Cat Oil & Gas Solutions

Jim Cue

Business Development Manager

“We help our customers turn data into knowledge. Today, a lot of our customers collect data but they really don't do anything with it. They don't have the tools or people to do it, so that's where we step in. We’re helping them make informed decisions on maintenance, repairs and the performance of their equipment.”


From day to day, what do you take on in your role at Caterpillar?

My main focus is dealer development, which means relaying our strategy for Cat® Connect to our dealers, getting them up to speed and enabling them to help us sell Cat Connect to our customers. I work in product development and strategy. Basically, I’m an expert on Cat Connect and how to sell it.

What do you like best about the job?

I'm kind of a tech nerd. I like the technology. The thing that makes it really fun is using this to actually help customers do something good with it. I've seen projects where technology is used just for the sake of it and it doesn't really help out customers. But with Cat Connect, we're actually using the technology to really make a difference, and we have a lot of proven results from it.

What is Cat Connect?

Cat Connect is a new set of services focused on equipment management, productivity, safety, and sustainability. Offerings include Product Link™ Web, Advanced Condition Monitoring, and Productivity Optimizer for Gas Compression. These services will help our customers reduce O&O costs and increase profits.

What kind of tools and solutions are customers looking for?

They're looking for anything to help them save money, especially with the current climate in the oil and gas business. It’s down significantly so customers are trying to do more with less. It's actually good timing for us because that's what we're trying to convey – that we can help them save money by using technology, and we can provide services to help them use that data to lower costs.

What does Cat Connect offer a customer?

We give them tools they can use to do the analysis that they can’t do themselves. We offer several services to them. Between Caterpillar and our dealers, we can actually do the analysis and fleet management for them, and in the end this really lowers their costs and increases their profits.

How does Cat Connect proactively take care of maintenance needs?

Customers can analyze the data to determine the condition of their equipment. While looking for changes in the data, and what things are changing, you can determine if something needs to be repaired or replaced ahead of time. Alternatively, Cat Advanced Condition Monitoring uses complex computer analytics to provide advanced warning of impending maintenance needs or failures. We can then provide recommendations on the next steps and how to fix the issue. Product Link web also features a maintenance module that alerts you when it's time for the next maintenance.

How does this technology reduce operating costs?

One of the biggest cost savings is that it reduces trips to the site. A lot of sites in the oil and gas industry are unmanned or don't have trained technicians. And typically things fail and break when someone's not there. With Cat Connect, we can predict when a failure is going to happen, so if you have planned downtime coming, you can fix it. Or if something does break, we can take a look at the data remotely and determine what repairs are needed, so the technician knows what parts to bring to the site. Those trips get expensive. We've had customers who have gone from five or six call-outs per week to three call-outs over six months. That's quite a bit of savings. So these technologies increase uptime?

Yes, because a well-maintained piece of equipment will break down less frequently. Also, we can detect when problems are going to happen well in advance so customers can do more efficient downtime planning. It’s always cheaper to catch a problem before it happens.

How does Cat Connect give customers the services they want without paying for extras they don't need?

We know we have a range of customers. Some do it all themselves – their own maintenance, repairs and overhauls. And then you have customers at the opposite end of the spectrum who want us to do everything for them.

We set up Cat Connect around all types of customers. We have services that provide just data with tools so they can do the analysis themselves. And then we have services where we can team up with the dealer and customer to provide a maintenance contract where the dealer would provide the maintenance and monitoring for that piece of equipment. In short, we can tailor our services to the needs of each customer.

So it's customized by individual need.

That's exactly right. Every customer is different and they're going to have unique needs and wants, but our offerings are modular, so we can pick and choose and give them an effective solution.

What does Product Link offer to your customers?

If you think of Cat Connect as a toolbox, Product Link is one of the fleet management tools. It keeps track of their equipment and its location. They can look at how much fuel they use and it gives them different ways of analyzing that data. They can view basic efficiencies of their operation and make smart decisions based on the information.

Product Link comes with all 3500 size engines and above. We're working on getting it placed on 99 percent of our offerings across all oil and gas segments.

For those products that are out in the field today, we can offer the Product Link box as a retrofit kit. Not only does it work on Cat equipment, it works on non Cat equipment as well. Our team can get a piece of equipment set up in about two hours.

Why is Cat telematics superior to others on the market?

It’s not that we collect the data, it's what we do with that data. That really sets us apart from most of our competition. It’s taking the data and turning it into knowledge, so we can provide recommendations for all of our customers’ equipment. Not just the engines but also anything attached to them. We can do it for transmissions, frac pumps, generators, and compressors – basically anything you can give us data for. We also provide a tool that can optimize gas compressors. None of our competitors can do all of this like we can.

How does Product Link help customers get more from their fleet?

Having a connection is very important when you have sites all over the world. In a lot of these places, you may not have a cell or even a landline connection. They need to have a satellite connection so that no matter where they are, we have access to that data. Satellite data is typically the most expensive so cell coverage is important, too. Product Link can send information via satellite or cellular, then switch back and forth to whichever signal is available. We set ourselves up so that we can collect the data no matter where it is.

What does the Cat Productivity Optimizer do?

It's a fleet management tool that focuses on what’s important to gas compression customers: the compressor. We can see how each compression package is performing, and tell them how they could be producing more gas. It can show them that if they go out and optimize their compressor for each one of these stations, they can be making hundreds of thousands dollars more a day.

To do it the old way for each compressor package would take about a half a day to figure out how to optimize it. If you have a fleet of 100 compressor packages, you're not going to do that very often.

Previously, customers had to adjust their compressors and engines to be able to account for pressure variations. We've created a program that does it automatically within seconds. Each morning, they can take a look at their entire fleet and realize when their compressor isn’t optimized and should be changed.

If you're talking about seconds versus a half a day, that’s a huge difference.

Yes.

What does the Cat suite of services give customers that competing solutions cannot?

It gives them the tools to make good decisions and to turn data into knowledge. Also, we have the strength of the Cat dealerships behind us and, together, we can go on to make recommendations on how to improve things. We provide a service, rather than just providing a tool.

When you're talking to customers, how do you find the solutions that are best for them?

The first thing we talk about is, “Are you collecting data? What are you doing with it? Are you actually looking at it?” And it's funny – on several occasions customers have said, 'Yeah, we're collecting data but it just sits there and maybe if something breaks we'll go take a look at it, but probably not.” (laughs). So we just start digging into it to find out exactly what they need. And from there we can provide an offering for them.

Are there common questions that you hear from customers?

One of the biggest questions that is actually pretty interesting is who owns the data. Their equipment is providing all the data we're taking in. The way we view it is, the customer owns that data. It's theirs, they can have it and they have access to it at any time. We don't have any problem with that, which is actually counter to some of our competitors in the field who say they own the data and customers have to pay them for it.

Where is Caterpillar going next with this technology?

We're trying to focus more on providing services to our customers and partnering with them, rather than just selling product. And the way we do that is improving our data collection, analysis and recommendations to really focus on helping customers increase profits.

If customers are interested in these products, where should they go?

The best way to do that is to talk to their local dealer. We also have some good information on Cat Productivity Optimizer and Cat Connect Solutions.

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