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Paul Stapleton

The power of change

Building the best delivery partnerships

The challenges facing new build programmes in both renewable and nuclear energy over the next decade are immense. Understanding the characteristics of partner organisations and the key parts of the supply chain will be key in achieving a positive outcome to major programmes.

“Profiling” has become a key tool in many walks of life and it is also important in the energy sector.
We are experiencing some interesting organisational changes in the UK and mainland European capital spend market for energy assets. Major utility companies are creating new delivery entities or morphing existing operational divisions to face off the potential bow wave of new build requirement.

These organisations are typically stretched in both capability and capacity and are often faced with short term priorities that stop them looking at the bigger picture. Consequently they are unable to effect an appropriate solution to their programmes of work that supports their business objectives.

The maturity curve

An immature programme delivery organisation often resorts to ad hoc resourcing. It will typically have few systems and processes and have limited engagement with its supply chain.

Many typical organisations have an over reliance on individual’s rather than an organisation’s knowledge. They have a compliant project service function rather than one that drives decision making; and they often focus on price not value delivered in the supply chain.

Firms that deploy a more mature approach have an integrated team where project services are a core business competence. They operate with a supply chain that is value aligned and incentive based. They may have already embraced business process re-engineering and lean techniques and show streamlined integrated systems and processes.

Meeting the challenges

But to meet the challenges of the next decade the winners will have to aspire to be “best in class” and show all the hallmarks of an intelligent client. The demands of upcoming programmes will need organisations to exemplify an established best in class new build capability in the UK and mainland Europe. The value chain must be based on integrated processes and systems. There will be a need for progressive assurance that increases predictability in delivery and a strong platform for continuous improvement across all projects.

Profiling is important, but it is just a first step in picking the right partners and forging robust supply chains with the best chance of delivery. In the new nuclear build and offshore wind markets particularly, it is key that client delivery organisations progress through the maturity curve since their programmes are of such scale that they are business critical to their parent organisations.

The importance of this journey is often not well understood and inhibits their ability to successfully deliver. Client delivery organisations are at the dawn of some exciting new build programmes but are they culturally in the right space to deliver our new future?

  • Paul Stapleton is head of energy at EC Harris

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