Essential Energy Operational efficiency through innovation

In May 2010, Essential Energy established a position to support the company’s innovation efforts and drive productivity and efficiency gains across the business.

The focus of the Continuous Business Improvement (CBI) team has delivered strong results that have seen a four per cent productivity gain across areas of the business that have participated in the program.

 Productivity and other improvements are intrinsically liked to innovation. Essential Energy is committed to innovation as a core business skill and has implemented a new online innovation portal called NIFTI (New Ideas for Tomorrow’s Innovations) to provide employees with a central repository in which they can log their ideas and view, comment and vote on the ideas of their colleagues – empowering our people to ‘think outside the square’.

The new tool has already generated a number of ideas from more than 1,300 participants in the open forum. One of which, a frame leakage protection monitoring system to improve zone substation switchboard safety, is already underway as a pilot program in the company’s North Western region.

We appreciate that continuous business improvement and innovation is an ongoing process, which is why we’ve incorporated it as one of the five key principles of our Organisational Blueprint, and will roll out our CBI program to the rest of the business over the next financial year.

Specifically, our CBI program aims to:

  • Embed an organisational culture that instils productivity improvement as a key business philosophy, with ownership and accountability embedded in the business
  • Facilitate and coordinate the delivery of high impact projects that drive measurable performance improvement
  • Develop, implement and validate a robust business-wide productivity measurement methodology
  • Drive sustainable improvements, which in turn, will drive greater productivity.

The program will ensure that Essential Energy retains the flexibility and focus to respond effectively to change, introduce new ideas and technologies, and drive improvements for our customers.

‘By embedding Continuous Business Improvement methodology into Infrastructure Operations we‘ve improved the information we provide to customers about our scheduled works, enhanced visibility of work practices, and improved the use of our resources based on size and skill mix of our field crews – enhancing operational efficiency and delivering real wins for our customers.’