2.1 IntroductionWorking with the same company, I executedanother significant operational excellence program for Larsen and Toubro – PowerTransmission and Distribution business unit, State of Qatar, Worth USD 1.1Billion revenue. The program was to streamline entire engineering process flowthat is from drawing release to execution and commissioning, reducing projectdelivery time by 26 weeks with the reduction in project material cost by 5-10%for multiple indoor substation projects.
This career episode shows my positionas an Engineering Operational Excellence Manager for this project. The location of the Opex program was Doha, State ofQatar. Project Name: StreamlineEngineering Process flow for faster project completionDate andduration:June 2015 to April 2016 (11 months)Location: Doha,State of QatarEmployingorganization: Larsen and Toubro LimitedPositionOccupied:Engineering Operational Excellence Manager2.2 BackgroundCE2.
2.1 Larsen andToubro Limited (L&T) is one of the largest Indian multinationalconglomerate companies, headquartered in Mumbai. This 75 years organization hasa strong business presence in Engineering,Construction, Manufacturing, and Technology and maintains a leadership in allits major lines of businesses. Currently, it serves customers in more than 30countries of the world across a number of industries.CE2.2.2 The Companyprovides turnkey ‘Design and Build’ solutions backed by experience andcapabilities across multiple business units.
It also designs and engineerspower plant equipment’s for coal and gas power plants, power transmission anddistribution, and boilers and turbines. L’s Hydrocarbon EngineeringBusiness serves the Oil & Gas sector across multiple geographies. Thecompany offers custom designed equipment and systems for critical processindustries, delivered to customers around the world. Some other solutions andsystems for the defense sector backed by a strong focus on R&D and ITSolutions and services are also offered worldwide, through a network ofoffices. CE2.2.3 The workassignment was assigned to OPEX department by Power Transmission and Distribution–Middle-Easttop management to develop new strategies in project execution to reduce projectcompletion time by at least 26weeks from the current state and also to optimisematerial cost by 5 – 10%.
This will help the organisation to capture largerinternational market share in power construction.CE2.2.
4 PT&D Middle-East business head wanted to position L&T Company infront of the client as EPC contractor with high potential and extra caliber tocomplete 10 substation projects in a year. Initially, L&T used to construct7- 8 substation per year. Further, to achieve the target of 10 substations tobe completed per year and also to take high volume projects in future, PT&DMiddle-East head, had invited operational excellence department to work onfollowing parameters: Streamline entire engineering process flow to Reduce project delivery timeline by 26weeks and Minimize project consumable material cost by 5 to 10%I was selected by Operational Excellencedepartment head to lead this program based on my in-depth knowledge of powertransmission and distribution construction. Major expectations were: To Increase PT&D business revenue and To improve the business profitability CE2.2.
5 My projecttasks were as stated below:· Led and managedoperational excellence assignment to streamline entire engineering/businessprocess.· Leveraged lean methodology combined with the problem – solvingtools as a key strategy to deliver cost and responsiveness goals. · Assessed current state of business process efficiency &performance and identified improvements opportunities.· Formulated businesscases and charters and established financial and non-financial goals.· Conducted idea generation workshop with cross-functional departmentsto generate solutions.· Managed people and team to deliver top management expectation.
· Implemented mechanization initiatives by investing in CapEx items.· Analyzed and scrutinized “As-Is” productivity data for civilstructure construction, electrical and HVAC equipment installation and MEPworks.· Improved business working capital requirements by restructuringDesign, SCM, execution and inventory policies.· Organized war room concept at project site office where thecross-functional team gathers to solve critical problems. · Prepared project plan and budget to complete Opex assignment.· Contacted multiple vendors to organize an on-site demonstration ofadvanced tools and techniques.
· Organized workshop to coach project team on new initiatives.· Established relationship withexternal consultants and industry experts to keep track on new advancedtechnologies· Developed proprietaryknowledge material on Turnkey execution excellence to strengthen firm’scompetitive positioningCE2.2.6 My projectposition can be seen from the chart shown next: From the above chart, I independently handledthe program with three Opex assistant managers directly reporting and eight personsassigned from PT business who indirectly reporting to me during theprogram journey.2.
3Personal ActivitiesCE2.3.1 I and my team wereengaged by PT Middle-East top management to develop an engineeringprocess improvement strategy. I and my team started by interviewing and brainstormingevery person in business at the different altitude (C-suite to site staff) and conducteddepartment wise diagnostics to map current state business process and toidentify improvement levers. I utilized Fishbone diagram and issue tree toolsto identify levers of improvement and value stream mapping (VSM) tool to mapthe current state of engineering process flow. Later, I invited and organizedOpex program kick-off meeting to take buy-in from business key stakeholders.
