50% reduction in process cycle time, significant increase in customer satisfaction
A leading network operator in the utilities sector (annual turnover of 500 million Euros) is responsible for constructing and operating the entire network system for electricity, natural gas, water, and district heating in a significant German city and its surroundings. With this central task, the company ensures reliable supply for the population and local businesses.
Complexity and massive delays in the network connection process, lack of transparency and digital infrastructure are exacerbated by additional organizational and external challenges leading to dissatisfaction among customers and employees.
A comprehensive current state analysis, the design of target processes, modeling responsibilities and interfaces, and introduction of digital tools and individual coaching to support the change process.
Solution and Benefits
Efficiency gains from implementing digital tools and enhanced internal communication result in 50% shorter processing times and improve the quality of customer advice. Digital tools catalyzed the change for the benefit of customers and employees.
”Thanks to your commitment, we were able to achieve a breakthrough in the digitization of our processes after several failed attempts. Your consultants did not deliver theoretical concepts but implemented pragmatic solutions with our employees. The success of the project speaks for itself.“
”In our projects, we work equally with the customers and their employees. We celebrate successes, reflect when something does not go smoothly in the project, and stay close to the employees and their challenges even during operational implementation. At the end of the project, we heard, "You are not typical consultants," which is a big compliment to us.“
Confronted with increasing complexity in the network connection process and increasing cycle times, the customer faced the challenge of optimizing internal coordination processes. Fourteen internal departments and external service providers were involved, with roles and responsibilities often needing clarification. The application process was analog and cumbersome, leading to long processing times, poor appointment forecasts, and repeated customer complaints. In addition, the company was confronted with organizational and external challenges.
Previous attempts at process optimization had discouraged employees and fostered skepticism toward change. This attitude was reinforced by hesitation to use digital working methods. Delays in the roll-out of the planned IT infrastructure presented a further hurdle that threatened to slow down the momentum of the change process. The Covid-19 pandemic increased pressure to implement optimizations given that more employees worked from the home office, leading to even longer processing times (exacerbated by unpredictable weather conditions).
The consulting team began with a comprehensive current process analysis. The experts defined strategic objectives and developed a detailed process map through interviews and workshops with numerous stakeholders. Afterward, 49 strategic guide rails for process optimization were derived, and the target processes were designed based on this.
The valantic experts modeled the target process and defined process responsibilities, interfaces, and a new methodology for subcontractor control. In addition, a customer portal, controlling dashboards, and a service provider control based on user stories were designed. To implement the solution, the valantic consultants realigned an organization, established a customer service hotline, and implemented a digital planning and control tool. They reduced the number of quotation templates and introduced a digital construction file. In the digital change phase, valantic took over the management of the change process, including individual coaching and regular feedback and review appointments.
An essential basis for the project work was the integration of all directly process-involved employees and clear, transparent communication of project progress and strategic guide rails. Weekly stand-ups and individual coaching sessions were conducted to support the change process and proactively counter resistance, especially for skeptical multipliers.
The targeted efficiency gains were realized by quickly implementing the target process with digital tools while collecting further requirements for the final IT solution. This approach ensured temporal flexibility and minimal effort when switching to the final solution.
The project team realigned the implementation plan to enable access to all critical customer documents from the home office. It introduced a digital construction file with the early integration of all physical information carriers. Tablets were made available to support this new digital work model, and special coaching sessions were conducted.
The benefits of the new approach are impressive: The cycle times for customer connection activities were reduced by 50% – from 90 to 45 working days. The consulting team achieved this through clear process structures, dedicated contacts for all process steps, and improved internal communication.
The quality of customer advice improved significantly. Customers now receive binding execution dates when applying, and all those responsible can provide accurate information anytime. The number of customer complaints has decreased substantially.
The collaboration between the departments has also massively improved. Process issues are effectively communicated, allowing for proactive process management, where problems are identified and addressed early. Cooperation with external service providers is more straightforward: The client now awards bundled, geographically oriented contracts based on estimated cost and guaranteed resources.
In addition, the sunk costs of planning were reduced by having customers confirm a target date in advance and obliging them to cover all planning costs if they do not meet all pre-installation requirements. The introduction of the digital construction file contributes to sustainability. It catalyzes digital change by digitizing the storage of all documents and data, minimizing coordination efforts, enabling home office work, and saving significant amounts of paper.
The project was celebrated on the customer side as a “milestone of digitization” and promoted in internal workshops and videos as an example of successful digital change.