Crisis in the Oil & Mining Industries: Impacts on Document Control

For those of us working either in the Oil and Gas industry or in the Mining industry, the past two years have been challenging on many levels.


For the Oil industry, for example, while the price of oil was ranging between 90 and 108 US Dollar a barrel back in 2013, it went as low as 29 USD a barrel early 2016. That’s a slump of up to 73% in less than 3 years.



The mining sector has also been confronted to a very difficult environment: From its peak in 2011 to the beginning of 2016, the global mining sector has gone through a 90% reduction in global market capitalisation.

The crisis had direct impacts for Document Controllers


Any drop of this dimension obviously has a direct impact on business, how they operate, and on jobs.


The first impact of the crisis on these industries is direct: many companies had to let people go due to new budget constraints. Many companies actually had to go through massive scale redundancies. This process impacted Document Control professionals as any other job role or functions. 


The second impact of the crisis is a direct consequence of the first: the job market is now flooded with many applicants, most of them very experienced and able. While a few years ago the phone was ringing every week with a new job opportunity, it has now got much harder to find job ads to apply for.


This time of crisis has forced a certain number of Document Controllers to either relocate, rethink their career strategy, learn new skills, or move to another industry.


There has been other consequences in the daily lives of Document Controllers. Indeed, with higher constraints on budgets, it is now more difficult to recruit help (even temporary) when it is needed. 


More work to be done by fewer people


This means more work to be done by fewer people, which usually comes with higher stress levels but also with risks in terms of quality and safety.


It actually comes with a good side too: it forces Document Control teams to think about their processes and tools and to see what could be done to be more effective: to do more with less, without compromising quality in the process.


Optimized workflows, streamlined processes

We have seen the surge of optimized workflows, streamlined processes, enhanced communication, more moves from paper to electronic processes, and an overall and careful thought about: what can be done differently? Better? In a more efficient way?


In the process, we have to make sure that safety, control and quality are not sacrificed over budget constraints and tight deadlines.


In a word, it forces us to be creative, to think outside of the box, and that is, in the short term as well as on the long run, a positive outcome.


The crisis will not run for ever. Prices will come up again, and business will resume eventually, maybe not « as usual », but it will pick up again.


We can only hope that this difficult period has made the DC discipline, stronger than ever before.


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