This month’s Oil & Gas Measurement Podcast episode features Jayson Payne discussing how companies are changing their methods of outsourcing and getting more creative, as well as why proper training is so important for new technicians in the industry and how experience can not replace training.
In this month’s episode, you will learn about how customers approach quality control, ways that FLOWCAL is evolving in measurement, and why communication is so important between the field and the back office.
Measurement as a Service Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms:
- Jayson Payne is the Executive VP of Coastal Flow Measurement. Connect with Jayson on LinkedIn.
- Coastal Flow is the industry-leading liquid and gas measurement company, providing quality measurement services since 1974. Coastal Flow has provided superior measurement and analytical services throughout the United States and abroad for the last five decades. Coastal Flow has built an impeccable reputation for innovative measurement solutions, cutting-edge technical expertise, and unparalleled customer service.
- FLOWCAL by Quorum Software is an oil and gas measurement software platform that is used by operators for the back-office validation, processing, and reporting of natural gas and hydrocarbon liquids.
- SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote locations. SCADA breaks down into two key functions: supervisory control and data acquisition. Included is managing the field, communication, and control room technology components that send and receive valuable data, allowing users to respond to the data.
- AGA (American Gas Association) represents companies delivering natural gas safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible way to help improve the quality of life for their customers every day. AGA’s mission is to provide clear value to its membership and serve as the indispensable, leading voice and facilitator on its behalf in promoting the safe, reliable, and efficient delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses across the nation.
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) ability of computer-based systems to perform complex analytical and decision making tasks.
- API (American Petroleum Institute) is a national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.
- NGL (Natural Gas Liquids) is natural gas that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport.
- Midstream is the processing, storing, transporting and marketing of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids.
- Analyst or Measurement Analyst the back-office professionals responsible for reviewing, managing, processing the detailed data originating from the meters that monitor and report the custody transfer of oil and gas.
- Liquid Prover is a specialized equipment, often truck or trailer mounted, that is designed to allow volume or mass verification and calibration of liquid meters.
- Charts or Chart meters are pre-electronics technology for measuring natural gas flow, where ink pens trace lines representing pressures and temperature onto a rotating circular paper chart.
Measurement as a Service Full Episode Transcript:
Weldon Wright: Welcome to episode 17 of the, “Oil and Gas Measurement Podcast,” sponsored by GCI, which has been providing measurement training, standard operating procedures, and consulting to the oil and gas industry for over 20 years.
GCI proudly partners with Muddy Boots to offer the industry a superior field operations platform. Visit GasCertification.com to find out how Muddy Boots can streamline your meter testing, witnessing, and sample tracking.
Announcer: Welcome to The Oil and Gas Measurement podcast, where measurement professionals, Bubba geeks, and gurus share their knowledge, experience, and likely a tall tale or two on measurement topics for the oil and gas industry. And now, your host, Weldon Wright.
Weldon: Hello, and welcome to the Oil and Gas Measurement Podcast. I’m here with Jayson Payne today, the Executive VP of Coastal Flow Measurement.
Jayson, hello. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jayson Payne: Hey, Weldon. Appreciate you having me on. Absolutely. Like you said, Jayson Payne, I’m with Coastal Flow Measurement. Started with Coastal Flow in 1999, so I’m coming up on 24 years with the company.
I was fortunate enough to start off as a measurement analyst there in 1999. That was at the start of FLOWCAL becoming a commercial product, and gaining traction in the industry.
I was able to start off at the ground floor with Coastal Flow, building out their measurement department. That was for a few years. Then, I transitioned over to field services manager where I managed our field services division. That was right at the start of TESTit. The first year or so in that position, it was rolling out TESTit to the field. Transitioning over from spreadsheets and paper test reports, trying to get that automated.
After that, I got promoted to measurement manager, and was tasked with automating our measurement process here at Coastal Flow. Automating all the TESTit data, field data coming into FLOWCAL, and the SCADA data. That was a pretty good experience handling all of this data coming into our FLOWCAL.
