Oil & gas operating units rely on many service companies for its safe daily operations. Activities execute by these vendors include both menial & complex tasks. Outsourcing jobs to contractors is a common practice as it is not feasible for a company to do everything by itself. As vendors have become an integral part of company operations vendor capability assessment is essential to ensure company will receive the required quality for services that they pay for.
As an example pipeline reliability is essential for oil companies to effectively transport their products. Pigging operations typically outsourced to a specialized service company is critical to pipeline integrity management. The purchase will certainly want to have the right pigging contractor selected for pigging jobs as pipelines are expensive & production critical assets.
Yard inspection should be part of tools in vendor selection process. By walking around their yard, we can feel how reliable they are in delivering tasks and spot things otherwise invisible without the visit. Documents detailing safety & quality management, work processes and staff training do not readily reflect on ground activities. It has to be confirmed by site visit.
I have visited a workshop with dirt flooring assembling parts sensitive to dust contamination. Obviously, this is not acceptable as airborne dust from dirt floor can easily affect the quality of parts being assembled. Subsequently, plant reliability will be undermined when bad quality parts got installed and commissioned. Workshop floor is not about aesthetic only it promotes both safer & cleaner work environment. Furthermore, good workshop floor can prevent slip & fall hazards, spills can be properly cleaned. These are factors contribute to quality end products.
It is important that a service company is in good financial position. We do not want the selected contractor to be running out of money in the middle of job execution and we have to find another contractor to replace them. Typically, having to mobilize a new contractor to replace an existing contractor is not a very good idea. During the transition period as personnel are trying to settle in, work quality, delay & miscommunication tend to happen For a small project, it might be better for company to retain the field personnel of the existing financially trouble contractor and finance the entire project until completion. This should eliminate risk associate with an introduction of new set of workers on site have as mentioned above.
A vendor audit is not about fault findings. Its about assisting your company to make informed decisions pertaining to contractor selection. This is essential as their work will have a bearing on your final products. In oil & gas, service companies provide solution necessary for the complex daily operations. Contractors are on location performing works and becoming company liability at the same time.