Professional development with ProServ

An encompassing training programme will revitalize your staff

ProServ employees on the shop floor at the facility in Jebel Ali.
ProServ employees on the shop floor at the facility in Jebel Ali.

An all encompassing training programme can and will revitalize your staff and operations

Creating a workforce that operates according to a company’s objectives and principles is no small task. It’s an ever-changing experience that begins with the hiring process but continues throughout the assembly line.

When it comes to manufacturing, especially to the high-pace and specific requirements of the oil and gas industry, companies can never be complacent.

Efficiency, accuracy and safety are absolutely critical to manufacturing operations and must constantly be evaluated.

These factors are naturally driven by management which needs to ensure that best practices are followed on the floor.

But this, by no means, suggests that plant improvements can and should only come from above. In fact, allowing your workers to guide efficiency and safety improvements can be even more effective when improving operations.

It’s a philosophy that Proserv continues to perfect. Based in Dubai’s Jebel Ali, the company has quickly climbed the production technology and services ranks in the Middle East and also around the world.

Success begins with the hiring process, explains Nick Stewart, Proserv’s VP of sales and marketing for the MENA region.

“When we are hiring new people, we have them go through different games to see how they act under some pressure, to see how they interact with other people,” says Stewart.

“That’s where you can see their characteristics. We ask are they quick to lead? Do they test and probe for information? Do they include other people? Are they aggressive or rash?”

Not only is the company looking for the right person to fill a certain role, but with its recent growth, the company continues to make room for right people, “If we find someone good, then we’ll open a role for them,” says Stewart.

After assembling the right crew, Proserv introduces employees to the LEAN principles at the workplace. Developed in the 1990s by the Japanese automotive industry, LEAN principles help manufacturers continuously improve their efficiency by applying the just-in-time manufacturing concept.

“We talked them through the principles, said this is what LEAN is about, and then we asked them how can we do things more efficiently; what wastes time; is there a lot of cross flow; what about health and safety? And we’ve taken their feedback and they’ve helped us create this place,” says Stewart.

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He explains how training the employees at Proserv to provide more feedback on operations helped the company become even leaner. “After we introduced LEAN and went through the exercises with them, they began to understand the principles and it started snowballing, the feedback was fantastic,” he adds.

By adopting the LEAN principles, Proserv has managed to cut out a majority of its downtime.

“Instead of waiting for the frame to be cut and then putting everything on afterwards, we found that we could do a lot of pre-assembly.

So the guys used to follow the whole panel from all the way through, from cutting fresh metal to cutting the valves and screws to the end. Now when the frame arrives, you can put everything in and it’s all ready,” explains Stewart.

Another example, in order to cut down on time that workers spent browsing the stores for nuts and bolts, the employees invented wheeled trays that contain all the parts needed for assembly and manufacturing.

The trays are filled up in the morning by stores and wheeled out to the relevant work stations, so that employees spend less time away from their stations.

“We’re trying to do lots of training, but not do so much training that you become numb to it. We’re trying to make the guys understand it, because we’re trying to do it for their benefit,” says Stewart.

When it first rolled out the LEAN programme, Proserv managed to cut down production time from 19 days for a well head control panel to 10 days. “Now we can produce a well head control panel in the lean line in around 3 or 4 days, 5 days at a push,” he says.

“Initially we were building on average 20-25 control panels a month. But after the first month of rolling out LEAN, which was in August, the holy month of Ramadan, we managed to create 92 well head control panels, all for ADCO, and they all passed the Factory Acceptance Test first time. To go from 20-25 to 92 in the first month was exceptional,” says Stewart.

There is also ample motivation for employees to work hard and develop their skills and familiarity with the technology that Proserv manufactures so that they can be promoted to field positions.

“Obviously we don’t just put anyone out in the field unless they are high experienced and competent professionals, so they work hard in the factory, move through different areas, and once they’re at a suitable level then we offer them a field position,” he says.

The company has attracted the likes of ADCO and is in the process of making a very ambitious bid on a 500 well head control panel contract.

“They were talking about splitting the award but we said that if you give us all 500 panels, we’ll do them for you in two months,” said Stewart.

“We’ve got the capacity, and we’ve got the lean processes set up, so provided that we have the materials, then we can do 500 no problems. We have the processes, we have the facility.”

Despite the negative perception of Middle East manufacturing, Proserv has also started also been taking contracts with companies outside the Middle East.

“We’ve had customers from the US, UK, Norway, Germany, who have said that this is a world class facility. And that they would never have expected to find this in the Middle East, and like I always say, if you can find something better than us, tell me, because if you can then that gives us something to aspire to.”

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