Now, here today, I oversee all of the Coastal Flow businesses. I manage the gas and liquid field services division, our FLOWCAL services division, and then our Energy Labs. We have Energy Labs there in La Vernia and New Caney.
It’s been a great ride, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve got to experience a little bit of everything within the measurement business, and here I am.
Weldon: Great, Jayson. I’d like to take just a moment. We get a widely varied audience here. We get everybody from the corner office guys and C suites to the engineers to the guys in the field and the analyst.
Let’s just take a little bit and talk about what Coastal Flow is doing and has been doing because that leads to what I’ve asked you here to talk about. What I want to talk about today is the farming out, the outsourcing, of different portions of measurement.
Coastal is really on all sides of that. Coastal Flow provides field services. Y’all do meter proving. You all do meter testing, correct?
Weldon: As you mentioned, you now have an Energy Lab, but y’all also provide back office services. When you said your FLOWCAL services, correct me if I’m wrong, but what that really means is, you’re providing the analysts that use the FLOWCAL application to do the back-office measurement tasks for companies.
Weldon: Do you want to talk about each of those three pieces a little bit because they’re key to what our discussion is going to be here if we talk about outsourcing.
Jayson: Yeah, absolutely. We’ll start off in our field services division. We have gas meter technicians that are testing primarily orifice meters out in the field for customers. While they’re out there, they’re pulling samples, checking orifice plates, checking transmitters. We have those gas technicians scattered all through the Texas Louisiana area.
We also have a full fleet of liquid provers that are going around proving meters and providing liquid services for customers all through Texas, including Midland. We travel to California and travel up to Michigan to provide those services.
Then we also have the FLOWCAL measurement analysts, where we are processing and validating measurement data for customers inside, not only our FLOWCAL that is our in-house FLOWCAL for customers, but we also provide measurement analysts for customers that have their own FLOWCAL.
They may have their own FLOWCAL, but they need some extra analyst to help them, or in some cases, we provide all the analysts for them to help run their FLOWCAL.
Then, we have the Energy Labs in New Caney and La Vernia. We’re mostly running C6+, C7+ samples for customers, so a wide range of services. Coastal Flow offers a little bit of everything.
Weldon: Jayson, from my experience, the outsourcing of proving, especially with portable provers, that’s been a thing in the industry for quite a while. Only the very biggest of the companies had their own proving trailers and proving trucks. That’s been pretty well accepted, “Hey, we use a third party for proving.”
On the other side of that discussion, I think it’s been pretty standard for smaller companies that didn’t think they had a large enough operation for a full time analyst or maybe two full time analysts. They’ve historically used services from companies like Coastal to do that back office data processing.
From some of our conversations that we’ve had prior to this is what I wanted to talk a little bit about. I understand you’re starting to hear, see rather, some changes in what people are coming to you all for. Talk to us a little bit about what’s changing and why you think that’s changing.
Jayson: A little bit of background is generally if a company was outsourcing some of their measurement needs, whether it be in the field or in the back office, you would see where they would outsource all of it and outsource all of their gas meter testing or outsource all of their measurement analysts work well.
Here in the last couple of years, we’re starting to see that companies are getting creative. They’re needing help but they’re not wanting to outsource everything.
They’re contacting measurement companies and saying, “We have some gas meter technicians, and we just need some help getting caught up. We just need six, eight months of assistance to help us get caught up.”
They have one or two measurement analysts, but they’re not meeting their close out needs, or it’s taking too much time, so they’re contacting us. We don’t want to outsource at all. We just want you to come in and help.
We just want you to come in and be an extension of our employees, look at you as an employee that we have, and just help us work within our current measurement that we have set up now. Companies are getting creative where they need help and what they’re outsourcing.
Weldon: Interesting, Jayson. We’ve moved away from, “here are the keys, take care of all of our measurements.” I think what I’m hearing for you is you’re seeing a move away from that over to “help us with our measurement.”
