Petroleum products and supply chains possess the potential for failure at every stage of development. When new products are being launched, mitigation of these mishaps depends on quality protection control flows already in place. In this post we examine the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) method for creating a structured process for ensuring customer satisfaction and better products.
Customer Needs Come First
Consultants commonly use customer stats and profiling techniques to determine how their needs translate into product characteristics/requirements, and before APQP can be implemented, these needs are identification goal #1. With a new focus on sustainability and industry wide collaboration, customer specifications will steer the product development process clear of too much indecision and mistakes along the supply chain path. Don't hesitate to use customer feedback and validation to complete design reviews as well.
These methods have been around for decades, under the name advanced quality planning (AQP). This process can enhance product planning efforts, making the primary goal of product quality planning collaboration and communication between different engineering teams. This interaction will rely on a Cross Functional Team (CFT) planning that combines marketing, procurement, product review, manufacturing and distribution expertise to create a quality product.
Design within process capabilities. The first several sections of APQP mandate intense planning and prevention objectives, making up 80% of the APQP process. It is in this way that the APQP process supports the never ending pursuit of consistent improvement. The fourth and fifth parts, support the remaining 20% of APQP and focus on validation and evidence.
One of the key advantages of APQP is identification of change early on the in process and avoidance of late changes. Design reviews are formal reviews conducted during the development of a product to assure that the needs, concepts, and product process satisfies the requirements of that stage of development.
For more information on how Accupoint can improve your product quality planning process, contact us today.
Your company's ability to promptly respond to your customers' needs hinges in great part upon your suppliers' efficiency. While price should always be a key consideration when evaluating suppliers, there are other factors that also should be considered. Below are five supplier evaluation best practices to help ensure that you select a capable, top-notch supplier.
1) Assess the supplier's resources and scalability. A supplier should have the manpower, tools, and facilities to support your company's continued growth. Additionally, the suppliers you choose should be able to handle large orders or requests without significant delays.
2) Visit the supplier's operations. A live visit to a supplier's headquarters can be an eye-opening experience. Ideally, you should choose suppliers with clean, well-illuminated, organized facilities. Equipment should be well maintained and employees should demonstrate keen attention to safety protocol.
3) Ask suppliers to outline their quality control procedures. Quality control procedures are vital to ensuring that products undergo a thorough inspection prior to dispatch. A good way to assess a supplier's commitment to quality control procedures is to find out if the supplier conducts internal audits on a regular basis.
4) Request references. A robust collection of glowing references from legitimate clients is a great indicator of a supplier's ability to meet your needs. Make sure that you contact each reference provided and ask whether the supplier was able to deliver products in accordance with cited promise dates.
5) Verify the supplier's certifications and accreditations. Industry certifications indicate that a supplier demonstrates a commitment to continued quality improvement and consistency in operations. Ideally, suppliers should possess ISO 9001 certification and Accredited Company Training Schemes (ACTS).
We invite you to contact us to learn more about our supply chain management solutions. We can help you separate the most accomplished suppliers from those that may not have the resources to promptly respond to your needs. We look forward to helping you expand your supplier network!
In today's world of data that shifts more quickly than any one person can keep track of, document control is a pre-eminent concern. Oilfields need to keep track of equipment inventories, data on personnel, and all information related to operations over various spans of time. Losing track of this information can range from problematic to catastrophic, but potentially even worse is a situation where multiple versions of the same data exist without the ability to easily tell which is most recent, or most relevant to the situation at hand.
Thus, a well-run oilfield needs a control of documents program to help keep everything in line. With proper document control, companies don't need excess worker-hours to keep all their paperwork in order. Is there an endless string of spreadsheets due to constant updating? The most recent one is always available, with clearly dated backups available as well. Are documents with necessary information shifting and changing as they pass through the hands of people who keep including further data? You always know which one is the latest, and who has had a chance to alter it as well. Relevant personnel files getting juggled as workers move on and off the field to start or finish their work periods? You'll always know who's coming in and leaving with a strong system of automated document control, eliminating the human errors in small matters that are so easy to make but so troublesome when they happen.
