Regional Water Utility – Service Delivery Function Review

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Recent Engagement: Our client, a geographically spread regional water utility, sought to review their current Service Delivery function, specifically the organisational structure and operating model.

Further, this review aimed to address some challenges and opportunities previously identified by their management team. These included:

  • Decentralisation in some areas, limiting the opportunity to leverage system capabilities and flatten the structure where possible
  • Processes, procedures and/or governance arrangements impacting service delivery teams’ utilisation and limiting the potential to undertake more multi-skilling, and
  • Opportunities to improve the use of systems and technologies such as SCADA and mobile devices used in the field.

Marchment Hill Consulting (MHC) was engaged to review the Service Delivery function’s organisational structure and operating model.

MHC approached this review using our Organisational Review Framework (see Figure 1 below) and applied this framework to stakeholder interviews and desktop data analysis. The framework has six assessment elements as follows, with each element containing a number of best practice attributes:

  • Organisation Structure & Governance
  • Performance Management Frameworks
  • Values, Behaviours & Competencies
  • Delivery Model
  • Processes & Interfaces, and
  • Business Systems & Technology.

QSI 19-Water-RE-Water-Service Delivery Review-1aQSI 19-Water-RE-Water-Service Delivery Review-1b

Figure 1: MHC’s Organisational Review Framework

MHC conducted more than 20 interviews with internal stakeholders to discuss organisational structure and operating model, and also met with our client’s works management system provider to gain additional insights into the functionality of the service delivery systems and technology. MHC spent time inside the Operations Management Centre reviewing scheduling and despatch functions, and with employees at local depots to better understand the service delivery operating model. MHC also reviewed a range of information specific to our client’s Service Delivery function, including internal reports, position descriptions statements, succession plans, etc.

Following the interviews and desktop analysis, MHC developed an interim report and presented this to the Executive and key stakeholders. This presentation outlined the initial findings (presented as strengths and weaknesses) using the assessment elements from MHC’s Organisational Review Framework, and developed improvement opportunities with the stakeholder group.

MHC then translated the findings and workshop outcomes into a comprehensive report which included detailed recommendations, adjustments to organisational structure and operating model, implementation steps and timelines.

QSI 19-Water-RE-Water-Service Delivery Review-2aQSI 19-Water-RE-Water-Service Delivery Review-2b

Figure 2:  High-level concept map for the proposed operating model and high-level implementation plan

Combining information gathered from key stakeholders and MHC’s own knowledge and experience working with water utilities, four key recommendations were proposed. These included:

  • Leverage existing service delivery technology to enable improved visibility and management of the field workforce
  • Restructure of Service Delivery function to enable a single scheduling and dispatch function and attend to a number of orphaned resources
  • Establish a formal contractor panel to improve contractor management and administration across all geographic regions, and
  • Review and enhance performance reporting to increase quantitative performance feedback for service delivery teams.

Our client’s executive and management team gained valuable insights regarding the Service Delivery function’s challenges and improvement opportunities. The review provided our client with a platform and plan to initiate meaningful change within their Service Delivery function.

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