It is often said that knowledge is power. But in high-risk sectors, such as the marine and oil and gas industries, knowledge is fundamental to even more important things: safety and reliability. Hard won through experience, knowledge is the difference between profitable operations and unreliable equipment at risk of failure from factors such as corrosion, human error, and fluctuating operating conditions.
The problem is that it is becoming more difficult than ever for companies to retain that critical knowledge and experience within their organizational memory. An aging workforce means a more dynamic job market, with engineers more likely to hop between companies. Increased merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and a common inability to retain talent also contribute to the decline of a settled workforce that can accumulate and pass on organizational knowledge over many years.
Furthermore, new technologies promise to change working practices and, therefore, change the nature of skills and knowledge that tomorrow's operators will need. This leaves asset operators to maintain a delicate balancing act: retaining/capturing invaluable knowledge of the past and making it usable and useful, so that future works can build on this knowledge to more rapidly improve productivity.
Technology, specifically asset performance management (APM) solutions (and especially those with a focus on risk, reliability and optimization aspects and mitigation strategies) will be central to owner/operators as they enter a new era of organizational memory.
Retain and maintain. In the energy sector, the looming "great crew change" is a considerable source of anxiety. An aging workforce, coupled with a spate of early retirements during the downturn, leaves the industry reliant on fewer and fewer seasoned experts for their years of knowledge and experience. Even if a huge influx of young workers were to come into the sector tomorrow, comprehensive knowledge...