That collaborative effort seems on the surface to be a little counterintuitive, but the more you dig into it and think about it, it starts to make a lot of sense from a manpower perspective or continuity of a business perspective, because a company that only has one or two measurement analysts, they can quickly get in trouble if one of those leaves or out of an extended illness.
I can see what you’re talking about there could help make business a lot more palatable. Now, you mentioned earlier, I was just surprised by this number, but you mentioned, prior to starting the recording, that you’re processing data for 35,000 meters now for customers,
Jayson: Yeah, 35,000 meters inside either our FLOWCAL or a customer’s FLOWCAL, but our analysts are putting a set of eyes validating and closing out about 35,000 meters. We still process charts, Weldon. We still have about 10,000 chart meters a month that we’re processing, and I was told in 1999 that charts were going away. They’re not, they’re still here and we’re still processing.
Weldon: That’s funny, Jayson, because I’m working with AGA on revising Gas Measurement Manual Number Three. The section of that manual that I’m revising was chart recorders. We were going to take that section away and I heard “Well, people, our members, are telling me there’s somewhere north of 100,000 charts still in operation.” That’s interesting.
Jayson: That’s what we’re seeing.
Weldon: How many analysts do you have processing those 35,000 meters? Do you mind telling me?
Jayson: We have about 25 analysts. They’re full-time analysts, but we have some managers for some quality control that are going back and looking at some things. We have a group of 25 that is assigned to process those meters.
Weldon: The quality control was one of the items I wanted to talk a little bit later in the conversation, but maybe this is a great point forward here. When you have a really small company that just says, “We don’t know measurement, take care of anything,” they just handed the keys to you and say, “We trust you.”
When you start having a combination of your employees and the customers’ employees out there, both handling maybe the same data for the same meters at times, how do customers approach quality control? What is the quality control there? Are they asking you, as a vendor, to manage quality control? Is the customer managing it? Or is it, again, a blend of responsibilities?
Jayson: Every situation is a little bit different. We come into the situation where some customers already have quality control documentation that they have at the start of the project or the start of the process of having us come in.
They share that with us. Going into it, we know what they’re looking for. We know the expectations, what’s done, what needs to be done in order to meet their close out needs. With some customers there, they don’t have anything at all. We’ve been doing this a long time and have quality control documentation that we can work with them and help get set up and get implemented for.
Not only if we’re doing the work, but if we’re only doing the work for three to six months and just to help them temporarily get caught up or for some employee leave that we’re helping with, then we can help them develop that quality control document, pass it on, and so that they can use that going forward.
Weldon: That’s interesting, Jayson. One of my biggest concerns as a measurement manager and a measurement director always was around quality control, staying on top of getting data processed consistently across different analysts.
Making sure that data from the field reports, meter calibration, meter repair reports were being handled properly, making sure there was consistency in how corrections and prior period adjustments were being made.
One of the things you said that our industry is suffering from a lot, and we talked about this previously, briefly before starting the recording, is that we’ve lost so much experience in this industry, experience at every level.
Was talking on our previous podcast with another guest about what we see with analysts being able to find more complicated edits, what does it take? The answer to that is it takes enough experience that you can just look at it and recognize it, or it can take 10 or 20 minutes of analysis.
Where do you find the people that have seen this data? Tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of times, so they just look at it and intuitively know it.
Those people are becoming rarer and rarer.
Jayson: Absolutely. There’s a lot of new, young analysts that are coming into our industry. Training is so important. You can train them on the software. FLOWCAL is a great software. It does a great job, but it doesn’t do everything. It doesn’t replace the experience of looking at the data and being able to recognize that what you’re looking at is a potential problem and needs to be investigated.
Then if it is a problem and it’s correctable, then we get it corrected properly inside the software. You have to take that a step further and know, “Hey, now let’s contact the field and let’s communicate this at the field level and get this corrected, if it’s something that can be corrected, into the field so that we don’t have to keep editing that data each time.”
