infrastructure sector curzon consulting water

Company-wide performance improvement at UK water utility

The issue

  • Ineffective incentive structure resulting in organisational silos & sub-optimal performance (in-house and contractors)
  • Limited long-term planning and investment as result of weak and inaccurate in-house Asset Knowledge
  • Legacy support services from merged smaller companies resulted in fragmented internal processes
  • Lack of job prioritisation and adequate planning leading to poor productivity & rework

What we did

  • Development and introduction of single performance management framework and incentive system to drive efficiency and customer focused culture
  • Implementation of an Asset Capability Centre focused on three capability areas: Physical Asset Management, Stewardship & Delivery; revalidated proposed Capex and ran adaptive approaches on costs
  • Implemented regulatory compliant Shared Services with revised governance, improved service levels and cost efficiencies
  • Redesign and implementation of new job initiation, planning and scheduling processes

infrastructure sector curzon consulting water

The results

  • 20m annualised improvement in Totex
  • Annualised Capex avoidance of c£18m throughout the regulatory period
  • Annualised Opex reduction of c.£3m
  • 25% reduction in shared service cost base
  • 20% productivity increase in Field work, 30% increase in RFT and 10% reduction in Customer Complaints

£20m

annualised improvement in Totex

£18m

annualised Capex reduction

3m

annualised Opex reduction

25%

reduction in shared service cost base

20%

productivity increase in Field work

10%

reduction in customer complaints

An award-winning team

Curzon consulting mca finalist 2019

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Improving yield management at a travel & leisure operator

The issue

  • A leading leisure travel group needed to make a change in Yield Management practice to optimise commercial outcomes
  • Profitability under strain due to increased competition and uncertain market conditions
  • A complex and out of date system eroded trust in Yield Management practice
  • Limited understanding of commercial impact of pricing decisions and a lack of operational control
  • No alignment behind informed vision to guide the development, deployment and industrialization
  • Capability gaps
  • Siloed understanding of the potential impact of digital technologies

What we did

  • Market analysis
  • Developed strategy & analytical model to explore critical aspects of Yield Management Operating Model
  • Developed blueprint roadmap to deliver vision & clear programme structure
  • Business transformation
  • Executive coaching
  • People & culture change
  • Flexible approach enabled client to retain ownership

The results

  • Estimates over next four years indicate cumulative improvements in gross margin, uplift in aircraft utilisation & increase in spend per customer
  • Improved cross-functional collaboration
  • Uplift in gross margins for last season
  • Commercial mindset taking hold in organisation

20M

exceeded the gross profit margin improvement target

25%

reduced customer loss

14%

reduction in operating costs

An award-winning team

Curzon consulting mca finalist 2019

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Curzon recognised for Innovation at MCA Awards

28th March 20191 Minutes

We are delighted that Curzon Consulting managing consultant Edem Eno-Amooquaye won Innovation Consultant of the Year 2019.

We were also finalists for Innovation in Digital and Technology and Performance Improvement in the Public Sector.

Edem’s work to deliver disruptive technology for Anglian Water, support Curzon colleagues and publish thought leadership for the wider sector earned him the top spot.

“Edem has redefined the role and amplified the value that management consultants can have in IT programmes. He has been critical to enabling the development of systems that significantly disrupt the water infrastructure value chain… He has transcended the role, shaped wider strategy for the company and become a trusted colleague.”

Iain Amis, Head of Developer Services, Anglian Water

MCA awards 2019 Curzon Innovation Digital
Curzon & Company, Anglian Water, Cognizant and Highways England

Edem thanked the supportive environment at Curzon that allows for innovation and his clients.

2019 marks the fifth consecutive year that Curzon Consulting, formerly Curzon & Company, have been successful at the prestigious awards. Congratulations to all of the other winners and finalists

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Driving performance in public sector infrastructure

21st March 20195 Minutes

Nigel Brannan highlights the importance of mastering the basics for a performance focused infrastructure organisation.

The performance challenge

Public sector organisations have long recognised the need to be more outcome and performance focused. While signalling the right intent, many struggle to translate desired outcomes into tangible outputs from their employees and suppliers.

A general ethos of reducing cost above all else compounds this challenge. Furthermore, the organisations often outsource the problem to a supply chain that is increasingly fragmented and under pressure to bid for contracts at very low margins. Suppliers then hope to make money from variations to the original contract that either were not or could not be specified up front, often taking advantage of their client’s poor planning, organisation or decision making.

