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Benefiting from a forced change

The last months have been difficult for many who have faced personal tragedy and an uncertain economic future. The hardships and challenges reveal the fragility of many systems we have taken for granted and shown that global supply chains were not immune to the Coronavirus. Travel bans have caused many industries to start a process of reactive self-reflection that otherwise would not have occurred.  

When I worked in the emergency services, we used a term called the “golden ½ hour”. This referred to the maximum time limit to free a person’s trapped legs in a vehicle accident, after which the chances of survival for the occupant dropped drastically. Globally, we are in the “industrial golden ½ hour”. It is not enough to simply implement solutions that bring production to previous levels, we need to be more efficient, cost effective and make up for the lost revenue and time – because the clock is ticking. Decisions must be made quickly, and solutions implemented rapidly or companies face closure. Risks need to be taken, now, because indecision will result in far worse consequences. 

The travel restrictions imposed by governments have forced industries to face the need for change. Travel and documentation are two enormous costs for project execution and with increasing wages and decreasing profit margins, the decision to reduce travel for key activities needed to happen. What is unique in this case is that technology is ready to provide excellent alternatives to travel. We now have: 

  1. Collaboration platforms 
  2. Extensive fiberoptic networks 
  3. Powerful wireless devices 
  4. Easy access to cheap technology 
  5. A demand for all parties to adapt 

From a Customer perspective, adopting remote inspection and support provides the following benefits: 

  • Greater flexibility 
  • Greater access to highly competent personnel 
  • Higher resource utilization rate for inspection and technical personnel 
  • Reduced project delays 
  • Reduced operational costs 
  • Reduced HSE risks 
  • Greater Supplier contact 

The Supplier’s benefits are also significant: 

  • Less coordination for inspections resulting in faster product delivery 
  • Improved cashflow 
  • Reduced operational costs 
  • Greater flexibility when delays occur 
  • Reduced site visits and HSE risks 
  • Greater Customer contact 

Also, Third-Party Inspection Companies benefit from remote inspection: 

  • Greater access to skilled inspectors 
  • Higher utilization rate  
  • More jobs conducted on less time 
  • Reduced HSE risks 
  • Reduced operational costs 
  • Increased Customer reach 

About 20 years ago, the norm was that employees traveled in order to meet face-to-face. When conferencing software like Skype or Webex was emerging, arguments were made regarding reduced productivity of remote meetings and why the face-to-face meeting was irreplaceable. Fast forward – now the standard is to use remote conferencing software, and travel for meetings is the exception. This shift moved at the pace of the population’s willingness to accept change.  

The Coronavirus outbreak has forced change upon us at a time when the technology is available to make this change relatively easily. Many industries now have an opportunity to implement remote inspection systems to mitigate the immediate travel restrictions, then collect the dividends of this decision for years to come.

Paul Stupkin,

Managing Director,

Seebird Solutions

Send me a message on LinkedIn!

Storgata 50, 3320 Vestfossen, Norway

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