Earlier this year, we invested in Houston-based software company Kahuna Workforce Solutions. We were motived by, among other things, a long-running view of the angst that is the cyclicality of oil & gas and the devastation it causes on corporate self-understanding.
The old cliche is "What can't be measured can't be improved." Most companies have a general sense of their employees' competence and degree of proficiency. These perceptions are supported in part by hiring well-pedigreed candidates and persistently providing them training. But a real understanding eludes but for the most inquisitive managers. Could we imagine today a major league baseball team that operates with no understanding of the physics of their players: pitch velocity, pitch rotation, slugging percentage, tendency to pull the ball or go opposite field? MLB teams are built on exactly all of this information, but why not all companies? Are the stakes not high enough, is it too difficult to get the information?
Those who employ oilfield service companies are increasingly of the mind that the stakes ARE high enough. The frequency of industry ups and down has tightened the game to a point that opportunity is more momentary than it is cyclical. Based on this, operators have less time to win and want to know exactly what happens when they put subcontracted labor in the field. What exactly do I get when I put this person in that situation?
Kahuna is in the business of helping companies understand how good are their employees down to the task level. Oilfield services companies already capture this data as part of another process and Kahuna turns it into corporate advantage. At Houston Ventures we believe that operators are not going to continue to rely on name brand and resumes as the primary indicator of ability. In the future, if you want to quote business, you will be required to very specifically quote team performance by task and function. The stakes are just too high. To see what we see, have a look HERE. The concepts that define Kahuna apply way beyond oil & gas. If you have a feeling that you need to know, then you probably need to know.