Ipresented Opex initial diagnosis report, which identified improvement areas andtook the consensus from stakeholders and concluded with project objective, key initiativesand benefit/savings expected from Opex program such as faster project completion, man-days savings, material cost savings andimproving business profit margins. I estimated Opex assignment expenses and sent to PT business topmanagement for approval CE2.3.2 I identified mechanization need and reducedmanpower cost and increased productivity by 60%. For instance: Earlier, priorto concrete pouring activity manpower used to do rebar tying manually, productivityoutcome was 60 tie’s in 20 minutes, butafter my intervention using my past experience, I introduced and implementedrebar tying machine, the productivity shot up by 20 times that is 60 ties in 1min with handheld machine.
It resulted in huge savings of binding wire,increased steel tying productivity and reduced manpower and skilled dependency CE2.3.3 I deployed one of Opexteam person to site to capture “As-Is” productivity data of civil structureconstruction, electrical & HVAC equipment installation and MEP works.Moreover, I consulted industry expert and used my past project experience toestablish new productivity norms to complete execution work faster. Based on the project objective and top management mandate, I redesignedproject execution plan referring to timeline, manpower, material, and plant& machinery availability. I combined multiple activities and defined new criticaland subcritical activities using my prior work experience, taking PT&Dsenior experts and suggestions from industry experts. I got an approval of thisnew execution plan from the internal and external client.
Snapshot showed belowCE1.3.4 I and my team rationalised manpower requirement based on skillset neededfor the activity.
Based on upcoming critical and subcritical activities, Iensured desired & the number of skilled/unskilled resources were deployed bythe project manager. I made project team interact with the team and prepare threeweeks to forecast planning for resources and material required to complete thecritical activity. I computed new unit Man-days norms after discussing with projectdirectors, industry experts, and using my past project site experience (imageis shown below). I conducted idea generation workshop at a project site, whichincluded site team and business cross-functional staff to generate ideas forengineering improvement. CE2.3.5 I prepared roles andresponsibilities of my team and assigned key result areas and gave feedbackfrequently.
During Opex program journey, I found one of my teammates was facingdifficulty in understanding the linear project, as he was from manufacturingbackground, so I arranged a linear project management training session atL&T Institute of project management. I harmonized with the project manager, construction manager, siteengineer, safety engineer to ensure safety standards are met as perorganizations norms, I implemented safety scorecards which will be filled bysite engineer and supervisor before the start of an activity. Also, I developedthe Quality scorecard, where quality engineer along with site engineer inspectthe activity and give clearance to raise RFI/RFQ to the client, this minimisedrework and time.
I followed Qatar National Constructions standards (QCS) and Qatar water andelectricity standards in the tasks. I made risk register and created Heat mapbasis on severity scores. I listed down all the risk involved in the projectand associated cost impact.CE2.3.6 I received training on next level of negotiation, communication, clientrelationship management and advance excel, and attended the workshop for steeland concrete detailing software by Tekla. I referred articles on advancedconstruction techniques, modular formwork to eliminate unnecessary carpentry need.
I used internal R&D department to find strength & durability tests of newchemical curing agents, processed sand, etc. and along with project team takethe test results to client & consultant and discuss the benefits of newmaterials for the way forward and approval.CE2.3.
7 I along with my team organized weekly meetings with business keystakeholders to update Opex progress, take approval of CapEx item, and decisionon cascading initiatives across other projects. I also meet with PT&D Middle-Easttop management once a month to update on Opex progress and share the tangible andnon-tangible benefits. Further, I created way forward roadmap for cascadinginitiatives across the business. I used software such as Microsoft suite andMicrosoft projects and Primavera for planning and preparing schedules.
I alsoused in-house software called EIP for reverse auction of transformers, cables,and other project consumable materials. I prepared project flowchart andnetwork design using Microsoft Visio and took help of mind mapping software tolayout thoughts and capture new ideas. CE2.3.8 Referring tonew execution strategy, I developed multiple systems for planning, monitoringand tracking the project.
I took the weekly report from project site team,reviewed daily progress tracker, if needed invited project team to clusteroffice for understanding their difficulty in implementation. I identified oneperson from PT&D business and deployed at the project site to monitor improvementcontinuously and also to capture other pain areas for continued improvement. Icreated engineering design tracker to track drawings status, the number ofdrawings revised / modifications done, the number of man-hours spent to dodesign and to track client approval status. CE2.3.9 I revisedSCM policies for formwork procurement. One of the major policies changed inPT&D business was formwork expenditure. I observed, formwork was rented andafter work returned to the vendor.
While returning, some of the formwork itemswere misplaced, damaged & lost, resulting in paying huge damage charges tothe vendor. To minimize this loss, I analyzed formwork expenditure data,checked with local vendor price of new formwork and prepared formwork owned vsrenting cost-benefit analysis and shared with PT&D top management for decisionmaking to buy rather renting. Finally, after a lot of discussions, topmanagement approved to buy 2 sets of formwork as pilot run and advised SCM toprocure 2 sets of formwork instead of renting and CAPEX to be approved fromBusiness unit. To monitor and control, Icreated centralized formwork department at Qatar project CE2.3.10 I took careof performance metrics of the initiatives. I prepared Opex project StandardOperating Procedure (SOP), standard templates to capture productivity, projectmilestone completion, material planning and operational metrics, managementdashboards, weekly review template.
