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Process Excellence At Sellafield Ltd Capenhurst Site Case Study


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Process Excellence At Sellafield Ltd Capenhurst Site Case Study

  1. 1. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case StudyProcess Excellence atSellafield LtdCapenhurst siteProcess Excellence Network Case Study2012 Europe Process Excellence Award Winner“Honorary Mention - Best Project Over 90 Days”1|P a g e
  2. 2. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case StudyCASE STUDY: SELLAFIELD LTDAWARD WINNING PROJECT – HOW ONE LITTLE IDEA CAN BE WORTH £1.2 MILLIONCONTEXT & PROJECT OVERVIEW:Sellafield Ltd manages the process ofdecommissioning, reprocessing, nuclear wastemanagement and fuel manufacturing In October 2010, Capenhurst launched aactivities on behalf of the Nuclear project aimed at increasing the efficiency ofDecommissioning Authority (NDA). the process for packaging uranium prior toThe Capenhurst site is split into two, one shipment to a secure storage facility.owned by the NDA and the other by Urenco This project generated £1.2 million in savingsUK Ltd. The NDA site is operated by Sellafield and has accelerated the rate at which theLtd and consists of available internal and radioactive material can be disposed.external storage space. Sellafield Ltd’s award winning WasteCapenhurst also stores safely and securely the Management Operational Improvementbulk of the UKs inventory of depleted Project came about as a result of theuranium and uranium hexafluoride, products ‘Capenhurst Idea generation scheme,’ athat are potentially reusable in the nuclear scheme that is based on the principle that thefuel cycle, subject to UK government policy. staff closest to the work are the best placed toSellafield Ltds employees also have valuable identify opportunities for improvement.skills and experience in waste For their work and results, the Wastecharacterisation, recycling and disposal, which Management Operational Improvementhave been acquired during Capenhursts drive Project won an honorary mention in PEXto become the UKs first nuclear licensed site Network’s Process Excellence Awards for Bestto complete its main plant decommissioning Project Over 90 Days.programme. The Pan-European award recognisesThe site is now investigating how it can improvements in manufacturing or servicemaximise these assets - land, uranic materials, and transactional environments using Lean,people - in order to accelerate overall hazard Six Sigma or any other recognised Processreduction, and generate greater value for the Excellence tool and was judged on the abilityUK taxpayer. to prove their operational and business results as well as clarity in execution throughout the process.2|P a g e
  3. 3. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case Study THE PROJECT products from the site’s history as a uranium processing facility - required vast amounts of In March 2011, changes were expected in the time. UK around waste disposal permits. What this In particular, the process for preparing meant was uncertainty around whether and uranium for shipment to storage sites located how the company could send waste to the in other parts of England was identified to be normal disposal facilities. a bit of a bottleneck. A lot of time and manual handling was required in order to prepare the containers for shipment – every container needed to be grouted both before and after the materials were loaded, with additional time spent waiting for the concrete to dry. In all, it took nearly eight full working days to get one container ready for shipment. The company urgently needed to find a way to safely speed up the efficiency of this process in order to meet the March 2011Disposal containers deadline. “We’re like a small family here at Capenhurst,” explained Gerry. “So when management came to us and said that they wanted us to ship as many ISO’s [containers] As Gerry Mullen, Sellafield Ltd Operations as possible before March 2011, we looked at Manager, explains: “The changes would mean it as a challenge and said ‘we don’t know if we changes to what we could send and how we can do it, but we’ll try.” could send it.” It was a stiff challenge as time was tight and Depending on how the permit was changed, it regulations around the disposal and storage could mean large amounts of radioactive of hazardous materials are strict. waste would have had to remain on site. The problem was that the existing process for packaging of uranic materials – the by- 3|P a g e
  4. 4. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case Study A fishbone analysis had identified that thebiggest problem was the time spent waitingfor the concrete to dry. But the solution to theproblem didn’t come from either Six Sigma orLean tools. It came from an observantOperations Team Member who knew the AN INSIGHT WORTH A MILLION:process inside and out. INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL“We were using Bentonite in a small part ofthe process and I thought that it was MAINWARINGsomething that would take less time to usethan grout,” said Michael Mainwaring, an Michael Mainwaring is an Operations Team MemberOperations Team Member who has worked at Sellafield Ltd’s Capenhurst Site. He works primarilyfor Sellafield Ltd since 2008. to prepare the hazardous waste for shipment. It was his idea to use Bentonite in place of grout to prepareMichael submitted his idea to use Bentonite the containers for shipping, which