Transforming repair planning & despatch to improve field team productivity resulting in 75% improvement in right-first-time planning


The challenge 

Unipart Consultancy were asked to design and  implement a transformational change programme  for one of the world’s biggest Utilities companies. 

Tasked with embedding Operational Excellence (OpEx) throughout our customer, Unipart focused on building capability within teams to drive sustainable continuous improvement via workshops, in the line training,  creative problem solving and coaching through one to one feedback and lean embedding measure audits (LEMs). 

Our customer faced a number of external pressures  from the regulator and other stakeholders, as well  as internal issues. These gave rise to several  explicit and implicit needs to raise the performance  of the Repair Planning & Despatch process across  all their networks. Customers were dissatisfied with job completion times and local government were also challenging  the client on the duration of streetworks and overruns.  A worrying amount of time was being wasted on  the re-work of daily plans, placing a high-workload  on Network Supervisors. There was low confidence that plans were being created ‘right first-time’.

How we helped 

Engagement sessions were held with Network  Supervisors from all network areas to understand the  issue. A weeklong kaizen event was held to understand  the process and to identify the root causes of issues  within the process. Representatives from all stages of  the end-to-end process attended to provide insight  and ideas for improvement that were built into a new  process that applied the following design principles: 

  • Demand driven 
  • Clear accountabilities and adherence to standard work 
  • 21-day planning cycle – planning methodology,  underpinned by accurate reactive workload  forecast – to ensure effective balance of demand and supply to generate a productive plan
  • Process automation
  • Performance monitoring – integration with  Operational Excellence programme for post-day  reviews; workplace audits and control matrix to  provide assurance

Benefits

Significant improvements were delivered in both customer service and productivity levels;

  • 35% reduction in mean age of completed jobs,  from 68 to 42 days 
  • 93% reduction in same-day changes to the resource plan by Network Supervisors 
  • 75% improvement in right-first-time planning 
  • Reduction of planning time by 1 hour a day per Supervisor (re-planning workload) to enable  focus on value-add activities out in the field 
  • Increased OpEx practitioner capability by 16% 
  • The success of the project has led to the  solution being rolled out to all network areas

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