The supply chain

Partnerships and collaborations are often touted as mechanisms for delivery assurance and improved performance but there are still significant inconsistencies in their effectiveness and practicality. The biggest challenge is usually to align organisations around incentives, which often involves increasing risk in exchange for higher profit, and ensuring that all parties are focused and organised around a common outcome. This is easier said than done.

For major, complex infrastructure projects, it extends beyond the physical construction effort to incorporate the planning and design phases. The public and political outcry at the spiralling cost of many high-profile programmes, or fear that they will overspend significantly, comes from a perceived inability to nail critical decisions, and plan and design in a reasonable timeframe. There are many political reasons why the champions of HS2, Hinckley Point C and Heathrow’s third runway continue to say those projects will deliver for the quoted costs, but the odds are that they will not.

The role of innovation

Innovation and digitisation play important roles in improving the performance of infrastructure organisations. Much of our work involves implementing innovation and digital strategies, but we do it through the lens of following the money. That means mastering the basics of productivity and performance, which starts with knowing what your core success measures are and how you are performing. In infrastructure delivery, you need right to left planning. This means working backwards from the answer on what needs to be in place and by when to hit key milestones and performance outcomes.

The move towards a performance management culture

Curzon & Company is currently partnering with a major public sector infrastructure client to move the organisation towards a performance management culture.

There are three stages in addressing the performance challenge –
Scan, Focus and Act:

  • Scan establishes the baseline, trajectory and key drivers of performance. One critical output is a single version of the truth across scope, activity, cost and risk
  • Focus is about prioritisation and channelling effort to where it has most impact. Major wins often come from an emphasis on looking forwards and addressing future risks rather than reporting historical performance.
  • Act means actually doing things differently. It involves engaging the organisation and their partners at programme and project level to adopt new ways of working. Common measures, good information and ‘heartbeat’ disciplines get results.

None of this is rocket science, but it is remarkable how many organisations struggle to put it into practice.

The benefits

Our client now has transparency of previously hidden efficiencies, providing them and their regulator with the confidence that they are meeting their commitments. They can manage the affordability of the programme proactively – a key benefit where scope requirements evolve over time.

They are offsetting build cost risks by focusing on high-cost elements with standardised product design and productivity benchmarks. Most importantly, they are deploying tools and disciplines at project site level where success (or failure) is delivered.

The successful partnership between the client team and Curzon continues, helping to strengthen the foundations as the client migrates towards a new operating model.

raconteur

This article originally featured in Raconteur, March 2019

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aviation value chain

Capturing a greater share of the general aviation value chain

The issue

  • An inherent lack of commerciality where services were being provided to incumbent FBO at no cost
  • A lack of understanding of customer requirements
  • A high operational cost was carried to manage changing customer needs & poor pilot & broker practices
  • Customers transit through the airport was poor & the lounge & facilities provided were outdated
  • Other airports were capturing market share by offering a superior service offering

What we did

  • Smarter commercials & charging for service identified for revenue growth i.e. Marshalling
  • Affiliated 3rd parties identified to provide onward travel & concierge services along with proposing a discrete duty free offering
  • Levying cancellation charges when appropriate to drive improved customer behaviour
  • A customer journey redesign to address concerns & recapture market share

aerospace image

The results

  • Within 4 weeks the project identified growth opportunities to double existing revenue & double the share of the value chain
  • The future strategy proposed changes to existing practices and partnerships
  • Redefined customer proposition was suggested to maximise revenue & improve customer experience

An award-winning team

Curzon consulting mca finalist 2019

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Financial Times Leading Management Consultants Curzon Consulting

UK’s Leading Managing Consultants 2019

30th January 20191 Minute

We are delighted to have been named as one of the country’s leading management consultants by the Financial Times in 2019. Compiled with data company Statista, the annual rating is based on recommendations by clients and peers.

Curzon Consulting, formerly Curzon & Company, has been recommended in three categories:

  • Recommended – Strategy
  • Recommended – Financial Institutions
  • Frequently recommended – Construction & Infrastructure

Financial Times Leading Management Consultants Curzon Consulting

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digital curzon consulting

‘Most Innovative Cloud Product of the Year’ Winner at the Computing Cloud Excellence Awards

19th November 20181 Minutes

The Developer Services Digital Transformation programme has been recognised as the ‘Most Innovative Cloud Product or Service’ at the #CloudExcellenceAwards 2018.

This is fantastic recognition of the collaborative work between Curzon Consulting, the Anglian Water Developer Services business team and Cognizant as part of Anglian Water’s EWM Alliance. The project has also been recognised by a number of industry bodies:

UK IT Industry Awards

    • UK IT Industry Award finalist for IT Project team of the Year – November 2018
    • UK IT Industry Award winner for Digital Project of the Year – November 2018

IAM awards

    • IAM Awards finalist for Customer Services – November 2018
    • IAM Awards finalist for Project – November 2018

Congratulations to Curzon Consulting managing consultant Edem Eno-Amooquaye and the team on this recognition and award.

