Bespoke last planner helps ensure delivery of Liverpool Wastewater Treatment Works

Rubicon Wigzell supported United Utilities and Galliford Try Costain Atkins Joint Venture to ensure delivery of the £200 million upgrade programme to the Liverpool Wastewater treatment plant. When complete the treatment works will serve some 600,  Liverpudlians, handling up to 11,000 litres of waste a second and helping to keep the Mersey clean for generations to come.

RW Lean Expert Sam Woodcock has supported collaborative planning on the project since September 2013:

“When we were first brought on to the project, building relationships between the many contractors was very challenging and delivery against the plan was seeing significant variance week to week.  At the beginning, we managed to allay concerns from the already busy project team that our involvement could lead to further pressures on time.

With this in mind and having spent time looking at current practice, we rethought and pared down Last Planner to create a bespoke process that would help the team achieve a more stable plan, without meaning extra hours round the planning table.

We started the process in September 2013 with a workshop attended by the United Utilities team, alongside main contractor Galliford Costain Atkins and all sub-contractors, in which they each shared their plan for the upcoming weeks.  Working together we were able to highlight potential problems as well as opportunities for efficiencies and between us create a realistic 12 week plan. This initial workshop was followed up by short weekly co-ordination meetings to check activities against the plan.  This cycle of collaboration planning workshop and weekly monitoring has continued over the past 12 months, with RW handing the process back to the team in July 2014, at which point all teams were delivering 70 – 80% to plan, from a starting point of between 41 – 69% back in the previous September.

From our point of view, one of the major pluses of working in this way is that everyone can see where we are against the plan and understand any issues. The focus of meetings has become firmly on finding solutions and working collaboratively to make sure critical activities are prioritised and the week is going to ‘work’. It’s allowed contractors to clearly see ahead of time where they need to take action to protect the plan and they’ve been able to extend hours or increase resource to make that happen.  From a management point of view, it’s also allowed Engineers for the main contractor to take control of the process and drive the right work in the right order which can only mean savings in terms of time and cost.”

“The biggest factor with doing the collaborative planning and master planning workshops is reducing the risk of things being missed and going wrong. If you consider that a week’s delay on a project of this scale can cost in the region of £100,000, having a realistic plan and keeping close to it is critical. The tailored last planner programme has helped us to improve the planning of activities and this ultimately improves process of planning which is always difficult. I think that there have also been additional outcomes, from building collaboration to improving programme awareness and increased motivation, and these have all been factors in helping us to improve project delivery.”

Andy Fielding, GCA JVPerformance Manager