If you need better document control at your oilfields, contact us for more information.
With the changing landscape of the oil and gas industry, companies are under increasing pressure to improve operational efficiencies as prices continue to remain low and margins are narrowed. In order to reduce costs and improve efficiency, many organizations are adopting a structured quality management system (QMS).
Health & Safety
Due to the hazardous environment that many oil and gas companies operate in, the federal government along with the International Organization for Standardization developed a standard for Process Safety Management procedures and protocols. While this addresses the procedures to prevent major chemical accidents and occupational safety hazards, it is limited in encompassing the operational aspects of the industry.
The goal, is to develop an oil and gas compliance solution that includes industry best practices for all systems such as service quality, risk assessment, employee training, document control, corrective actions and preventive maintenance. A comprehensive solution may seem difficult for our complex industry; however, incorporating common standards of practice is essential to realizing integrated operational excellence.
Clients and Stakeholders
Both clients and stakeholders, are becoming increasingly demanding regarding the standardization and regulations that those companies they do business with must comply with. As an example, many customers are now requiring that their service supply organizations comply with the API Spec Q2 requirement. Using a system designed specifically for this standard streamlines the administration and reporting of said requirements.
A quality management system increases efficiency and collaboration. It ensures compliance and provides metrics reporting to prove such compliance. It defines strategies, goals and best practices and the means to secure them. A good quality management system is, however, only as good as the team behind it. Ensure that policies and procedures are in place that clearly communicate expectations and requirements.
The Bottom Line
Planning and control of critical tasks is required to minimize risks and improve operational efficiency. A comprehensive management solution can connect multiple locations with secure, real-time communications, thus providing instantaneous performance feedback. Furthermore, deployment of an effective quality management system tells your customers that you are at the top of your class and aiming for the best in products and services, ultimately ensuring customer loyalty through operational efficiency
For more information on how Accupoint Software can help you implement a quality management system specific to your needs, please contact us today.
Service supply organizations are always seeking to optimize, by improving customer relationships for greater revenue and cost reductions. The constant demands, adjustments and upkeep of customers requires a more formalized way to compare and service them. That is why customer benchmarking is so key. In today’s post, we will examine a few factors that demonstrate the power and influence of customer benchmarking.
First, customer benchmarking demonstrates the costs and services that each customer is accumulating. It logs every customer interaction and the services provided to them, whether it is in the initial contract or not. This helps to determine the total cost for delivering your product or service to the customer.
Second, customer benchmarking helps to determine the true price of your product or service. A comprehensive software solution can isolate the amount of product and the price that is actually received from the customer. This helps to clarify the true value of the customer when compared to the cost of services.
Finally, you use benchmarking tools to determine the satisfaction and feedback of the customer. The tool automatically sends a survey to key stakeholders at the client company. The survey results are tabulated and provide feedback to provide continual improvement efforts. The data helps managers at your company understand how the customer truly feels about your performance. It also compares the feedback across all the customers to get a true sense of the most loyal and the least loyal accounts.
Accupoint’s solution family has helped many firms benchmark customers, improve satisfaction and meet compliance standards, leading to greater revenue and less costs. For more information about how Accupoint Software can help streamline the management of your customer benchmarking program, please contact us today.
Accupoint Software is excited to announce the release of our Version 5 platform. The V5 platform has a multitude of exciting new features and functionality, including:
If you have any questions or require additional information about the Version 5 release, please feel free to contact us.
Managing critical suppliers allows you to evaluate your most important sources of products and services. Depending on the size of your company and number of suppliers, you will use either a standard classification or a more complex system. The first step is to classify all of your suppliers based on their weight in your production process. You can place suppliers in one of four categories based on their performance and role. These categories include:
Evaluation of suppliers should be conducted on a yearly basis, at a minimum. You should thoroughly document evaluation criteria including: Price, Performance, Service, Reliability, Quality performance, Risk potential and Complaint information.