Edem Eno-Amooquaye Curzon Consulting

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curzon consulting digital innovation water properties

Digital innovation empowers water companies

18th September 20185 Minutes

In an article published in The Times Raconteur, Edem Eno-Amooquaye discusses how digital innovation is empowering water companies to be more proactive, strategic and efficient in how they deal with property developments.
This article is based on a project with Anglian Water that has had a dramatic impact on customer service and efficiency in Developer Services.

Water companies are looking to harness emerging automation technology and smart data to transform their services. Often this requires a new way of working, closely focused on defined business outcomes, effective digital innovation and proper collaboration.

Among them is Anglian Water, which has established close working relationships with a small group of expert companies to digitally transform its developer services business. This transformation will deliver process efficiencies and more than £20 million of savings over the next five years.

Ian Amis, Head of Developer Services at Anglian Water explains:

“Historically, our customers would come to us and say ‘we have a development and we need water infrastructure’ and then we would come up with a solution. With our project we will have visibility much earlier, when engaging with property developers is still just a thought for landowners wanting to sell, enabling us to be more proactive, strategic and efficient”

The systems fully digitise the application process, planning and asset delivery. They also provide advanced geospatial capabilities that include drawing polygons for developer services applications – the first such programme in a UK water utility – and offer automated workflow management. In contrast, many other utilities only digitise or outsource application submission and assessment, and some have no digital capability at all in their developer services businesses.

The success of the project in meeting measured strategic outcomes means its application has been carefully broadened. “We began with a focus on low-volume, high-complexity schemes, but realised these platforms will work for all our one-off customers, our builders and our big developers as well,” says Mr Amis. He describes the work as “totally transformational” because the water company is able to provide developers with much better experiences and is ready to meet the customer service requirements of Ofwat’s new AMP7 DMeX measure.

“Grosight and Inflow are equipping Anglian Water with the capability to take a strategic approach to asset planning across the entirety of a water resource zone and recycling catchment area, reducing design costs by identifying site clusters and efficient solutions,”

explains Curzon managing consultant Edem Eno-Amooquaye.

Better site visibility provides greater insight on the needs of property developers, enabling sustainability initiatives such as water reuse to be encouraged and cutting the cost of late changes.

During the project, collaboration between business functions, IT and delivery teams has been essential. As guardian of the business case, Curzon Consulting has orchestrated this collaboration and taken responsibility for grounding all technical requirements and design functionality in the reality of business benefits.

“Curzon Consulting has led in defining the change management strategy to ensure the benefits of digitisation and new ways of working are embedded within the developer services business”

explains Edem.

This critical role has served to provide assurance to both Anglian Water and the IT team throughout the life cycle of the programme.

To make the relationship work between separate companies, in such a crucial commercial context for Anglian Water, all the parties have focused on growing together. The process has proved to be highly efficient and open, with the customer at its heart.

Our work with Anglian Water on digital innovation has won several awards such as Innovation Consultant of the Year and Most Innovative Cloud Product of the Year.

raconteur

This article originally featured in Raconteur, September 2018

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Infrastructure: back to the old Benchmarks?

10th August 201810 Minutes

Edem Eno-Amooquaye discusses why the Infrastructure & Utilities sectors should refer to established Manufacturing practices as benchmarks for approaches to optimise both productivity and capacity.

Evolving approaches, same issues?

The Infrastructure & Utilities sectors have moved on significantly from an era when Six Sigma and adopting the productivity improvement methodologies of organisations such as Motorola and GE signalled the leading edge of business change.

Infrastructure & Utilities organisations have evolved in the industries and approaches that they look to as benchmarks. In an environment that demands customer centricity, competition, digitisation and advanced capacity management, infrastructure owners now model their aspirations on phenomena such as the dynamic slot control methods of airlines and the real-time data management of logistics companies.

Questions arise when we consider whether the modern challenges being faced by the sectors are being framed in accordance with the solutions that we aspire to offer rather than there being a suitable acknowledgment of the boring facts. These facts are that along with the new challenges, the age-old issue of how to improve productivity remains. Organisations are ‘going digital’ in line with industry trends and customer user experience expectations but have not necessarily gained full control of the basics. In the UK for example, the economy has been shackled by consistently low productivity since the financial crisis and a significant shortfall to productivity levels on par with the other European G7 nations (France, Germany and Italy) has long been maintained. The reason for this shortfall is a source of ongoing debate but the optimum balance between factors that influence productivity such as process efficiency, labour practices, regulation and technology adoption is one that the UK’s G7 counterparts have come a lot closer to achieving.