I made PowerPoint Presentations of PT&DOpex program & benefits to the top management of Larsen and Toubro groupwhich included CEO and MD of the company, Sr. Vice president of the Opex department,PT&D international GCC business head & PT&D IC head and Opexdepartment headCE2.3.11 ProblemStatementProblem 1: One of the critical challenges in the project was theimplementation of steel reinforcement tying machine.
There was major resistancefrom the project site team, as people were unaware of the technology and theyhad their own apprehensions.Solution: To ice break on new technology, firstly, I invited rebar tyingmachine vendors on board and along with team discussed machine operating, technical,productivity and cost details and also cost of the binding wire with differentgauge size. I checked with the vendor on machine certification also. I preparedproductivity and cost comparison statement between manual and automatic tyingand presented to PT&D top management & project team (Image below ofcomparison statement).
I highlightedthe tangible savings of rebar machine implementation. After reviewing cost ofmachine & benefits, PT&D top management was convinced but project teamhad too many concerns, therefore to clear project team doubts, I again invitedvendor and asked him to conduct on-site demonstrationat live project site so that project team could see physically live performanceand also take look and feel of the machine. I organized the demonstration onthe construction of Raft and vertical columns & walls in presence of labors,technicians, supervisors, site engineer, construction manager, project manager,project consultant and senior management. Post demonstration, I organizedknowledge transfer and Q&A session of the machine. Later, all doubts werecleared and finally, the Purchase order was placed and implemented successfully.Problem 2: Next majorproblem I encountered was the preparation of engineering drawing, which wastaking a lot of time and impacted the delay in getting construction approvals,permits and delay in the start of execution work. Solution: I conducted detailed diagnosticsof the engineering drawing release process and came to know that major delaywas due to vendor finalization.
Further, I noticed that substation layoutdrawing was the key drawing; therefore next delay identified was in preparationof substation layout drawing. I invited SCM and Design team together fordiscussion and interviewed them. Then I got to know that the real delay was in finalizingtop 5 key equipment vendors that are GIS, Transformer, CRP panel, 11KV switchgearand LV switchgear due to longer negotiation and payment terms.I listed down key equipment vendors withtheir technical details and then asked design team to check the database andpull out similar equipment drawing used in past for same Kahramaa client projectsfor reference purpose.
I discussed the issue with PT&D topmanagement and they gave go-ahead to redesigned SCM and Design drawing process.In new process Design and SCM team together will start the activity immediatelyafter P-LOA is received. Further, I advised design team to shortlist key equipment’sand list down all technical data points and queries needed to be addressed byvendors.
On another side, I asked SCM team to take an input of key equipment’s fromthe design team and immediately start procurement process. I also told them to placeLOI to the vendor with conditional payment and delivery terms to minimize transactiontime by 2 months.CE2.3.12 I identifiedanother major challenge during Opex assignment in this business was “missing ofunified / builders’ engineering drawings”. To bridge the gap I invited externaldesign agency, in-house design, SCM, and site teams for the discussion to knowthe reason for unnecessary cutouts and rework at the site in spite of gettingan earlier approval of substation equipment layout drawing.
During thediscussion, I found there was no proper coordination between the in-housedesign team, external design agency, and site team. Also, SCM team was taking6-8 months for finalizing LSP, firefighting and HVAC vendors. Resulting,unnecessary cutouts and reworks. I created following new system to solve theproblem: · In-house design team forwarding substation equipment layoutapproved drawings to the external design agency.
· SCM to finalize LSP, firefighting and HVAC vendors within 2monthsfrom project zero date.· Revised external agency contract conditions. The new contract mandatedexternal design agency in coordination with an in-house design team to prepareall relevant drawings first and later superimpose and prepare unified /builders drawing and send it for approval.· Civil head identified as the owner to coordinate and track builders’drawings.· All builders’ drawing to be reviewed and seek approval first fromthe civil head and in-house design head and upon satisfaction sent to theclient for approval and later to site for construction.CE2.3.
13I usedMicrosoft suite (Excel, word, and presentation) and Microsoft projects /primavera for planning and preparing the schedule. Additionally, I also used in-houseERP platform called EIP for reverse auction of transformers, cables, and many consumables.I took help of Microsoft Visio for preparing flowchart and network design and mindmapping software to layout thoughts and capture new ideas.2.
4 SummaryI gained a number of professional abilities byworking on the project that included leadership skills, unique projectchallenges, ideas on mechanization, ways of handling pressure and stressfulsituation. I improved my planning, decision making and communication abilitiesto convince client and business top management with enhanced negotiationskills, cross culture resource management. I along with my team successfullystreamlined most of the critical engineering activities and reduced projecttimeline by 24weeks and saved material cost. Summary of benefits is shown below.I was again awarded top performer badge and rewarded with money forsuccessfully completion Opex program