helped contribute toto the Capenhurst Ideas Generation Scheme, over £1.2 million in employee suggestion scheme. What gave you the idea to use Bentonite instead of grout? “There’s none of this notion of ‘it’s We were already using Bentonite in a small part of the process and I thought that it was something that not my problem. Everyone who works would take less time to use than grout and it would here is part of process improvement.” also mean less manual handling and fewer man hours. – Gerry Mullen It seemed like a good idea, which is why I submitted it to the Capenhurst ideas generation scheme. What impacts have you seen in your area as a resultThe idea was identified to be sound and the of the improvement?project team decided to move quickly Apart from the benefits of making it faster and moreforward. The team had to involve efficient to package up uranium, it’s been really greatrepresentatives from not just the operations for staff morale. We really feel like we’ve beenteam but several other departments – listened to and it was also nice to be rewarded andincluding procurement in order locateappropriate levels of supply to fulfil the recognized for our idea.process. Do you think Capenhurst Ideas Generation Scheme“Using the Capenhurst Workout process every has been successful?department was focused on this I think it’s been a very successful programme. It reallyimprovement,” said Gerry Mullen. “The real helps us feel involved and I think it also shows us thatkey to success in what we achieved was that management believes we have really good ideas.everyone really rallied around and did whatthey had to do to make it happen.”Gerry attributes the fact that so manydifferent departments were able to come4|P a g e
  5. 5. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case Studytogether to the culture at Capenhurst. Thesite is relatively small, with around 90 fulltime employees and an additional 45 agencyworkers. The company has also been usingLean methods for the last couple of years withan aim of really involving all employees inprocess improvement.“Since we’ve been using Lean we’ve seen realimprovements and we’ve really been able toinvolve everybody employee in improvement.We really try to ensure that every reallyunderstands the big picture and the problem.And when they can see the benefit to The project had to involve many different departments asthemselves it really makes a difference,” said well as the supply chain.Gerry. “So when we’re faced with a challengeeveryone really pulls together because we can we’ve approached Lean improvements,all see the impact and benefits of working everyone who works here is part of processtogether. There’s none of this notion of it’s improvement,” he says.not my problem.” RESULTS:Gerry adds that the additional benefit ofcreating a culture where all employees feel The waste management project wasinvolved is that it helps make his job easier. completed to scope and to deadline and achieved the following key results:“While I may only have ten full timeOperations Team Members plus the  Contributed £1.2M towards siteOperations Team Leaders, with the way that efficiencies target of £2.1M  Created a new streamlined process  Removed waste off site – reducing operational waste storage foot print  Increased safety across site through the reduction of site hazards  Improved learning of processes delivering LFE to similar operational projects on the site both now and in the future  Recognised by management organisation as a company benchmarkThe project generated over £1.2 million in savings for operational improvement projects5|P a g e
  6. 6. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case Study  Demonstrated the value of managing a site wide Ideas SchemeThe key point of learning, though, saysRichard Brown, was not about the materialsused or the process improvement techniquesemployed. It was about the importance ofinvolving employees in the solutions.“If you have a problem, the people who havethe best ideas on solving it are the ones thatare closest to it. It’s not the people sitting upin an office somewhere that are going todream up a solution – you have to get out on Outstanding Results: The team has been awarded Team ofthe shop floor and ask the people who do the the Year at Sellafield and were PEX Network’s Europeanwork what they think,” says Richard. winners of the Honorary Mention for Best Project Over 90 Days.Michael Mainwaring agrees and adds that theIdea Generation Scheme gave a boost to staffmorale. “We really feel like we’ve beenlistened to and it was also really nice to berewarded and recognized for our idea,” hesays.For the results delivered, the project andoperational team has won several internalawards at Sellafield Ltd including Team of theMonth followed by Team of the Year and alsobecame a benchmark standard for other siteoperations at Sellafield Ltd.In April 2012 the company received a PEXNetwork honorary mention for Best Projectunder 90 days, a Pan-European award judgedon operational and business results as well asclarity in execution throughout the processand sustainability of change.6|P a g e
