Case Study

Fast rollout for an integrated oil co.

Helping an oil company develop a new OEMS and implement a culture of operational discipline to unlock progress

The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico rightfully triggered concern across the oil and gas industry. Our client, a fully integrated oil company, recognized the need for a management system and culture transformation to prevent a similar accident, and had embarked on the journey, but had made little progress on either front. They turned to WP&C to help unlock progress.

Not only did our client have dozens of assets and facilities around the world, but they were also the product of a recent merger of two large, established organizations each with their own ways of doing things and their own cultures. Initial attempts to develop and implement an Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) to set forth standards of how work will be done was met with resistance—why should organizations that had previously been successful change the way they operate? Beyond internal resistance to change, the new OEMS the internal team was implementing did not successfully consolidate and harmonize the components of the other management systems (safety, environmental, quality, etc.) it was taking the place of. This led to a bloated, often confusing, OEMS that further hindered adoption.

Pulling from our deep experience in the development and implementation of OEMSs, the first step for the WP&C team was to conduct a thorough review of the existing OEMS to identify gaps and overlaps. We also conducted surveys and workshops to establish a baseline for the current culture and how it varied across the organization and between levels of management. We found the existing culture rewarded results with no emphasis on the manner in which those results were achieved—people were encouraged to work outside existing processes to get things done.

 As the organization was content with its existing performance and did not see a need to integrate between the two previous companies, we knew a case for change would need to be made to drive adoption of the new OEMS and cultural behaviors.

Based on the review of the existing OEMS, we helped our client revise their existing OEMS to be a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive collection of the core management processes needed to run the business. Additionally, we worked with the executive team to define the behaviors the organization needed to embody to achieve Operational Discipline and follow the processed outlined in the OEMS.

 To drive the necessary adoption of the OEMS and change in behaviors, we developed an interactive case study based on the Deepwater Horizon tragedy that highlighted how BPs team thought they had the right procedures and behaviors in place. By putting the client’s team in the shoes of the BP staff we could provide the burning platform and sense of unease needed to drive change.

The company’s OEMS and culture efforts quickly bore fruit and helped them avoid becoming the next BP--leadership at one of our client’s largest refineries pointed to the revised OEMS processes and Operational Discipline as key drivers in the prevention of a loss-of-containment incident that could have harmed employees, created a significant environmental impact, and cost the company several days of lost production.

 The Deepwater Horizon case study and training package was delivered to 2000+ personnel from the executive team to front-line leaders. And with it came a newfound appreciation for the need to standardize around the best practices defined in the OEMS and adopt a culture of operational discipline. After a 6-month roll-out, we saw the understanding and support within the leadership ranks grow from 30% to 80%.

Not only did our client have dozens of assets and facilities around the world, but they were also the product of a recent merger of two large, established organizations each with their own ways of doing things and their own cultures. Initial attempts to develop and implement an Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) to set forth standards of how work will be done was met with resistance—why should organizations that had previously been successful change the way they operate? Beyond internal resistance to change, the new OEMS the internal team was implementing did not successfully consolidate and harmonize the components of the other management systems (safety, environmental, quality, etc.) it was taking the place of. This led to a bloated, often confusing, OEMS that further hindered adoption.

Pulling from our deep experience in the development and implementation of OEMSs, the first step for the WP&C team was to conduct a thorough review of the existing OEMS to identify gaps and overlaps. We also conducted surveys and workshops to establish a baseline for the current culture and how it varied across the organization and between levels of management. We found the existing culture rewarded results with no emphasis on the manner in which those results were achieved—people were encouraged to work outside existing processes to get things done.

 As the organization was content with its existing performance and did not see a need to integrate between the two previous companies, we knew a case for change would need to be made to drive adoption of the new OEMS and cultural behaviors.

Based on the review of the existing OEMS, we helped our client revise their existing OEMS to be a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive collection of the core management processes needed to run the business. Additionally, we worked with the executive team to define the behaviors the organization needed to embody to achieve Operational Discipline and follow the processed outlined in the OEMS.

 To drive the necessary adoption of the OEMS and change in behaviors, we developed an interactive case study based on the Deepwater Horizon tragedy that highlighted how BPs team thought they had the right procedures and behaviors in place. By putting the client’s team in the shoes of the BP staff we could provide the burning platform and sense of unease needed to drive change.

The company’s OEMS and culture efforts quickly bore fruit and helped them avoid becoming the next BP--leadership at one of our client’s largest refineries pointed to the revised OEMS processes and Operational Discipline as key drivers in the prevention of a loss-of-containment incident that could have harmed employees, created a significant environmental impact, and cost the company several days of lost production.

 The Deepwater Horizon case study and training package was delivered to 2000+ personnel from the executive team to front-line leaders. And with it came a newfound appreciation for the need to standardize around the best practices defined in the OEMS and adopt a culture of operational discipline. After a 6-month roll-out, we saw the understanding and support within the leadership ranks grow from 30% to 80%.

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