Approximately 1,200 Aera people and hundreds of contractor companies concentrate relentlessly on eliminating waste, preventing defects, and solving problems using simple methods. To do so, Aera promotes a process-focused, data-driven, problem-solving culture.
Suppliers, who are also integrated into Aera’s way of working, must deliver on time and with good quality. They are judged on their safety, quality and productivity contributions. Aera displays a metric board showing suppliers’ progress on reaching their key performance indicators (KPIs).
“Everyone at the site is involved in making things better tomorrow than they were yesterday. From the factory floor to the site manager, everyone is looking for ways to do things better. And it never stops, they are never satisfied, and they are constantly working on new ways to improve,” says the regional vice president-US Gulf Coast.
Working to Standards
Aera advocates standard work processes that add value. The company conducts advanced audits and leader standard work. Safety is listed first, followed by work standards showing what leaders, managers and operators should be doing.
The leadership team saw Aera’s process approach on display at its Belridge Producing Complex, which was the first exploration and production complex to win a prestigious North American Maintenance Excellence (NAME) Award for outstanding reliability and maintenance results. The NAME Award has been compared to the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.
A high point of the visit for Regional Vice President was witnessing Aera’s standardized maintenance and material management processes, which are streamlined from front to back. A demonstration of the flow line “war wagon” in the Crude Lift & Measure Group showed how work can be organized and executed in an efficient way. They electronically track inventory used as they go along throughout the day. The material needed for the next day is than replenished at night by “milk runs” from the warehouse, ensuring that crews can immediately start their day with all the materials needed. This practice has completely eliminated warehouse visits. The site started with a single war wagon and now has expanded the concept to several other job types.
“Their tight control and understanding of costs in real time is far beyond what we have been able to achieve. They have driven fantastic innovation around the routine work activities they face. It’s very impressive,” notes the Regional Vice President.
The mechanics shop tour was an example of employee pride of ownership. Clean and organized, the mechanics shop also showcased 5S in progress. 5S is a list to describe how items are stored and how new order is maintained.