Recent times have been challenging for many people in all walks of life – not least in business. However, for the oil and gas industry, which has experienced sustained low oil prices, there are hopes that conditions will improve as 2021 goes on, with further stability in the following year.
For many companies working in the supply chain, the recent period has been a tough one and some have, regrettably, fallen by the wayside. But the key to survival is in adapting to market conditions.
Sandvik has a 150-year plus heritage as a world-leading developer and manufacturer of products in advanced stainless steels and special alloys for the most demanding environments. This means we’ve learned a thing or two about providing value to customers in difficult times. Here are four tips that could help you.
1. Adapt to the changes in your markets
Just as your business has changed, your customers may have gone through a similar evolving process in the past year, so it may be a good time to review the strength of your existing markets. At Sandvik, we remain focused on supporting the oil and gas industry in every part of the world, but there are some regions and countries that are suggesting significant potential. China, for example, is likely to be a key country for energy growth, while the Brazilian deepwater market is also showing signs of returning confidence. Being aware of market changes and having the flexibility to respond to them is important.
2. Listen to your customers
Not surprisingly, the reaction to the weak oil price in some cases has been a focus on cost-cutting with fewer projects being announced and delayed investment decisions. Understanding your customers’ challenges and needs will help direct your own responses. While there is very little that companies in the supply chain can do to increase the number of projects available, we can all ensure we are in the best position to win them.
3. Right first time, on time, every time
When trying to find novel solutions to a changing market it can be easy for your attention to stray from the things you are known for. Keep doing what you do well and your customers will benefit. For example, manufacturing products that are right the first time, on time, every time supports your customers in moving forward quickly with project delivery. It can also eliminate internal costs caused by the need to replace inferior products or expensive project time delays.
4. Continuous improvement
Your customers are the true judges of the quality of your business so it’s important to know what they think of you. At Sandvik, for example, for every project we send out a questionnaire with specific points around safety, quality, project execution, cost, on-time delivery and professionalism. Encouraging customer feedback can be a positive way to benchmark the performance of your products and services, ensure your company is fully tuned in to client needs and identify opportunities for improvement that you may not have seen before.
Do you have a material challenge? Find out how we can help you.
John Tokaruk, Global Product Manager - Umbilical Tubing