Established 1977
Best Practices Initiatives
Recently completed best practice initiatives
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Balancing Fuel Supply Risks-Level 2
Driving needs: Fuel managers and their corporate stakeholders are faced with escalating challenges to prudently balance fuel price fluctuations and supply uncertainties. New and improved solutions are needed in at least one of the following seven areas at many power producers: -highly volatile markets, new sources, logistics, strategic partnerships, inventory management, organizational alignment, supportive information/reporting systems.

Core issues:
  • Dampening fuel price and supply volatility
  • Identifying and prudently balancing physical and financial commodity-procurement risks
  • Gaining senior management support of risk management financial instruments
  • Identifying, developing and implementing creative fuel sourcing and transportation (including rail and other ground transportation) alternatives
  • Integrating and leveraging logistics' alternatives into fuel supply strategies and tactics
  • Establishing mutually beneficial collaborative partnering relationships and arrangements
  • Applying IT tools and processes for effectively forecasting and planning fuel supplies
  • Optimally balancing commodity inventories around supply, cost, contractual and physical handling issues
  • Achieving internal cross-organization alignment and teamwork in accomplishing corporate fuel management goals and objectives
  • Developing, implementing and gaining widespread acceptance of fuel management decision support and reporting information systems
  • Establishing realistic fuel procurement and management goals
  • Implementing a best practice fuel procurement and management decision-making process
  • Assessing and managing vendor performance
  • Evaluating and measuring the performance of fuel management organizations and people
  • Motivating, holding accountable and rewarding fuel management people for producing the right results
Best-practices companies: Anheuser-Busch, Burlington Northern Santa Fe  Railway Company, Clorox, CNX Marine Terminals, Dofasco, Eastman Chemical, Goodyear, PPG Industries, Southwest Airlines, Timken
Building First-Line Supervision Excellence - Part 2
Driving need: The first-line supervisor is often not considered an integral part of the management team, resulting in lost opportunities for building the engagement and enhancing the performance of hourly people.

Core issues:
  • Defining first-line supervision selection criteria (e.g., balance of interpersonal and technical skills)
  • Developing first-line supervisory compensation practices and plans that help make the job attractive to leading hourly employee candidates
  • Defining the first-line supervisor’s role (e.g., “boss,” coach/counselor…)
  • Identifying the best candidates
  • Establishing the fairest and most reliable selection process
  • Gaining acceptance of new first-line supervisory roles
  • Involving first-line supervisors in aligning union/management interests and goals
  • Fully integrating first-line supervisors in the change management planning and implementation process
  • Making first-line supervisors business literate
  • Mentoring/coaching new first-line supervisors
  • Defining practical first-line supervision spans of control
  • Modellingfirst-line supervision safety behavior
  • Delineating results-focused first-line supervisory authority and accountability levels
  • Making first-line supervisors effective communicators of corporate messages
  • Appropriately involving first-line supervisors in employee discipline matters
  • Establishing the first-line supervisory position as a career-development opportunity in succession planning, not a dead-end job
  • Providing on-going first-line supervision developmental training
  • Implementing the processes and measures for evaluating first-line supervisory performance
  • Making the first-line supervisor a developer of hourly worker talent
  • Replacing the aging first-line supervisory workforce
Best-practices companies: Cooper Industries, Cummins, Eli Lilly, FedEx, Hubbell, Lowe's, Northrup Grumman, United Airlines, UPS, Worthington Industries

Making Technology Co-Development a Profitable Reality
Driving need: Utilities have a poor track record in collaborating with outside partners to successfully commercialize new-technology-based products for improving asset performance.

Core issues:
  • Proactively engaging suppliers, peer companies, customers and others in new technology co-development efforts
  • Gaining earlier access to new technologies
  • Building stronger alignment of new technology opportunities with nearer-term business-unit objectives
  • Establishing value-demonstration measures
  • Gaining greater visibility throughout the organization of new technology endeavors
  • Enhancing corporate profits from earlier and more effective use of new technology-based products
  • Identifying pathway connections to new co-development opportunities
  • More completing aligning new technology expectations of business units with delivered value
  • Preparing co-development contracts that meet prudent standards
  • Holding co-developers accountable for results
  • Developing a total business perspective for maximizing tangible value from technology transfer/acquisition expenditures
  • Designing a complete technology co-development process model
Best-practices companies: ABB, Albemarle, BP, Clorox, IBM and GE


Getting the Most with a Lean Hourly Workforce
Driving need: Several converging factors are challenging utilities to sustain high levels of hourly workforce performance.

