Supply in Demand
The economics of the energy industry have shifted from new construction to operations and maintenance. That’s bad news for project managers, but leaves supply chain managers in a more secure spot. Fortunately for project managers, the skills are transferable between the two. Key skills include cost-cutting, such as slashing wait times by improving logistics and material management; and managing the risk of nonavailability of goods and services at crucial points in a project. This is where having experienced project managers can make a big difference in the supply chain. Kevin Lawrence, a recently laid-off veteran project manager, says of supply chain and project management, “I see them being very similar, particularly in the oil and gas maintenance and turn-around portion of the business. Materials and services are very often the responsibility of the project manager. Although supply management is considered long-term and project management is short, the goals are the same.”
Marc Hebert, a former project manager, who moved into the patch as an industrial maintenance manager for oil services firm Tenaris, agrees. “Anything I have touched in my PM manufacturing experience has been steeped in risk management of the supply chain,” he says. “Supply chain management and project management skills are very transferable, which was why I was able to slide into the PM role that I had with ease.” Hebert says that managers of projects, supply chains or maintenance are always looking for improvement. “If you have a recurring issue you look for the root cause and implement the best solution. The results are better quality, productivity and safety.” Lawrence’s advice for anyone in the profession is to get a project management certificate. Before the slump it didn’t matter, experience was enough, he says.