By Matt Danna
With soaring gas prices, supply chain disruptions running rampant, and workforce shortages on the rise, there’s never been a more critical time to simplify and streamline the dispatching and management of fleets within upstream oil and gas trucking operations. Considering the US rig count is up by 283 rigs in June 2022 compared to June 2021, and gas prices are up 40% from February, fleet operators are faced with the dilemma of meeting increased demand with fewer workers and resources stretched thin. The impact is significant for the upstream oil and gas sector, which relies heavily on large fleets to execute daily business deliveries and operations.
Other issues contribute to and compound the pain, including:
- There is currently a monthslong wait to secure steel pipe and casing necessary for drilling. There can’t be drilling without pipe, and steel casings must be used to eliminate environmental impacts.
- There are not enough drivers to make all the deliveries in the oil and gas upstream sector. Fleets are stretched thin and can’t always handle the jobs necessary to maximize the bottom line.
- The effects of inflation. Costs for a multitude of mission-critical elements in the oil and gas upstream sector are at the highest prices the country has ever seen: fuel costs, cement costs (up 43%), equipment rentals (up more than 20%), and directional drilling costs (up 35%).
Some of the biggest hurdles facing fleet managers include:
- Figuring out how to boost the daily productivity of a stretched workforce
- Maintaining equipment
- Empowering dispatchers
- Addressing supply chain issues
The good news? There is a way to accomplish all these things and grow revenue—through mobile field operations management solutions. The cloud-based software is the most efficient way to maximize the productivity of a bare-bones workforce. These solutions ensure no delays at the worksite and expediting the workflow. Also aiding in the process is a slew of transformation solutions that can be integrated into the workflow to help automate dispatchers’ tasks. Some of them include e-ticketing, data collection, analytics, route review, maintenance, and mobile apps.
The entire field ticketing process can be managed in the office or the field—for everything from operations to field personnel and invoicing. It can be done online or offline, which eliminates any delays. E-ticketing can help the oil and gas upstream sector, manage water transfer services, as well as provide a cost-effective solution for hauling frac tanks.
Using a tablet or PC screen, dispatchers can directly capture proof of delivery, as well as the location of drivers and assets. Through geofencing, dispatchers can track the exact time a driver has reached or left a client site. These types of technologies will quickly and safely create a smooth process that removes the risk of errors.
Data that’s collected from the field can be used to create custom reports, which can improve how decisions might be made in the future. Workers who typically must take the time to make sense of the data themselves can redirect their energy to other, more important matters.
Drag-and-drop functionalities allow a dispatcher to easily schedule and plan all routes in advance. When a day’s worth of routes is created, they can then be dispatched to the drivers, which can be sent via notification on their mobile apps.
Any manager knows that maintaining assets in the field is essential. Mobile field operations management solutions use computing devices to gather asset data, monitor the conditions of assets in the field, and understand an asset’s overall health. Digital maintenance can stay on top of scheduling the upkeep of assets and ensure they are compliant. The uptime is increased, labor costs are minimized, and economic output is boosted.
This can provide a guided approach to getting materials like fluids, sand, chemicals, or equipment loaded and unloaded from one location to another. It’s also an opportunity to have two-way communication between the driver and dispatcher.
THE BIG PICTURE
Revolutionary for dispatchers and drivers, cloud-based trucking modules benefit the upstream oil and gas sector on the road and in the field, empowering dispatchers, maintaining equipment, and maximizing the productivity of a stretched workforce. Mobile field operations management solutions can also assist with tasks like configuring and price quoting, asset management, forms recreation, etc.
For example, consider when field personnel are in remote areas without reliable internet service. A mobile field operation management solution enables them to continue performing their job of making changes to tickets, attaching any relevant photos and recording any significant data retrieved at the site.
Fleet operators likely won’t see any relief soon regarding gas prices, and issues concerning the supply chain and labor shortages will continue to plague them. Using cloud-based trucking solutions software can simplify and streamline the entire experience for dispatchers and managers. It will keep trucks moving and save money by enabling higher driver utilization and improved efficiency—all wins during these uncertain times.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Danna is the senior director of product strategy at ServiceMax and has worked in software for over 25 years. Matt’s background brings a depth of knowledge in software engineering, sales engineering, and product management. He primarily works with customers, key stakeholders, implementation managers, account executives, and developers to ensure alignment across all parties. Find out more, visit www.servicemax.com.