As with any other operation in our industry, business did slow down as the new landscape was being assessed. Large drops in both air and land travel resulted in significant reductions in energy demand and production, which caused many to proceed from 2020 into 2021 with a strong amount of caution. However, the fundamentals of the energy business have not changed. Measurement skids and pipelines still need to be constructed, and there is no alternative way to physically make it happen.
Without a doubt, our biggest challenge was ensuring the safety of our staff, vendors, and anyone delivering material into our facility. We implemented strict sanitation processes throughout our office, placed a moratorium on visitors, and allowed only essential personnel to come into work, while the rest of our staff works from home. In our warehouse we created a delivery and pickup quarantine zone at the entrance, and a driver sign-in station with hand sanitizer. We’ve also implemented an office mask use policy that complies with all regional health requirements.
Like everyone else in oil and gas, all of our staff have well-rounded training in occupational health and safety, which allowed CPA to become COVID-compliant quickly, safely, and easily. Our industry simply had to become more aware of new, different personal risks, safety procedures, and protective equipment.
Communication with customers new and old also changed, with our business development team being most affected. Before COVID we travelled to trade shows throughout North America on a very regular basis, however, since the beginning of the pandemic, no show that was on our schedule has gone ahead. No one on our team has travelled for work and no one has set foot on a plane, which is a big change from how we had worked in the past.
And yet, it quickly became clear that we don’t need to be in the same room as the customer to provide top-notch support and service. Connecting virtually has allowed our sales techniques to become more efficient and cost-effective. Our team now operates exclusively online and interacts with our clients via Zoom, Microsoft teams, webinars, and regular sales calls instead of in-person meetings. We’ve also set up a presentation booth in our office, that looks exactly like our on the road trade show booth, which allows us to engage live on camera at online trade shows in almost the same manner as at a physical show.
The rest of our team capitalized on the change of pace to put more focus into our R&D, as well as streamlining internal processes and product development. The COVID re-calibration has allowed CPA some headroom to continue to create industry-leading pipeline products and research.
If there’s one “secret” to our work in the past year, it’s been the ability to keep a positive mental attitude throughout our organization. By doing our best to adapt to new technology and continue to support our customers and clients, we’ve been able to provide top-notch service throughout a very trying time.