Training, training, training and communication, communication, communication, nothing’s going to replace that. You have to have an open line of communications with everybody that is involved in measurement, because as you know well, measurement is not just a back-office job.
It’s not just a job in the field. It’s both and everyone needs to be communicating and on the same page, working to the same goal of having the best measurement that we can.
Weldon: That communication is just so key. It’s so key to reducing workload on both sides. As you mentioned, if you’re not fixing the problem with the device out in the field, the analyst will be addressing the same thing day-in and day-out, month-in and month-out, if the guy in the field is not communicating with the analyst.
Many times a quick email or phone call that says, “Hey, here’s what’s going on with this meter, so you’re saying I need to treat so for the next two or three months.” That helps a lot.
Jayson: Exactly. Something that we see a lot when we look at customers’ FLOWCAL is they’ll have auto-edits set up throughout their whole system that are automatically making edits to things that we take a look at and we’re like, “Look, we need to get this fixed in the field. If there’s an auto edit set up, let’s get this fixed in the field so that at the field level, they have a better idea of how their measurement is doing or how their field balances, and we got to communicate this back.”
Since I’ve been in the industry, I’m sure since you’ve been in the industry a lot longer than I have, field office communication has always been a challenge, and just as an industry, something we need to get better at. We’ve needed to get better at it for 40 plus years.
Weldon: Those auto-edits, that is both a rabbit hole I could go down and a soapbox I could get on…right there in a hurry. Part of it though, I know, it gets back down to why we don’t record video here because I probably made some terrible faces when you said the word auto-edit.
Back to what we were saying earlier, those auto-edits, even if it’s an automatic, even if the analyst is just doing it, many times those things are happening, because of the lack of experience and understanding about what’s causing it and what can fix it, right?
Like I said, Marshall Webb and I talked a little bit about editing in a very specific context on the last episode. One of the things he was saying, and one of the things that I had mentioned by two other guests now, is this idea that AI is going to fix this. AI is going to rescue us from not having the experience in the industry.
We’re not there yet. The software systems out there – FLOWCAL included – are advancing a lot. We’re still years away – maybe never – from a piece of computer software that understands what 10 or 15 years experience gets you. That’s both in the field and in the back office.
We’ve got to make sure that we have the resources, we have the training for those folks. I digress, getting off our topic there. Like I say, I can go down a rabbit hole, and…
Jayson: No, you’re absolutely right. You’re not going to…AI is not going to be able to do everything.
If we can get it to a point where it can help us identify potential problems – let me use the quotes – find something, potential problems that an analyst that have seen it before. Then, you can then make the decision, “Do we need to edit this?” and things like that. We can move on.
Weldon: Exactly. That makes a lot of sense. We’ve talked a little bit about that back office, about taking over the measurement data processing. Talk to us a little bit about what you’re seeing in the field, and what our trends are there for outsourcing services.
Jayson: Gas meter testing has always been a popular outsourcing part of the business. Meter technicians out testing meters, testing orifice plates, pulling plates, making sure that plates look good, and whatnot. That’s all.
Not a ton has changed with that process. The big thing there is if a company is using TESTit, then you want to make sure that whoever’s out there testing it is able to use TESTit as well. That data can just flow back into your measurement system.
I’m saying TESTit, but it could be any other software, but you don’t want meter technicians out there using paper test reports, then now, you’re having to have someone review that.
Weldon: Type their test reports, and then sitting in their truck or back at the office typing that into a spreadsheet, sending the spreadsheet by email to somebody, so they pile up and just falling back into that communications.
I see the potential for this when using an outside measurement resource, a third-party for meter testing. I see the potential there for additional delays in getting that field information to the back office.
Jayson: A Measurement Service company has to be flexible on the software that they’re using. It cannot be a bottleneck on communications.
