Blog

The Dirty Secret Behind Efficiency

Posted on | Posted in Blog

That’s apple pie.

This labels a word or expression that everyone will erroneously accept as common and at the very core of our professional existence. Everyone will agree that efficiency is good. Who won’t accept a slice of apple pie?

Efficiency is overused, uncommonly understood and practically meaningless in most engineering and corporate discourse.

Every company seeks efficiency. Every manager aspires to create efficiency. Every vendor trumpets greater efficiency. The dirty secret is—NOBODY EVER DEFINES WHAT IT MEANS.

Walk down the hall to a half dozen offices. Ask each person to define efficiency for their company, or department. You’ll receive a different answer from all six. It’s likely  that no answer will be in the form of a ratio of measurable inputs divided by outputs.

Now get those six folks in a conference room for a meeting. Let someone proclaim the virtues of efficiency as a call to action. Watch the others nod their heads in agreement—six different ways.

We see this in oil and gas all the time. Is it barrels per day? Is it barrels produced per asset employed? Is it dollars per day? Is it revenue per cost by well, by field, by region?

In AG it’s the same thing. Is it bags per day or dollar value per day? Is it revenue per ton or revenue per plant per month?

If each person agrees to engage a project, product or process based on their different view of efficiency there’s a problem. The word ought to be prohibited. Without the word, people will begin to express the concept in specific terms that everyone will understand and pursue.

Go get some pie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts
16 Aug 2017
Share

ABB e GlobaLogix associam-se para oferecerem SCADAvantage na cloud para empresas de gás e petróleo

O grupo ABB, líder mundial de tecnologias de energia e automação, anunciou hoje uma parceria com a empresa GlobaLogix para o fornecimento de uma nova solução SCADA disponibilizada como Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) e baseada no produto SCADAvantage da ABB. A parceria tem como objectivo oferecer um serviço SCADA robusto e aberto que permita reduzir não só[…..]

Latest Posts
08 Aug 2017
Share

Cyber Protection in the Oil & Gas Industry

Cyber protection in midstream oil & gas, SCADA seems like too esoteric to engage interest of industry outsiders. However, if the spill, explosion or gaseous release are big enough – that focus will change. SCADA is the system of sensors that measure and control the flows of natural gas and crude oil produced in thousands of[…..]

Latest Posts
20 Jul 2017
Share

Perfecting the Interview – A Waste of Time

On the one hand we all agree that the one ingredient for a successful candidate is fit. Does this person fit inside our culture? Can they do business our way? Can they represent us? Can they get along with all our folks? So what do we do? We scan resumes in a flimsy attempt to[…..]

Latest Posts
06 Jul 2017
Share

Get Along? Or, Get It Done?

Without exception, projects in any company will touch multiple stakeholders, departments and individuals. The changes required will invariably touch operations, engineering and procurement, just to name the basics. Projects make and break budgets. They also make and break careers. Getting a project done requires leadership that does not care about social standing within the organization.[…..]

Latest Posts
15 Jun 2017
Share

Meaningless Outcome Defined Planning

Can we quit the obnoxious and meaningless characterization of desired results masquerading as an action plan? Think about how often a leader, when asked for plan details, replies with some description of a favorable outcome without ever describing how that might come about. If you can’t remember one, just google about any political press conference.[…..]