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Cultural change in Norway: offshore platforms learn about Lean Management

09.10.2015

Norway’s economic ascent began when oil was discovered off its coast in 1969. Using oil revenues, the country built up a sovereign wealth fund worth billions, while offering its residents a high standard of living and oil workers above-average wages and favourable conditions.

Now that oil prices have collapsed worldwide, the Norwegians sense a need to take action. Under current conditions, the costly extraction of oil off the coast of Norway is no longer profitable. Several offshore platforms have already been abandoned.

Oil companies are reacting to the drop in oil prices by cutting jobs, social benefits and holidays. However, these steps alone will not be enough to make the oil industry profitable again. The sector has to become much more efficient in terms of its work routines so as to increase productivity while lowering costs.

This is why Lean Maritime has been at work in the Norwegian city of Bergen and on its offshore platforms since September. “With our lean methods, we can implement new approaches for working time models directly on site in order to reduce the previous wasting of resources,” says Managing Director Theo Herzog.

The focus is on activity planning and organisation, for instance the synchronising of parallel or sequential work processes. In addition, areas like material availability and technical malfunctions are analysed. Using lean principles like flow, takt, pull, zero defects and reactivity, the company is collaborating with workers on site to implement processes that can quickly lead to higher productivity. “Through our clever work organisation, we boost the productivity of processes on the platforms in the high double digits. That is true cultural change here,” say the consultants.

In the course of redesigning processes, the focus is on the work routines of the roughly 500 highly qualified workers and not on cutting their jobs. While the consultants are in Norway, the workers on site are becoming qualified to work with the new processes and pursue them: for higher productivity and for satisfied customers.

Even if oil prices rise again in the future, this Norwegian offshore company is now a step ahead!


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