May 14, 2010
There are many issues that companies face every day that could potentially be managed in a different way. The issue that I would like to review is an issue that is in the forefront of the news these days. It is hard to say when there might be some sort of resolution to this issue, based on the size and impact to the environment and economy. The most recent issue occurred on April 20, 2010. This was when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sunk into the Gulf of Mexico 2 days later. Along with this explosion, there were 11 people reported missing and are assumed dead. The larger problem that British Petroleum has experienced since this explosion is a blow out preventer (BOP) that failed. This failed BOP has caused a horrible oil leak that is gushing from the ocean floor. The initial estimates were that the leak would be around 1,000 barrels or 42,000 gallons per day. This number has since skyrocketed from the initial estimates. As of May 13, this number is now thought to be as high as 70,000 barrels per day, or 2,940,000 gallons. With the amount of oil that is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from this incident give it the potential to be the worst oil spill in US history. The previous largest oil spill in US history was the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill that occurred on March 24, 1989. As a comparison, the Valdez spill lost 250,000 barrels of oil, or 10,500,000 gallons. It was not until 1992 that the clean up from this spill was completed. From the estimated numbers, the current spill will eclipse the Valdez spill in only a matter of days. Given the fact that the Valdez spill took 3 years to clean up, we can only speculate as to how long it might take to clean up the effects of the Deepwater Horizon. The main problem that BP is immediately faced with is how to control and stop the Deepwater Horizon leak. There have been many suggestions as to what approach they should take.
British Petroleum has had to utilize the planning process and try to implement several different strategies since April 22, 2010. While the typical planning process might take several weeks or months, BP had to speed this process up. Their goal is to try and minimize the impact to the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding environment. Planning is necessary to help drive a structured process for making decisions about the goal they are trying to reach. There are 6 main steps involved in a formal planning process. The first step in the planning process is situational analysis. This first step most likely started for BP on April 20th after the explosion happened. This is when all relevant information about the plan is gathered, interpreted and summarized. For this situation, it most likely included studying past events, the current conditions and trying to forecast future events. The next step in the planning process is to review alternative goals and plans that might have been identified through the situational analysis. A goal is a certain target that is set by a manager that they hope to reach. The alternative goal that BP needs to try to achieve as quickly as possible is to stop the leak that is gushing from the ocean floor. The book Management: Leading & Collaborating in the Competitive World outlines a very helpful acronym to ensure you gather certain qualities in the goals you set. The acronym identified is SMART. This stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. There are parts of this acronym that are a little more sensitive for BP than some of the other pieces. The time bound is the part that sticks out in my mind. The longer it takes to contain the leak from the ocean floor, the larger the impact to the environment and to BP financially. As of May 13, the oil has been leaking from the Deepwater Horizon site for 24 days. It appears that BP has come up with many alternative plans to try and address and contain the oil leak that the failed BOP has...
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