not making. Face it, the days of grossly overspending just to speed up the work are over. You’re not going to make as much money during this stretch, so stop worrying about the extra time you’re putting in and do the best you can to create the best work possible.

Time is often equated with money which makes our industry rush to get things done. Well, this is a great time to focus on making your product better rather than maximizing your return.

2. Invest in Growth

On second thought, while you’re not worrying about your finances, divert some of those finances into potential new growth. There are so many different ways to grow your company outside of selling your products or services.

  • Attend a conference
  • Boost your social media presence
  • Buy a new machine capable of new work
  • Combine forces with a related industry or company
  • Train yourself or your staff in new methods or new technology

Or, you can simply grow your team and do more work. This certainly flies in the face of the drilling industry’s challenges, and while we don’t want you to run your company into the ground, for some it’s beneficial to delegate responsibilities.

3. Borrow Perspective

One of the most important ways in which we’ve mitigated the impact of the economy’s struggles is by simply putting ourselves into our customers’ shoes. Just like strolling around a playground, the drilling industry is filled with hard-working men and women who are left to the whims of their environment. It can be frustrating, depressing, and downright scary.

The more you talk with others in your field, the more you’ll understand their specific challenges.

Why is that important?

Because the more you understand, the better equipped you’ll be to help out; and probably at a bargain, too.

Look, in all honesty, it’s impossible not to worry about your income, your company’s earnings or, ultimately, the roof over your head.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

What To Do While You’re Waiting For Oil Prices to Rebound

“Crude oil, or “black gold,” is one of the world’s most precious commodities: its price affects the economic ecosystem at every level, from family budgets to corporate earnings to the nation’s GDP.”

That’s Prableen Bajpal, a chartered financial analyst and the founder of FinFix, a financial research and training facility in India. For Bajpal, it’s important to understand the various factors that affect the price of oil. From news cycle responses that fuel one perspective or another to policy changes in governments in every corner of the world, the fluctuation in oil prices can be traced back to a multitude of factors.

Since the summer of 2014, oil prices have been steadily shrinking, which occurred at the end of a “four-year phase of price stability” where crude oil rested at around $105 per barrel.

Well, the days of $105 barrels of oil seem like a distant past as well as, hopefully, a future as well.

But in the meantime, it’s up to you, the original equipment manufacturer, the machine dealer, the drilling engineer, to weather the storm.


Reassign Your People

For thousands of out-of-work men and women accustomed to opportunities galore in the oil and gas industry, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you’re told you’re no longer needed. For years we’ve seen skilled labour and proficient technical skills put to work on a variety of projects. The only problem with these focused skill-sets is that they have a tendency to exclude other skills.

For instance, maybe you’re an expert machine operator, but you struggle with organization. Or perhaps you’re an excellent communicator, but you’re using outdated methods that could be improved.

If it’s safe to do so, assign your people to different areas instead of ditching the work you might think can only be done by a new hire. Data entry, scheduling, inventory – some of these tasks might be foreign to people under your employ, but they’ll gladly give it a try if it means holding on to their job.

Offer More Value Than You Cost

One of the biggest keys to unlocking the economic downturn is to return to the roots by which you originally found success without worrying about income at the end of the day.

This might sound crazy, but the more we focus on the results we want to see in our corner of the industry, the less likely we’re to see those results come to fruition.

The drilling industry, forestry, construction – they’re about building solutions that enrich and improve lives. Somewhere along the line, probably when the price of a barrel of oil soared beyond $100, we forgot the simple fact that our careers exists to provide a service. The days of throwing money at hurdles placed in our path are over, and that means we need to back up our promises with good old fashioned hard work and creative, cost-friendly solutions. If you’re selling something, then you’d better make sure your buyer will receive something of great value or importance.

Because if you can create more value than you cost, then you’ll have a job for life.

Next week we’ll drill deeper into the realities of the current oil economy, specifically as they relate to what we believe is the most important tool of all when it comes to creating value out of thin air: communication.