Nuclear UtilityNuclear plant significantly improves resource utilization without compromising safety or quality

DB&A Business Consulting nuclear power

Client is one of the nation’s largest nuclear plants. They are committed to nuclear safety with a continuous focus on improving plant operations.

Senior leaders were concerned about the gaps in managerial and frontline supervisory skill sets and engaged DB&A to work side-by-side coaching and training them to improve work execution issues and to develop training and implementation of a continuous improvement process. Because DB&A has consulted in more than 25 percent of the nation’s nuclear facilities, Consultants were able to apply prior experience and lessons learned from other nuclear projects.

DB&A’s analysis approach covers a two week period. The first week is a thorough assessment of the operational culture and the business environment as it currently exists. DB&A discovered that the Client had a strong safety culture at the plant. Risk aversion was another aspect of the management culture.

DB&A also provided information that formed a clear picture of the problems and opportunities that existed in the organization. One of the primary areas of opportunity was “lost time” which can be categorized as obvious (e.g. crew waiting on a work package to be printed) or hidden (e.g. the work methods do not follow the procedure). The main difference between the two is that obvious lost time can be observed by anyone without technical knowledge and hidden lost time requires management expertise to identify it.

During the second week of the Analysis, DB&A defined a customized approach that was used to realize the opportunities that were identified during the first week of the Analysis. DB&A focused on the areas of Maintenance, PMPI, Engineering and the Work Control Group.

The implementation involved DB&A Consultants working on-site to improve productivity and effectiveness in getting work accomplished. One-on-one coaching of frontline managers encompasses 85% of DB&A’s model. The DB&A team consisted of one project manager and 14 Consultants.

DB&A looked for barriers to production by working elbow-to-elbow with managers and supervisors in the field every day. Through 300 initial observations and follow-up tours, Consultants–in collaboration with managers and supervisors–identified more than 450 hours of lost time involving approximately 2,000 hours of scheduled work.

Because safety was a top priority of the Client, DB&A Consultants looked for opportunities to increase productivity without compromising worker safety or quality.

DB&A expanded the management team’s capabilities. Below are productivity improvements within two specific areas. These improvements reduced the backlog, overtime, and labor hours required to get the work done.

52% Improvement in Maintenance:

  • Base Productivity 52%
  • Actual Productivity 79% 116%

Improvement in Engineering:

  • Base Productivity 64%
  • Actual Productivity 138%

In several of the Client’s work groups, they were completing twice as much work as before DB&A arrived.

Financial Results

DB&A completed the project with $13.5MM in total annualized savings while achieving 737% of the guaranteed savings.

“We partnered with the DB&A team to develop and implement tools that have helped us improve our schedule loading and resource utilization. Without compromising safety or quality, they have helped us identify and eliminate barriers to getting work done. With DB&A’s assistance, we have implemented tools that help us track and document lost time, identify barriers and process vulnerabilities and improve our overall performance.”

–Chief Nuclear Officer

“The partnership with DB&A has enabled us to modify some entrenched behaviors, and to sharpen our focus on recognizing and addressing process vulnerabilities. These behavior changes are allowing us to approach our work more intentionally and effectively. Ultimately, these changes provide a foundation that allows us to achieve long-term excellence in a safe and effective operation.”

–Engineering Supervisor