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Case study

Major energy supplier

What was the challenge?

In trying to respond to issues in the wider energy market, a major energy provider feared its largest division had become too complex for its own good and was increasingly dogged by inefficiency. At the same time it faced political and regulatory uncertainty.

The business has over 10,000 staff and nearly 10 million customers. As it had grown, work became duplicated, and the strategy increasingly unclear to its staff; it was not always obvious who was responsible for delivering results. Fears began to build that staff were dealing with conflicting priorities and the focus on customers had begun to drift.

What we did

The company brought us in to pinpoint that strategy effectively and makes sure it ran throughout the residential energy business.

Q5 worked closely with the managing director and the HR department. We talked to staff across the business to understand what they saw as the strategy and what was most important for the group to work more effectively.

The work included two full days in which we coached the senior managers to tease out the ideal strategy with the leadership team of around 80 people.

We analysed the division's objectives and its current operations and emerged with three strategic priorities. This work laid the foundations for a major re-design and resulted in a single energy business with a new operating model.

What was the outcome?

We developed a simplified operating model and a detail design of the business. The new structure brought together all its customer operations from initial contact to billing and collection and better integrated its smart meter business so it was no longer a stand-alone division.

Another result of the work was to establish a single commercial function focused on the entire customer business, as well as a single change team.  Using organisation design and project management methods we identified overlaps and flaws in the business.

Q5 worked closely with the group's senior management to create the best results for the organisation as a whole rather than focusing on one department or operation. The staff were consulted along the way, which meant they understood the need for the changes and the senior team stood squarely behind the results. It built accountability from the executives and more people than ever were involved.

In total, the project helped save £5.5m, more than 10 per cent of addressable cost, without affecting the division's levels of service.