If a company requires something special to be entered on the electronic test report, then they have to be flexible enough to do that in order for that data to seamlessly get sent to the office into their measurement system. It’s part of the solution, and you don’t want to introduce a new problem to the equation.
Weldon: From my knowledge of Coastal Flow, on the field side, I think you all pretty much started out with proving liquid meters. On the back office side, you started out with Coastal FLOWCAL for gas meters, right?
Weldon: Are you starting to see paths cross? How much of your business is in the field now is field testing for gas as opposed to liquids? Are you starting to see back office services on the liquid side?
Jayson: We have customers that we do everything from the gas meters to the liquid meters, to the back office, to the running of the samples, and all the way to some regulatory reporting that may have to get done. There’s a big trend that we’ve been, over the last five years, have been processing and validating the liquid data from these liquid meters in the FLOWCAL.
The gas meters and FLOWCAL been there for probably 25, 30 years. We’ve been processing gas meters inside the FLOWCAL. Slowly, we’re starting to do more and more liquid meters. Of course, there’s not as many out there.
For a few years, it was a challenge to try and get that data in the FLOWCAL, but we’ve crossed that barrier, and SCADA systems are now collecting what’s needed to go into FLOWCAL.
We’re starting to see crude, water, NGLs all coming into FLOWCAL. FLOWCAL is able to validate that data, do any recalculation that needs to be done and then push that data down to whatever is needed for final processing whether it’s into accounting systems, system balancing, allocations, whatever is needed. That’s picked up a lot.
Weldon: Water and CO2 are the two great frontiers for us on the measurement side. Water is something we ignored. If we ever had to guess on barrels every month, we used to think that was good enough. Now, we have AGA, API rather, on the verge of releasing a new standard to produce water. It’d be called…what do they call it? A reference document or something like that? Initially, but they’ll let a standard out on that before long.
A lot of different areas, a lot of changes there for third party measurement processors.
Jayson: It’s exciting new opportunities, new services that we can provide in order to, like I said earlier, measure as accurately as we can across the whole platform.
Weldon: I think that one of the key takeaways is that there is help for companies out there. I’ve seen this for years. I’ve worked all around measurement from the integration side, to managing a pretty fair sized back office operation, to managing field and SCADA operations.
That’s one thing you’ve heard a lot is that resource battle for the resources to get it done properly. As we mentioned earlier in this discussion, “the experience” has probably become a new thing for us, even though we’ve known it’s going to be happening.
I remember having the first discussions about this in the late ’90s, we were like, “Oh, so just stick our heads in the sand. We really didn’t fix anything.”
That’s the demand that I’ve seen from companies across the board. “Hey, we have one person here. That is our settlement accountant, and they look at our gas volumes.” What does looking at gas volumes mean? If that means we just try to see if the analysis data is new, then they’re probably not doing business right. They’re not covering their due diligence. If a company is farming out that they are doing a third-party service for that. It’s hard to believe that the economics are there for not doing it at all, as opposed to paying a third party to do it.
Jayson: The big takeaway is that the misconception is it has to be either all or nothing. It can be any piece that you need some help with. It’s not an all or nothing issue. If it’s just one piece of your measurement process that you need some help in, then there are resources out there with the expertise and the knowledge that can help. What is your pain point? What are you trying to improve? Where do you need to tighten up on some of your measurement issues? There’s resources out there that can help you.
Weldon: I’m assuming, Jayson, that you all can spool up pretty quickly to help a customer. If you have a company that all of a sudden, in the air quotes here, “figures out they have a strong need for additional measurement help”, whether this be a measurement manager to oversee quality control or whether it’s just they’re short on analysts, the process of fixing that is slow.
It’s one thing to say, “I need to fill an open position.” If I need to say, “Hey, I need to get approval for a position, I need to create that, I may need to create a job description, now I need to go out and advertise, I need to interview, I’m going to fill that position,” are so many times, we think we’re going to save money and we’re going to hire someone new to the industry that needs a training.
