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Going against the flow at Severn Trent Water

Mark Chillingworth | July 30, 2013
A wide-ranging transformation plan under CIO Myron Hrycyk has turned Severn Trent Water from an ailing utility into a forward-thinking supplier

"Plan to Adopt is the need for the company to have assets and [the arrangements for] planning, building and maintaining these," he says of the physical items that keep water companies up and running, from tunnels to treatment plants.

"Maintenance is the regime and funding process for the infrastructure and managing the work crews. Hire to Retire is the management of people, Build to Collect is the management of payments and Procure to Pay is about the buying and receiving of items."

Continuous improvement
Hrycyk describes his role at Severn Trent as "looking after the end-to-end processes of the entire company".

The processes stretch beyond back office and the CIO and his team are focused on how they can help Severn Trent achieve those KPIs around issues such as leakage and customer care. Here the CIO — a keen proponent of the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement — has been helping develop ways in which maintenance and repairs can be made with a single visit to a property, saving time, money and resources. Mobile technology in particular is helping.

"Mobile work scheduling has helped us make these improvements," says Hrycyk. "When I joined five years ago the chief executive asked me to transform both IS and the business processes. He told me we were going to create a process-driven organisation to simplify the company with lots of productivity enhancements, to take our people on a journey so that employees have an end-to-end understanding of our process.

"It was very clear that this was going to be about people, process and technology."

One initial technology change was the implementation of SAP across the organisation, something Hrycyk had achieved in previous CIO roles.

"With the SAP in place I found myself able to look across the entire organisation and the role of the CIO is not just about technology, it's about business processes and business skills, so you find yourself stepping into the process transformation remit," he explains.

"For me I had experience of this when I was at Unipart, so I came equipped for lean operations.

"Communications is essential to bring people along with you, which is critical. One of the approaches I take is that with any of these changes it is business-in and not technology-out to the organisation.

"We put a lot of effort into what this approach does for the people out in the field and how it helps them to help the customers. Doing that is all about position and how we can help them do their jobs better. It could be that we are making it easier to capture information so that in the future we don't need to go and gather the information separately.


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