A turnaround to enable safe, reliable and efficient operation and maintenance of E.ON's power stations

Training on competences gets a high priority at energy producer E.ON. And that means attention to such questions as “How do I analyse a breakdown?” or “How do I handle a contractor?”. Technology no longer plays the leading role. This turnaround, achieved by E.ON together with PDM, was necessary so as to enable safe, reliable and efficient operation and maintenance of their power stations in the future too.

Partly due to the takeover of NRE in the summer of 2005, E.ON Benelux, a subsidiary of one of the biggest energy companies in the world, E.ON Energie AG, has undergone enormous growth. Before the takeover, E.ON Benelux was already one of the larger energy producers in the Benelux, producing electricity and heat and distributing this to energy-intensive business customers and distribution companies. Since the takeover of NRE, E.ON Benelux has also been selling gas and electricity directly to private and business customers.

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Production facilities

E.ON Benelux’s production facilities consist of 5 gas-fuelled power stations in Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Delft and Capelle a/d Ijssel and two coal-fuelled units, with a total electrical capacity of 1850 MW. E.ON also has two CHP plants that supply utilities to chemical factories. Of the total of 650 employees working at E.ON Benelux, about 180 people are involved in maintaining the power stations in some way.

Roel van der Stok
Manager Asset & Maintenance Management, E.ON

Previously, most of them spent most of their time resolving breakdowns. However, to enable safe, reliable and efficient operation and maintenance of all production facilities in the future too, it was necessary to improve a number of core processes. We called in the help of PDM for this.

PDM started with a team at the Maasvlakte site and the city sites with streamlining the work processes, gate-keeping, work preparation, work scheduling and breakdown analysis. Then we built up the organisation around these in close consultation with the employees at these sites. For this working method, we made a conscious decision to create as much support as possible in the organisation. An additional advantage of this approach was that the decision points are now clear, so that everyone has a clearer idea of who is responsible for what. We also implemented a maintenance management system in order to monitor the results, carried out breakdown analyses, tested existing maintenance plans and improved them where necessary, and modi ed the communication structure to enable a process- and results-focused way of working in the future. 2 to 3 times a year, we carry out a so-called PSM (Process, System and Meetings) audit and a technical audit. In the latter audit, for example, improvement points in the case of servicing/shutdowns are identified so as to be able to prepare for the next shutdown better.

Training

"In order to prepare our Maintenance Engineers for their new role and familiarise them with carrying out breakdown analyses, a lot of attention was devoted to training and coaching our people,” says Van der Stok.

25% of a training programme consists of a training course in the form of a workshop and 75% of the time people are coached on the job. The aim of all of this is to create a common knowledge base in E.ON Benelux. During these training courses, employees also get the opportunity to orientate themselves towards a higher job level instead of compensating for a lack of competence at a lower level. One consequence of this training programme is that PDM was busy setting up Competence Centers in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Inspection, Condition Monitoring, Process Automation and Mechanisation. The biggest challenge facing us at the moment is to find the right people for each discipline.

Results

The most striking result of this project had to be the change in behaviour. For example, nowadays people at E.ON Benelux work in a much more planned and process-focused way, targeting results. This is due, among other things, to the fact that the organisation has become much more transparent. More than 70% of breakdowns are now reported in the system. Furthermore, the number of tasks not yet carried out has been considerably reduced and work is prepared better. It is also true that 80% of all planned work is now carried out on time.

Roel van der Stok
Manager Asset & Maintenance Management, E.ON

We liked working with PDM. We particularly liked the exibility and expertise of their organisation in tackling the various programmes. So it’s unsurprising that PDM was also involved in the embedding. It’s worth noting that, as an extension to the project, we have now begun to modify all job descriptions and our assessment system with PDM, so that from now on we will be in a better position to assess our people on their results and competences.


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