Centrica – Smart Planning

Posted by Laura Mattin on September 22, 2012

A pilot to test the use of ‘smart planning’ processes

The Challenge

As part of the Centrica Group, British Gas are the UK’s leading energy and home services provider. Through their Central Heating Installations team (CHI), over 500 central heating systems are fitted each day across the UK making them the market leaders in Europe. With a centralised support office in Stockport, Manchester, 1400 CORGI accredited installers are supported nationally across the end-to-end work management process.

Coordinating 110,000 central heating installation a year, the ability to achieve a step-change in operational efficiency had been held back by a heavily regimented scheduling process and reliance on paper-based work orders. Within the Planning team, inflexible systems and work prioritisation processes had suppressed  the ability to optimise work schedules and efficiently utilise the mobile workforce. Operationally, receipt of work orders and job completion data on paper had caused a reliance on field managers to coordinate the field force and to ensure that customer satisfaction was achieved. This led to a reactive management style, ‘fire-fighting’ behaviours and negative customer feedback.

Our Solution

Applying our innovative ‘Transformation Approach’ we captured an in-depth understanding of CHI’s processes, systems, cultural behaviours and customer feedback.

Working in partnership with CHI employees at all levels, we created a pilot environment to test the use of ‘smart planning’ processes, first-time deployment of hand-held devices and effective use of real-time field data to proactively support field management.

Through open-working, adopting new practices and trialing mobile technology, we were able to:

  • Demonstrate the value of optimising the work schedule process through application of ‘smart planning’ techniques
  • Strengthen the working relationships between field-based and back-office support teams
  • Undertake first-time systemisation of the field-based employees through tailored training and open communication
  • Test the value of issuing electronic work orders, attaining visibility of work-in-progress and effectively capturing job completion data
  • Utilise status updates and job completion data to improve performance management capabilities

Real Results

  • A sustained improvement in operational performance and customer experience
  • A marked increase in resource utilisation and installer productivity through effective planning, proactive field management and responding to events as they changed, not after
  • Real desire by everyone involved to be successful and to help move the company forwards

“Leadent brought knowledge and pragmatism to our installation efficiency programme, which really helped us deliver rapid results”

Central Heating Business Development Manager