Utilities are obliged to sustainably and proactively manage the environment where they work and this includes the reinstatement of road surfaces. Our client in the utility sector was facing on-going penalties and repeat work costs as a result of poor quality or temporary reinstatements following works. There were 3,700 failed inspections from 780 sites, with new cases being reported at around 15 per week. This more than outstripped their ability to resolve outstanding issues and the frequency of the problems escalated annually.
The exiting process focussed on ‘forward-and-forget’ – this meant that the focus was on outputs from individuals and the overall purpose of activities was lost. On the ground, teams became frustrated by repeated failures. Each team had a strong belief in their own ability to deal with issues, and the problem was always ‘somewhere else’, which hindered a long term resolution.
What we did
Using a commitment based management, Pathfinder strategic management consultants established two teams: one to deal with the 780 backlog cases, and one to concentrate on resolving any new cases rigorously. Our goal was to instill a new culture of action and a network of commitments that focused on achieving the right outcome the first time. This meant that no complaint or defect was ignored or any action delayed. To support the management and strategic planning of this process Pathfinder strategic planning consultants designed and implemented a commitment tracking tool that oversaw all activities, and coupled this with a jeopardy reporting tool.
With the dedicated backlog team and new commitment based approach, five hundred cases were resolved in six months. Coordination and case management improved considerably, resulting in a continuous reduction of backlog. Other improvements have been observed in reporting and agreeing resolution with Council Road Authorities. Also, the visibility of contractor performance allows remedial action to be taken quickly.