All of a sudden, you’re putting months and months into being effective on that. I’m assuming in the case of Coastal, and other similar services companies, the job can be there and helping a customer in a couple of weeks potentially. Is that true?
Jayson: Absolutely. We try to keep a bench ready to go to help customers, but at the same time, we’re not going to promise something we can’t deliver. If it’s something that we don’t think we can do quickly enough, or maybe it needs to be a slow ramp up in order for us to get our resources lined up, then we’re going to work with you.
The important thing there is, what are the expectations, what is going to be needed, and then get all that documented and lined out so that at the end of the day we can be part of the success, help in your measurement process. We can ramp up pretty quick if need be. Like I said, we have been in business since 1974. We’ve seen a lot.
On the FLOWCAL side, we were the original users of FLOWCAL. We used it in house before it was commercially out there. We have measurement analysts that have been with us for 20 plus years. A lot of experience. We’ve seen a lot of different measurement errors. We’ve seen, put a set of eyes on, and corrected.
Weldon: This is a subject that after we got to talking about doing this podcast, especially during our conversation prior to starting recording, I see that there are some differences from what your take on it, what you say customers are asking for, and some of the concerns that I’ve been hearing out there.
The people that I’m in touch with most in the industry now are the measurement managers, the measurement directors, the guys on the standards committees. I’m in touch with those guys more than I am the people out in the field these days. A concern that I hear from that other side is somewhat different.
Not sure where that disconnect is, but I know especially when I start talking with the folks in the midstream business versus the folks in the pipeline business, you have smaller midstream companies that may operate with almost all third-party technicians out in the field.
I hear a concern from when it gets to the guys of the API committees, the folks of the pipelines, they become concerned because many times, they don’t think that their customers, the midstream companies delivering gas to them, they don’t think their customers have the experience anymore to manage measurement properly.
I don’t know whether that’s a perception, Jayson, a perception maybe that doesn’t have anything under the hood, or whether it’s really based upon some factual information.
Jayson: If we go back and look, hasn’t that always been the case? Measurement has always meant something different to each part of our business sector. The producers think of measurement a lot differently than midstreams. Midstreams and gatherers think of it differently. Pipelines think of it differently as well. Depending on who you’re talking to, you’re going to get a different perspective.
As a measurement company, all measurement matters to me. I want everything measured and I want it to be exact. That’s not the case with every customer. Every customer is different. Producers’ measurement needs are different from midstreams.
Weldon: Services companies that aren’t doing a good job, service companies that don’t have well trained technicians or well trained analysts, service companies that don’t have their own quality control in place, those people are not going to last long.
Weldon: I can remember, more years that I really want to talk about now, back before TESTit, in fact, the customer’s mostly had chart recorders at that point in time, but a company using a third-party calibration service. They wanted to see a little sticker with the technician’s name and the date on there. They want to see that affixed to the meter every time they go out to test.
You got what we call the “drive-by” meter test. You wanted to be able to get your truck close enough to the chart recorder, that you could open the door, change the chart, put the sticker on it, and drive away. The customer found out what was going on there, and you would have thought the world ended. The other side of the coin is that the services company was gone almost as soon as they started up, although they had a great price for the three or four months they were in operation.
Jayson: Reputation means so much in our industry because when you’re working with one particular customer, chances are at some point, that customer is going to pop up somewhere else. So much of our industry is recommendations and knowledge. Like I mentioned earlier, at Coastal Flow, if we’re not comfortable that we can provide the expectation of services, we’re going to let you know.
“Hey, this is not something we’re comfortable with. Let’s help you find someone that can do this,” because we know if we help them find the solution, whether it’s us or somebody else, then when they do need something that’s more in our wheelhouse, that they’re going to call us back because they’re going to remember that, ultimately, we’re just here to help them.
We’re a customer service company that specializes in oil and liquid gas measurement. That’s what we do. Reputation is huge.
Weldon: Cool. One last question, and then we’ll try to wrap this up. This is a thought that occurred to me as we talk here. If you want to beg out of answering this, by all means, do it.
