Case Study: Power Utility

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Client

  • Major Northeast Power Utility
  • Urban, Rural, and Mixed Service Territory
  • Annual Revenues over $1 Billion
  • Highest Customer Service Ranking

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Background

The company had sold its generation business and was formulating strategic and tactical plans to succeed in the deregulated utility marketplace. Core client strategies were to focus on transmission, distribution, grow retail sales and add new services.

Our client consistently ranked high in customer satisfaction surveys. Clearly, with the threat of competition, and the potential that this competition would concentrate on more populated areas, leaving the company with the more rural, higher service cost areas, available efficiencies needed to be captured, while maintaining high customer satisfaction levels.

Keenly aware of the consolidation within the utility industry, our client also wanted to ensure that the operating models in place were using resources as effectively as possible to ensure stockholder value was maintained at its highest possible level. To do so required lower costs without a loss in service quality.

Key Issues

The strong safety and customer focused culture needed to be balanced with more effective work and management processes to ensure optimal resource utilization:

  • Crew resource utilization averaged 40% to 60%
  • Overtime and outside contractor usage was rapidly escalating and stressing union relationships
  • The existing Work Management System was under used, resulting in crew under loading
  • Supervisors lacked tools to plan and manage workflow.

Alignment throughout the organization was less than 40%, evidence that the client’s new strategies were neither understood nor shared by the management team or by the rank and file employees.

Executing the strategy was the problem, not the strategy itself.

Benefits/Strategic Results

We designed and implemented a plan to ensure that our client would obtain a return on its significant investment in the new strategy. Our consultants designed and implemented a new “Operating Model” in 10 District Service Centers.

  • 16% reduction in labor cost (overtime and contractors)
  • 12% increase in completed work orders /month
  • 22% improvement in planned work completions