  7. 7. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case StudyWHY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL IDEASCOME FROM THE SHOP FLOORINTERVIEW WITH RICHARD BROWN, SITE OPERATIONS TECHNICAL AUTHOR, SELLAFIELDLTD Richard Brown is a Site Operations Technical Author at Sellafield Ltd’s Capenhurst site. Richard has worked in a number of roles across many of the former plants. This knowledge helps him provide the operations team with the support they require. As well as this Richard is one of the sites Lean Champions. The lean champions are drawn from across all areas of the site who have taken the step to develop their Lean knowledge and are the driving force behind the sites improvement plan.WHY DO YOU RUN THE CAPENHURSTIDEAS GENERATION SCHEME?We really believe that those employeesclosest to the process have the best ideas onhow to improve it. That’s really the mainreason that we run the Capenhurst ideasscheme – to make sure that the brilliant ideasthat the shop floor workers have, are able toget heard and implemented. We also wantedto make sure that employees feel empoweredto identify those opportunities forimprovement and be able to get them heard.Again, it goes back to the fact that thoseclosest to the work have the best ideas onhow to improve it. Making sure employees know the result of suggestions is an important part of the Capenhurst Ideas GenerationHOW DO YOU KEEP THE CAPENHURST SchemeIDEAS SCHEME FROM DEGENERATINGINTO NOTHING MORE THAN ASUGGESTION BOX? done as a result of them. That’s an importantWe evaluate all the ideas and through our part of the process – to make sure that people“You Said, We Did” scheme we make it clear are recognised when they submit a good idea,where ideas have come from and what was but also ensure that they7|P a g e
  8. 8. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case Studyknow what their suggestion leads to. It really FINALLY, IF YOU HAD TO SAY THEREhelps to encourage even more ideas. WAS ONE KEY LESSON LEARNED FROM THIS PROJECT - WHAT WOULD IT BE?When we decide to run with an idea we alsogive ownership over making it happen to the The biggest lesson is that if you have aemployee themselves, that way improving the problem, the people who have the best ideasway we work is not something that’s done on solving it are the ones that are closest to it.“to” employees but done with them, and by It’s not the people sitting up in an officethem. somewhere that are going to dream up aWhen we started up the scheme initially, we solution – you have to get out on the shopencouraged employees by offering to donate floor and ask the people who do the workmoney to a selected charity if an idea was what they think.selected. Now, though, I think employeesreally see the benefit to them of submittingideas – and they realize that if they see aproblem or have an idea, they’re able to makea difference and help improve things.CAN YOU TAKE ME THROUGH HOW THECAPENHURST IDEAS GENERATIONSCHEME WORKS?We have boards set up all over the plantwhere employees are able to submit theirideas. Those ideas are reviewed regularly bythe Team Leaders where they are evaluatedand it is decided which ones to follow throughon. This can happen as often as weekly.“If you have a problem, the people with the bestideas on solving it are those closest to it. It’s notthe people sitting up in an office somewhere thatare going to dream up a solution – you have toget out on the shop floor and ask the people whodo the work what they think.” – Richard Brown8|P a g e
  9. 9. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case StudyABOUT PROCESS EXCELLENCE AWARDSThe Process Excellence Awards have been established tohonour, recognize and celebrate projects thatdemonstrate true best practices. Entrants are assessedon the use of methodology, business impact, andexcellence within the practice of Lean, Six Sigma &Business Process Management (BPM). Judges for thePEX Network awards are assembled of experts andbusiness leaders working in industry.All full list of European award winners 2012 can beobtained on PEX|P a g e
  10. 10. Process Excellence at Sellafield Ltd - PEX Network Case StudyPEX Network Fast ABOUT USFacts WHAT IS THE PROCESS EXCELLENCE NETWORK? PEX Network is an online, free to join, membership portal providing process professionals with exclusive access to a library of multimedia resources from top executives on Lean Six Sigma, BPM, OperationalDIVISION LAUNCHED: 1999 Excellence, Continuous Improvement and other process excellence related topics.WEB PORTAL LAUNCHED: 2008 The Process Excellence Network has a membership of 80,000+ process professionals with an additional 20,000 connected to us via our socialMEMBERSHIP SIZE networks and a global contact database of over 450,000.Total Membership: 88,000+ In addition to online resources, PEX Network organises 30+ targeted face- to-face events globally per year with industry specific focuses on FinancialGrowth: 800+ members per week Services, Telecoms & Utilities, and Energy. We also hold major cross industry summits on process excellence in Orlando, FL (PEX Week) and in London, England (PEX Week Europe) every January and April.SOCIAL MEDIA CREDENTIALS CONTACT USLinkedIn: 10,000+ Members Website: www.pexnetwork.comTwitter: 2,300+ followers General Inquiries: Telephone: +44 (0)20 7368 9300EVENTS ABOUT THE EDITOR30+ globally per annum Diana Davis is editor of and follows trends in process excellence including Lean, Six Sigma, and BPM. She worked previously as aTOPICS COVERED producer with Associated Press Television News and she has also worked in marketing and business development in the software industry. DavisBPM holds a Masters in International Journalism from City University, London and a BA in English from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. SheLean can be reached on SigmaPerformance ManagementChange ManagementData Management 10 | P a g e