Joulz uses the QPR suite to achieve operational excellence as part of its drive to engineer, install and maintain grids and connections at the lowest possible costs. Joulz Ltd (2, 500 employees) is a subsidiary of Dutch energy company Eneco Energy Joulz’s sister company Stedin owns and operates the distribution grid for gas and electricity to two million households in the Netherlands.
Joulz’s goal is to maintain and expand the distribution grid while minimizing the number of interruption minutes per customer connection. Because the mother company Stedin acts under a Dutch Energy Regulator, setting price caps on costs per connection, Joulz’s main challenge has been to reduce its cost of service while maintaining operational excellence. To achieve this objective Joulz reorganized and streamlined its organization in process streams. Outsourcing a fair part of the fieldwork to sub-contractors was also part of the strategy to reduce costs.
Increasing process efficiencies and operational performance required improved operational process stream control. For this, Joulz implemented a control system following a two-fold strategy. The first was the automation of operational processes using implementing an ERP system. The second was the implementation of a business support management system to drive and monitor process excellence.
Joulz, a specialist in energy infrastructure, offers products and services to its customers throughout the Netherlands in the chain of Conceiving (design and engineering), Constructing (construction and connection), and Conserving (maintenance and breakdown & emergency services). Joulz’s strength lies in optimally coordinating these three phases. Joulz Ltd is a subsidiary company of Dutch energy company Eneco Energy .
With over 100 years of experience, Joulz is committed to delivering high quality at minimal costs throughout an energy facility’s or network’s lifecycle. With around 2,600 employees, Joulz is ready 24/7 to ensure secure energy services, everywhere in the Netherlands. Joulz’s areas of technological expertise include electricity, gas, public lighting, traffic control systems, control technology, and sustainable energy, such as heat, wind, CO2, and steam.
Automating Operational Processes
SAP® was selected as Joulz’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to support the process streams. In SAP all activities for installation, maintenance, and support are automatically processed from order to delivery and payment.
Although ERP systems enable efficiency, caution had to be taken to align the automated processes with Joulz’s administrative and field operational activities. Performing test drives against defined business processes was essential to ensure proper implementation of the SAP system. Once operational, process performance needed to be closely monitored to enable operator interaction when needed.
Implementing a Business Management Support system
As described earlier, the second objective was the creation of a business management support system. The purpose of this system was to enable operational departments to get full awareness of their responsibilities in the streamlined processes, allowing them to steer performance and process improvement. This required an integrated solution that provided insight for managers and employees on how to perform operations including actual performance. Information feedback towards Joulz management as part of continuous improvement was equally important.
“We wanted an easy-to-implement, flexible, and cost-effective solution – at the same time meeting our requirements”, Mr. Robert Gundlach, the Senior Supply Chain Manager at Joulz referred to when asked why QPR was selected.
“Many vendors promise a lot but deliver little. QPR’s partner in the Netherlands, SPNP Consulting, was able to demonstrate in a live demo that the QPR Suite was indeed so flexible that additional requirements could be implemented instantaneously. So the proof of the pudding was in the eating”, he continues.
QPR brought business management integration and efficiency
Initially, a business support system was created from existing systems integrated through many – and mostly human – interfaces. This resulted in a difficult-to-manage labor-intensive system that was not only cost-inefficient but also incapable of delivering operational/ management information in a timely and consistent way.
To eliminate these drawbacks Joulz conducted a survey for a system that would integrate the different business needs into a single solution, to automate information gathering and distribution as much as possible.
After a successful three-month pilot – consulted and supported by SPNP Consulting, Advanced Value Added Reseller in the Netherlands, Joulz selected QPR Suite as the core system of their business management support system. During that year and the following two years the QPR Suite was implemented to support Joulz with the following business functions:
QPR Portal was used as the single point of contact for business-related information regarding training, execution, and reporting of operational processes. All systems containing relevant information, such as necessary guidelines, procedures, and instructions, were interfaced with the QPR Suite and distributed via QPR Portal to all employees. The system also signaled and alerted employees regarding business topics on health and safety. Today 2,500 employees visit the QPR portal regularly for updates regarding their work.
All of Joulz’s operational processes were defined in QPR ProcessDesigner process management software and all instruction documentation stored in MS SharePoint was directly related to employee roles through processes and procedures via the QPR SharePoint integration module. More than 2,500 documents regarding installation and equipment specifications are now accessible via the QPR Portal. web user interface.
Joulz’s SAP application architecture was integrated with defined process activities in the QPR ProcessDesigner mark which the SAP module and screen were used during. This information was communicated via the QPR Portal during employee training and instructions.
Joulz’s modeled processes were used during SAP functional requirement development, ensuring End-to-End connectivity of different SAP functions.
QPR Portals’ authentication enables Joulz contractors to access relevant installation documentation in the field. The QPR-specific third-party portal allows fieldworkers to retrieve information with a minimal amount of clicks. QPR Suite is used to streamline Joulz’s operational processes. Analysis results from LEAN exercises are modeled in the QPR suite as To-Be processes, acting as a reference for process improvement implementations.
QPR Metrics was implemented to provide Joulz management with monthly management KPI reports, integrating twenty information sheets into one consolidated dashboard.
“The ability of QPR to interface with many systems, thus acting as an integrator for business information has proven to be of great value for our employees”, Mr. Xander Prooi, the Lead Process Architect at Joulz commented when asked what QPR has brought to Joulz’ business.
A Business-Driven implementation
The business management system in QPR was enhanced over nearly two years in which system functionality was gradually migrated from existing systems towards the QPR Suite.
This approach limited the impact on the Joulz organization, enabling the business management system to prove its added value in a natural way driven by the demands of the organization. Each expansion of the system was driven by a business case to secure management buy-in and a smooth transition.
Today, the QPR Business Management support system integrates several systems via the QPR Bizz-Architecture server and QPR web portal into one management system. The system supports the main steps in the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) management cycle and provides a single integrated view of Joulz’s business management, needless to mention the importance of the system to Joulz’s management.
The business benefits of implementing QPR Suite and replacing the existing stack of applications resulted in a structural saving of 75K euros on software and maintenance every year.
QPR business management system played a crucial supporting role in several process optimizations contributing to a resource cost reduction of more than 15 Million euros.
Following the success of QPR in Joulz, the mother company Stedin has started implementing QPR Suite in their future Business Management system, seeking similar business benefits as Joulz has profited from with QPR Suite.
“The business benefits for implementing QPR Suite and replacing the existing stack of applications resulted in a structural saving of 75K euro’s on software and maintenance every year. Joulz‘s QPR powered business management system played a crucial supporting role in several process optimizations contributing to a resource cost reduction of more than 15 Million euros.”
– Xander Prooi, Lead Process Architect, Joulz Ltd. –
QPR Software Plc
QPR Software is specialized in the operational development of private and public sector organizations. Our mission is to help our customers to become agile and efficient in their operations. We offer software and services in areas of enterprise architecture development, process modeling, and analysis as well as performance management. We have more than 1,500 customers in over 50 countries and our shares are listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.
QPR Advanced Value-Added-Reseller SPNP Consulting is specialized in operations and process management. SPNP’s focus is on the design and layout of business architecture and on operationalizing as well as optimizing business processes.
SPNP realizes together with its customer’s improvements in businesses and operations helping better to achieve targets. In this SPNP follows the best practice standards and translates them into feasible solutions.
Currently, SPNP is working on process management and architecture projects in the energy, telecom, transportation, and manufacturing industries. SPNP develops and implements industry-specific reference models that companies and organizations can quickly set up.