An Australian listed company in the gas sector engaged Newport Consulting to examine its existing business improvement initiatives and identify other opportunities for improving operations including field maintenance, capital works, planning and engineering, plus administration and support functions.
The organisation had operations in three states and essentially was operating as silos with different business models, processes and systems. The challenge was to unify these operations into a nationally consistent business model with streamlined work processes and controls.
After a comprehensive review of the business, we identified three key areas to address that would fundamentally deliver a streamlined operation and consistent way of doing business.
We first developed and implemented nationally consistent work processes. This work involved reviewing the 12 key business processes (very different in each state), reengineering the processes and gaining agreement in each state on the changes. Once agreement was reached the new processes were rolled out supported by new procedures, work practices and training.
We then tackled the restructure of the organisation resulting in more streamlined state based business which are nationally consistent. Teams where rationalised including team size, span of control and levels of management.
Following this, we implemented a Management Operating System (MOS) to improve productivity and reduce costs. The focus was to develop time and quality standard in order to plan and schedule work, execute according to the plan and manage variances to the standards as the work is executed. A significant change that was required was in frontline management behaviours. This resulted in increased levels of supervision, problem solving and corrective actions. A comprehensive education and coaching programme ensured that there was structure and support during the change process.
The overall success of the project was measured in both tangible financial benefits and intangible improvements in operational discipline and structure of the business. The financial benefits exceeded the initial target by approximately 30%. The intangibles however provided the business with a platform for ongoing growth and increased certainty in delivering sustainable results.