Key criteria in choosing critical suppliers relationships include:
The weight of each criterion may vary depending on the product or service. For example, is it more important for the supplier to provide high quality or low price? Is innovation potential more important than process monitoring? Points should be given for each criterion. Once this process in complete you will have a clear overview of your production chain and suppliers. You can then share your evaluation with the suppliers and identify areas where improvements can be made. In addition, the results can be used to strengthen the most important relationships.
An effective supplier relationship management system, will provide digital documentation of all suppliers, data, documentation and evaluations in one place. This is especially useful when working with a large number of suppliers. The system should be standardized and allow for easy access and evaluation.
Critical suppliers are the most important piece of the supply chain. You rely on them for the most crucial parts and services. You must maintain a strong relationship with these suppliers and maintain open communication. In today’s global marketplace competitors can spring up at a moment's notice, challenging product quality and prices. You likely buy components, ingredients and services from all over the world to source quality at the best price. Control of your supply chain allows you to protect your business. Clear documentation, scheduled re-evaluation and the support of managers are necessary for successful supplier management, which will give you a tangible competitive advantage.
For more information on how Accupoint can help you with critical supplier management, contact us today.
The Department of Labor states that on-the-job fatality rates are seven times higher for oil and gas extraction workers than all other industries. The only solution to this serious problem is proactive compliance with a comprehensive safety and health management program. Continual risk identification, analysis and policy enforcement are the keys to keeping workers safe and avoiding operational downtime.
Hazards in oil and gas industry are divided between safety and injury dangers and health and illness hazards. Front-line supervisors should work with safety managers to conduct risk assessments that are founded on historical experience, analytical methods and field knowledge and judgement. A risk assessment will ask three basic questions for each possible event: what can go wrong, how likely will it occur and what are the impacts. Both qualitative and quantitative answers offer unique value. Safety planning and risk assessments require that everyone involved understands the objectives, the methods, the resources required and how the results will be applied.
Standard Evaluation Methods
A risk assessment generally involves four basic steps: hazard identification, frequency projection, consequence assessment and risk evaluation. Hazard identification methods include literature research, safety audits, periodic walk-throughs and what-if brainstorming. Popular tools include FMEA, HAZOP and HAZID. Frequency assessment methods include fault tree, event tree, human reliability and common cause failure analysis tools. Consequence assessment methods include source term, aquatic transport, atmospheric dispersion and blast and thermal radiation models. Popular evaluation methods include risk profiles, indexes, matrixes and density curves.
The Hazard Identification (HAZID) Technique
HAZID is a safety tool to describe activities that identify risks and associated events. Offshore petroleum facilities often use HAZIDs to identify potential hazards to personnel, such as injuries and illness, to the environment, such as spills and pollution, and operational issues, such as delays and production losses. Offshore petroleum leaders often use the HAZID technique to analyze operational procedures on vessels and machinery. A HAZID planning session will involve an interdisciplinary team that includes those who have experience with facility design, such as engineering, and facility operation, such as veteran employees. Together, they will use checklists to methodically brainstorm and identify potential hazards associated with each part of the system.
A what-if analysis uses subjective questioning to ponder potential performance problems and their consequences. For example, if an intake air filter is blocked, this will reduce the air flow through the compressor, which will consume more energy and lead to functional inefficiencies. The solution is through monthly inspections and scheduled filter replacements. Contact us today to learn how Accupoint can streamline your safety, compliance and risk assessments processes.
Staying ahead in today's global economy often requires companies to make changes. The ability to adapt to change is a crucial part of organizational management. When your company adopts clear methodologies and processes to respond to change you will be set up for success. Organizational buy-in has become a prominent topic of discussion. Due to the team-based structure of most companies, change is often created through influence. Therefore, you need to be skilled in gaining support for your ideas. You need buy-in to implement your revolutionary ideas that move the company forward.