Core issues:
  • Engaging hourly employees identifying and capitalizing on improvement opportunities
  • Replacing an aging hourly workforce
  • Building bench strength for critical skills jobs
  • Developing first-line supervisory leadership skills
  • Transferring knowledge of incumbent employees
  • Aligning union-management goals
  • Hiring and keeping the best people
  • Establishing business literacy
  • Providing the best performance-maximization training and tools
  • Linking compensation to performance
  • Holding front-line employees and supervisors accountable
  • Building two-way trust
  • Managing demographic, intergenerational and diversity issues
Best practice companies: BellSouth, Cooper Industries, Eaton, Georgia Pacific, Hubbell, Nucor, Peabody Energy, Southwire, Springfield ReManufacturing, Valero Energy

Replacing an Aging Workforce
Driving need: The large number of employees retiring from utilities over the next ten years requires the implementation of well-planned and coordinated aging workforce initiatives.

Core issues:
  • Retiring the right people; keeping the right people
  • Managing generation gaps
  • Managing and transferring employee knowledge
  • Recruiting and developing workforce replacements
  • Building bench strength for strategic and critical skills jobs
  • Helping people to retire
  • Providing retirement financial planning consultation
  • Creating an exciting work environment
  • Implementing flexible and phased retirement programs
  • “Rehiring” retired employees
  • Working with schools to provide a continuous pipeline of potential new employees
  • Developing realistic and attractive pay, benefits and retirement plans
Best practice companies: Aflac, Herman Miller, Northrop Grumman, Timken, UPS

Managing Emergencies
Driving need: Utilities must ensure that they are doing everything possible to optimize responses to emergencies—caused both nature and people.

Core issues:
  • Defining organizational responsibilities for emergency management
  • Developing comprehensive emergency management checklists
  • Establishing complete, well-documented emergency planning and response manuals
  • Building top-quality internal resources and emergency response processes and systems
  • Developing seamless management processes and emergency response systems with outside organizations
  • Educating the public and customers on emergency response procedures
  • Communicating the right message to all external and internal constituencies, both during and after an emergency
Best Practice Companies: American Airlines, ATA, City of Seattle, Lucent Technologies, Northrop Grumman, SCANA

Mining External Research
Driving need: Utilities require significantly better articulated processes for transferring and acquiring new technology for improving asset performance.

Core issues:
  • Establishing the role of technology acquisition in the business
  • Developing executive support and leadership
  • Identifying new technology needs
  • Establishing and managing external technology development relationships
  • Establishing the internal talent and financial commitment to strategic technology acquisition
  • Managing technology development/acquisition processes
  • Measuring and evaluating results
  • Communicating technology acquisition activities and results
Best practice companies: Air Products, Boeing, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, General Electric, General Motors, Motorola

Getting and Keeping the Best People
Driving need: The turbulent times in the utility industry are making it increasingly difficult to hire the best talent at all levels of the organization and to retain the most talented people in the face of attractive outside opportunities.

Core issues:
  • Engaging the best people in feeling valued, appreciated and connected to the company’s success
  • Creating an exciting work environment that stimulates employees at every level of the organization
  • Equipping line managers with the tools they need to develop and keep their best people
  • Managing competition within the corporation for the best talent
  • Structuring total compensation packages
  • Using variable pay as a motivational and retention factor
  • Implementing effective career development processes
  • Attracting the right employees for the right jobs
  • Achieving an acceptable turnover rate for the best employees
  • Meeting employee diversity goals
Best practice companies: Aflac, Deere & Company, General Electric, Hershey Foods, Johnson & Johnson, Mayo Clinic, Nucor, SAS Institute, Springfield ReManufacturing

Making Reliability a Profitable Reality
Driving need: Emerging competitive pressures and continuous cost pressures on utility power plants require the most effective and efficient processes and systems for maintaining operating equipment and controls.

Core issues:
  • Selecting the most viable overall equipment maintenance philosophy
  • Establishing balanced plant reliability and cost-performance goals
  • Selecting and implementing the types and complexity of enabling processes and tools that will optimize maintenance and financial results
  • Optimizing maintenance operating and financial results
  • Engendering a “nuts-and-bolts” culture
  • Organizing and staffing maintenance management and support services
  • Driving accountability down to plant-floor employees
  • Attracting, developing, training and rewarding (professional and craft) people
  • Implementing a high-performance maintenance workforce
  • Outsourcing selected maintenance activities
  • Engaging vendor and alliance partners
  • Measuring results
  • Abandoning ineffective maintenance management tools and systems
  • Gaining acceptance of the changes necessary to create a dramatically different maintenance management philosophy
Best practice companies: Anheuser-Busch, Bowater, British Petroleum, Calpine, Dofasco, Eastman Chemical, Kellogg, Brown & Root, Sony, Timken, United Airlines

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