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Case Study – Anglian Water

Feb 19 • Case Studies, Features, Management • 3753 Views • No Comments on Case Study – Anglian Water

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Anglian Water is the largest water and waste water company in England and Wales by geographic area, operating 1,257 water and waste water treatment works, with over 112,000km of pipework across 27,500km.  Anglian Water services more than 6 million domestic and business customers in the East of England and Hartlepool.

Anglian Water had an established ClickSoftware Scheduling system in place. With more than 15,000 jobs per day being deployed to 1,300 Field Engineers, it was essential that the schedules were as optimised as possible. To ensure they were getting the most out of the system they turned to Leadent Solutions a management consulting company specialising in mobile workforce management.

Perceived poor performance led the scheduling staff to mistrust the automated scheduling functionality. Analytics showed that this had led to 70% of jobs being manually scheduled, which accounted for approximately 300 hours per week.

Anglian Water’s senior managers were aware that they were not optimising their schedules, often seeing ‘white space’ on the Gantt – effectively idle time for Field Engineers.  System changes introduced over a seven year period had added complexity to the system to the point that it really didn’t appear to be working well.

With the benefit of hindsight it was clear that necessary change management rigour had not always been applied. Perceived poor performance led the scheduling staff to mistrust the automated scheduling functionality. Analytics showed that this had led to 70% of jobs being manually scheduled, which accounted for approximately 300 hours per week.

Previous investigations had highlighted issues with data, processes, and Scheduler behaviours.  The Operations Management Team took this feedback on board but also wanted to understand the level of integrity of the system set-up and configuration. As a long-standing partner of Anglian Water we were asked to draw on our niche expertise, and asked to undertake an independent review of the system.

Leadent undertook a 6 week programme of work to review the scheduling system.  Before focusing on technical issues they:

  • Worked with the Operations Management Team to understand business needs and goals
  • Spent time with the Scheduling Team to better understand their viewpoint and working practices

Their Technical Consultants then completed a detailed review of the system set-up and configuration.  Issues were shared with Scheduling Team to validate initial findings.

The full technical review showed that over time the system set up and configuration had become:

  • misaligned to business goals and processes
  • overly complex, often with conflicting elements

It was clear why the system was not performing optimally, explaining in part why confidence levels in the Scheduling Tool had reached rock bottom.

Emma Newman, Managing Consultant at Leadent Solutions who led the review said “taking time to understand the current position at Anglian Water opened up a series of questions that prompted the team to really start to re-focus and re-address what good looked like ‘today’. Not what was, or what has been, but what is needed now in order to ensure their system continued to support the organisation as effectively as possible, and was properly aligned to future business initiatives and objectives.

“Conducting an overall assessment of configuration and technical set up will always unearth the opportunity to make an improvement of some kind. Taking a proper look under the bonnet and making sure workforce management configuration is working to drive the correct business objectives is vital in making sure you are getting the most out of the tool you have invested so heavily in.

Best practice and process adoption is born out of confidence and trust in the solutions that are in place, which was something that was starting to diminish at Anglian Water.

We were able to clearly identify the current position, and have understood where the Anglian team want and need to be. Recommendations on how to get there meant that we could help to re-focus their minds on best practice and make sure that the system configuration became relevant to their day to day workforce planning operations.”

Richard Cartwright, Technical Consultant at Leadent Solutions said “Conducting an overall assessment of configuration and technical set up will always unearth the opportunity to make an improvement of some kind. Taking a proper look under the bonnet and making sure workforce management configuration is working to drive the correct business objectives is vital in making sure you are getting the most out of the tool you have invested so heavily in.

If your business changes, the technology has to be re-assessed to make sure it is still working for you and not against you, and in some cases with Anglian, configuration had ended up in a position where it was definitely going against the grain in some areas of the business.”

During our time on site at Anglian Water, we were able to take time to ensure that employees involved in scheduling activities were trained in best practice techniques, as well as up-skilling the third party IT service provider to ensure on-going support was in place.

At the end of the six weeks, a comprehensive report was compiled and presented back to Anglian Water.  The report enabled the business to understand the systems and business processes that were in place, how this compared against others in their sector and industry best practice.  The report also gave clear and specific advice on the remedial action required to maximise their investment and support their on-going strategic goals.

The recommendations made in the report were completely endorsed by the Operations Management Team.   Working with the Scheduling Team and broader business, we were asked to make all necessary changes to the system set-up and configuration.

Ian Rule, Head of Anglian Water’s Operational Management Centre said of the review: “Leadent Solutions have demonstrated their extensive expertise in both scheduling systems and workforce management.  The in-depth review and improvement plan has shown us that they not only understand the complex technical aspects, but also the business – its needs and goals.  Their no-nonsense approach has ensured that we have been given the right information to make essential decisions.  They have delivered where others have failed.”

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