To successfully achieve organizational buy-in, your effort needs to be constructed carefully with attention paid to all of the factors that help a change initiative gain support. While there is not one method that will always work to overcome natural resistance to change, here are four tips that will help you achieve successful organizational buy-in.
Make It Clear
Disciplined thought and honest effort go a long way. When you present reality truthfully, the right decisions become clear. Being honest will also allow your coworkers and employees to trust you. Perhaps the most influential factor in achieving organizational buy-in is committing to open, honest and complete disclosure. To be successful you need to go beyond the data and analysis. A change effort makes the most headway when you appeal to employees' emotions. Using clear, striking examples that appeal to feeling will compel people to want the change. Show what the existing problems are and how this change will resolve them. This will motivate others to act.
Make it Manageable
Presenting a complex, multiyear project can easily make employees and coworkers feel overwhelmed. When you break the project down into steps with clear goals, it will seem more manageable. Consider presenting the larger project as smaller bite-sized phases. This will also make it easier to feel like progress can be made; it will give the change momentum. You can use this method to implement the change in smaller steps in the real world also. Utilizing this technique will help you resolve any potential problems before they become bigger.
Listen to Employees
The relationship with your employees and coworkers is important. You will need their help to achieve buy-in. Your job is to sell everyone on your idea. Explaining your ideas clearly and making it manageable are both ways to strengthen your relationship. Then you need to listen. Address concerns or any interpersonal issues. Your change effort will depend on management's dedication to open dialogue. Remember that listening well can sometimes be even more important than speaking well. Your employees are a valuable source of ideas and support.
Trust the Team
When trying to achieve organizational buy-in, there needs to be strong methods to drive management from the bottom up. You will be implementing change as a team. When change is driven both from the bottom up and top down it creates a strong dynamic and momentum. This means getting both employees and even customers on board. Everyone will come together to harness the force of change and push for success.
Senior management is ultimately responsible for the success of the change effort. Avoid some common faults by paying attention to how much funding is needed, what the required competencies and capabilities are, and what metrics and rewards can be used to support the change. Effective leaders will find the right levers and incentives to reduce resistance and gain momentum for change.
For more information on achieving organizational buy-in, and a variety of other business management solutions for the oil and gas industry, contact us today.
Contract management and review are important, and often neglected disciplines. According to research done by the independent International Association for Contract & Commercial Management, good contract management practices could improve profit by 9% of annual revenue. Contracts can leak, costing money through outdated pricing, or misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication that lead to losses.
Contract review is the process for determining customer requirements prior to the supply of a product, and proof that the organization has the ability to meet the defined requirements. Contract review should be part of your company's business management. Attention must be paid to the requirements related to products, supply and management of information. Your company will determine the specific needs of the customer including delivery and post-delivery activities, such as warranty and maintenance services. You also need to consider requirements that are not explicitly stated by the customer, but are still necessary. You need to know any regulatory requirements that apply to the product.
Before your company commits to a contact or order, or any changes to existing contracts you need to consider several factors including:
Communication is also critical to success. You will need to determine effective means of communication in relation to product information, contracts, order handling, feedback and complaints. This is all part of your customer relations management processes and determining customer requirements. If contract review is ever done offsite, you need to link the activities to your on-site quality management system.
You must conduct risk analysis before committing to a contract. Consider whether taking on additional obligations will affect your supply chain, for example. Manufacturing risk analysis will help you assess your ability to effectively provide the specified product. Do you have the resources needed to fulfill the obligations? Can you meet timing demands? Are there additional developments costs and investments? Look at potential failures in processes, including suppliers. Is there solid potential for increased profits? Considering all of these factors will allow you to enter into contracts that are efficient and effective, which is good for your bottom line.
For more information on how Accupoint can help improve your contact review process, contact us today.