Weldon: Do you have any feel…?
Of course, the economics of using a third-party versus your own people, that’s always one of the discussions. You can get into an argument about which is cheaper and more cost effective.
Do you have a feel, or what do you hear back from your customers, about the cost of using a third-party as opposed to their own technicians? Is there some break-even point for it, Jayson, or you have a feel for that?
Jayson: It comes down to what their needs are, what each company’s needs are. How they think about measurement. What their budget is. That’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but every situation is different. The field is a lot different than back office.
It’s hard. If you invest in FLOWCAL, it’s hard to hire a full time analyst if you have 100 meters that you’re processing. If you have 100 meters and it’s not a full time analyst, it’s a little bit more economical to outsource that.
When you get up to 1,000 meters, now, you can start looking at, does it make economic sense to have your own analyst? Then, it even goes a step further. Are you going to have your analyst doing some system balancing? How much communication back to the field is going to be done?
It all plays a role. There’s not one golden rule of if you have x amount, this is the point at which you can justify it. Every situation is different. That’s how you have to go into every project.
Weldon: With the back office, Jayson, there’s also…”That Number”, depending on the type of gas you have, the type of system – is it low pressure gathering? Is it transportation? – somewhere in that 800, 1,000, 1,500 on the top end probably, per analyst has been the rule for a lot of years.
There’s a tremendous difference in saying, “I want to move my analyst in-house,” if you have 1,000 meters, or if you have 3,000 to 5,000 meters.
If you have 1,500 meters, that’s a big job for one analyst. They’re going to be busy. You can’t afford, in our industry, to have one analyst. Maybe you do. Maybe you keep them chained to their desk, but that person is going to need vacation. They’re going to get ill occasionally.
When you get up to 3,000 meters, you’ve got three analysts, four analysts out there. Then you’ve got enough analyst that if somebody’s sick or whatever, the rest may be busy but they can get things done. That’s got to enter into the economics for companies also, doesn’t it?
Jayson: Absolutely. That’s why I’ve mentioned earlier about the creativity part of it, where if a company has two analysts, and they just don’t know if they need that third or not.
That’s when it makes sense to bring us in, let us help. We can ramp up or ramp down as needed. We can cover vacation. If anyone’s out for an extended period of time, then we can help. That’s why we’re starting to see that creativity in the business.
Weldon: There’s a huge difference between being able to close my X number of meters and being able to review, validate, and properly close those meters.
I’m sure you all have cases where a customer brings you all in, and the quality of their measurement improves, not solely because of the people you bring to the table, but for the fact that you now had the loading of meters per analyst balanced out better.
Jayson: In a perfect world, analysts could spend hours dissecting that data and really looking at every hour. With close out dates moving up and up and up every year, you have to balance that. FLOWCAL certainly helps by, “Hey, here’s an exception, take a look at that.” You’re not necessarily having to look at every hour’s worth of data.
It’s a balance. It’s a chore and it’s a load to try. Part art, part science of balancing the workload for analysts.
Weldon: I want to be respectful of your time, Jayson. We’ve gone over a couple minutes already here. Anything else you want to say in parting?
Jayson: A little bit, I guess. Just communication is key within your measurement department, office to field. You cannot replace that communication. Then, same thing with your measurement company.
You should be having routine communications on post-closeout experiences. Regular communication on what’s going on in the field. You would like to think everything was on those meter test reports and PROVEit reports. Sometimes, things get missed, so communicate, communicate, communicate.
Weldon: I couldn’t agree more, Jayson. Thanks a lot for being on the podcast, sir. We appreciate it.
Jayson: You’re welcome.
Weldon: Folks are going to hear some wisdom in this. We will have your information up, Jayson, on the transcripts and the show notes if anybody needs to contact you.
Jayson: Perfect. I appreciate the time, Weldon. I’ll be happy to join anytime.
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Transcription by CastingWords