Initial Brief

WCL were contracted to Network Rail Wessex Works Delivery to provide a number of Consultants to:

  • Review the current and future work bank for CP6, across both signalling and E&P
  • Review the project organisation and staff competencies with NR
  • Mentor and guide staff within the organisation
  • Make recommendations on improvements in processes and planning
  • Make recommendations on potential for increasing work banks and project teams to meet the RAM and sponsor organisation aspirations
  • Identify problem areas within the organisation
  • Liaise directly with the RAM and sponsor organisation to confirm funding and aspirations for future works to be delivered by the Wessex Works Delivery team

Challenges

Over the course of the first few weeks WCL took time to meet and observe the teams, both in the head office and the inner and outer depots. It quickly became apparent that there were a number of bottlenecks within the current organisation, including:

  • Production of Site Safety Paperwork
  • Vacant posts that the team have struggled to recruit
  • Engineering and team competencies
  • Functionally Equivalent Designs
  • Depot Administration
  • Issues with change mentality “this is how we’ve always done it” and the ability to bring about structured change
  • Project staff spending disproportionate time reporting costs and works completed versus managing and forecasting works
  • Staff morale affecting performance

These bottlenecks were observed to be having a direct impact on the site teams ability to work efficiently and be fully utilised week in week out. This was having a knock on effect of the RAM and Sponsor team not releasing work to Work Delivery, based on a belief that the teams are at capacity. This originated from the management team being unable to manage the flow of work effectively. This cycle of events was creating an almost downward spiral effect in the organisation, as depicted in the diagram below.

Outcomes

To tackle the issues identified, WCL analysed and defined resource requirements required to meet the projected CP6 workbank expenditure. This then allowed a number of further items to be addressed simultaneously:

  • Review and streamlining of the site paperwork requirements
  • Engineering requirements and competency requirements
  • Clearer role definition for Works Delivery Managers
  • Identification of new roles to directly support depots
  • Year on year forecasted labour budgets that can then be agreed with the RAM organisation
  • Clear division of responsibilities between managing works for Depots vs subcontracted project based works
  • Rationalisation of project reporting between stakeholders

Through the above, we achieved a significant boost to staff morale as they were able to see positive changes and investment in the organisation.

Further confidence was gained from the RAM and Sponsor teams. Ultimately, our intervention contributed to the portfolio of work doubling at the end of Year 1, with a further 50% increase at the end of Year 2.

The completion of the above had a positive effect on the morale of the staff as they were able to see positive changes and investment in the organisation. Further confidence was gained from the RAM and Sponsor teams which in turn led to the portfolio of work doubling at the end of year 1 and a further 50% increase at the end of year 2.

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Thank you for all the invaluable help and support WCL has provided to the Wessex Works Delivery team over the past 2 years. The difference from what it was like before to what Works Delivery was like under your guidance has been huge…

Senior Sponsor, Network Rail