Executive Summary

Following strong financial demands from the water regulator, Yorkshire Water needed to assess and find new ways to improve operational efficiency within its maintenance function. With BearingPoint’s Active Manager program, the company achieved higher productivity by empowering its managers to proactively lead their teams and enhance performance.

Understanding and scaling the operational challenge

Yorkshire Water provides water and sewerage services to 5.5m+ customers across a large urban and rural area in the UK. As a regulated monopoly supervised by Ofwat, Yorkshire Water was handed the most stringent financial targets since privatization as part of the latest pricing review in 2019.

Following an internal review, the maintenance function offered significant opportunities to drive cost-efficiencies. As a key part of the operation, this function contains 200+ field engineers maintaining and repairing 200,000+ operational assets, on 3000+ sites across the region. 

Building the foundation for higher operational performance

BearingPoint supported Yorkshire Water with an extensive Operational Review of their maintenance planning and scheduling function. This pinpointed critical challenges to address across the maintenance strategy, the front-line operation, the back-office teams, and supply chain and logistics activity.

Following this, BearingPoint leveraged the Active Manager program. A 12-week preparation phase covered a thorough review, redesign, and roll-out of a new interim operating model that focused engineers within dedicated proactive and reactive service teams. The spans of control were balanced by appointing 4 new managers, with managers supported by new KPI dashboards to enable performance monitoring and transparency. The management operating framework was also updated with robust activities and procedures established.

In the second phase, the Active Manager platform was tailored to the requirement and dedicated coaches were assigned to guide and support the first-line managers to deliver the behavioral and business performance targets. The managers were upskilled in using new tools and techniques that enabled running more effective meetings and identifying and addressing efficiency challenges. Over the course of the program, first-line managers’ performance was assessed against a competency framework, supported with feedback and action plans, which ultimately led to successful managers gaining their accreditation as Active Managers.

Enhancing performance through active engagement of managers

Following the deployment of the Active Manager program, Yorkshire Water recorded a 19% increase in productivity over the three-month engagement, measured through fully completed tasks per day across proactive and reactive maintenance. 

The program also ensured that both safety and quality standards were upheld and improved, reinforcing their pivotal role for the viability of Yorkshire Water’s water assets and the wellbeing of its employees and community. The operation recorded a 20% uplift in the completion of point of work risk assessments, and the largest volume of senior leader safety and quality audits.

Yorkshire Water now benefits from the sustainability of Active Manager, delivering even higher performance after the program completion. This has led to wider leadership development initiatives across the business.

The ActiveManager programme helped us achieve greater productivity and fast, which we needed to meet our business goals. The programme actually exceeded the benefits case. However, it did this in a way that upskilled our people, improved how we worked together, and made sure that safety and quality were always the first priority. It has changed how we work for the better.

Adam Ashman, Head of Engineering and Maintenance Services at Yorkshire Water

 

Client

Yorkshire Water manages the collection, treatment, and distribution of water in Yorkshire, operating more than 700 water and sewage treatment works and 120 reservoirs. The company looks after 62,000 miles of water and sewerage mains supplying around 1.24 billion liters of drinking water each day. At the same time, Yorkshire Water also collects, treats, and disposes of about 1 billion liters of wastewater safely back into the environment.

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