Out with the new and in with the old?

It would be too simplistic a next-step to infer that these age-old issues can be addressed by the age-old solutions, but this does not mean that the basics should be neglected. Perhaps the Infrastructure and Utilities sectors should consider reverting to a more traditional industry benchmarks source and its associated approach to productivity – Manufacturing.

Leading organisations look to continuously improve performance, driven by a philosophy that there is always hidden capacity or cash to be found by addressing the inefficiencies that have crept in over-time and become accepted. In a recent example of this Curzon Consulting looked at the fundamental components of availability, performance and quality to assess how Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can be adapted from its Manufacturing roots and used in the Water industry. This analysis identified considerable opportunities to increase OEE from today’s current levels and optimise capacity in waste water treatment businesses. Utilities companies have historically built waste water treatment plants in response to the need to deal with waste in specific locations but without a full strategic understanding of demand in an area, let alone a real concern for how to operate most efficiently or the potential for commercial opportunities. The application of OEE offers benefits to waste water treatment businesses that include reduced downtime and maintenance costs, better management of the equipment life cycle, labour efficiencies, increased productivity through improved visibility into operations, increased productivity by identifying bottlenecks, and, increased profitability. This time around, the application of OEE encourages Utilities organisations to look beyond straightforward process improvement to understand the impact that other functions are having on the ability of Operations or Capital Delivery teams to maximise their effective use of capacity. This should be considered within the context of a totex world for infrastructure and utilities organisations where end-2-end asset management, efficiency of decision making across lifecycle phases and relationships (often with alliance partners) between Engineering, Design, Operations, Project Management and Commercial functions are now paramount.

An even more provocative assertion from the Manufacturing industry acknowledges the competition driven and regulatory need for enhanced customer centricity but challenges whether businesses should pursue this at any cost. In a Manufacturing context this questions things such as excessive warehouse costs due to stockpiling of goods under the guise of mitigating against the risk of high demand products being unavailable but in fact being a buffer to mask ineffective supply chains. Parallels can be drawn with the digital platforms that many Utilities organisations are developing. The associated business cases promise the benefits of improved customer service performance against a backdrop of new metrics that will either incentivise or penalise companies, e.g. the Water industries new measure of developer experience (DMEX). These embrace the industry theme of digitisation but may retain inefficiencies as they build and hard code layers of old working habits and excessive touch point (process steps that would be labelled as ‘waste’ according to the age-old solutions). While the value of the human touch in customer interaction can never be underestimated the industry must be careful not to regress and allow productivity to be perceived as something that contradicts effective customer service. Further, digitisation is not an end in itself. Wasteful processes on digital platforms are still wasteful processes. Productivity improvements in the infrastructure asset lifecycle and the Lean design of associated system enabled processes should be considered as critical.

So, where to look for the good news?

Real encouragement and evidence of new direction is provided by Transport Infrastructure organisations. Whilst the European Railway with its objective of interoperability and technical compatibility of infrastructure and systems may appear to have struggled to make meaningful progress, key stakeholders in the Rail sector have observed the plans for intelligent supply chain networks and automation in the Manufacturing industry and realise that embracing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as the approach to technology driven change in a similar manner will be key to transforming the concept of a digital railway into reality. As timely evidence of this, Network Rail has recently announced its Digital Rail Strategy which is headlined by the commitment that all new trains and signalling will utilise advanced technology from 2019. Not to be left out, Utilities companies are also getting on to the front foot. Disparate remote asset monitoring technologies and business specific customer portals are now being firmly placed within strategies for full lifecycle digital asset data models, integrated systems and artificial intelligence led analytics. This demonstrates that the Manufacturing sector’s evolving approach to technology adoption, a key productivity driver, has remained as a crucial, actionable benchmark for the Infrastructure & Utilities sectors.

The infrastructure and utilities sectors must refer to established Manufacturing practices as they have in the past as benchmarks for approaches to optimise both productivity and capacity. In an exciting age of digitisation and customer centricity it will be important to maintain the necessary focus on the principles of productivity and operational effectiveness that underpin efficient business. In terms of the new industry challenges being addressed, rather than waiting to take instruction from the current Manufacturing practices being developed and established, the manner in which progressive Infrastructure & Utilities sector organisations are embracing IIoT and also seeking both inspiration and direction from various other industries indicates that in the not too distant future the sector may itself become a more strongly recognised source of benchmarks for digitisation, connectivity and other future ways of working.

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