Elevating a Natural Gas Utility with Quality Assurance and Effective Scheduling

natural gas meters with yellow pipes against brick wall


PFES partnered with a leading Midwest natural gas utility to revamp its operations through the introduction of a comprehensive quality assurance plan & program, optimized capital project scheduling, and refined stakeholder reporting mechanisms. This collaboration was set against the backdrop of the utility's decade-long gas main replacement venture, which also encompassed service and meter replacements, along with extensive public and private restoration efforts.

Customer Dissatisfaction and Organizational Disorder

Unfortunately, the initial phases of this replacement program were marred by escalating customer dissatisfaction and internal organizational challenges. The program suffered from construction overruns, deviations from project schedules, and an absence of both a structured quality assurance plan framework and dedicated personnel to oversee these critical components.

Our Approach

Recognizing the gravity of the situation and acknowledging their own lack of experience managing such a massive capital gas replacement program, the utility enlisted PFES to conduct a thorough evaluation of the existing construction quality assurance plan. Furthermore, PFES was tasked with identifying and implementing effective mitigation strategies.

PFES deployed a team of seasoned QA experts to meticulously assess the utility's construction quality processes, customer complaint mechanisms, and scheduling protocols. This rigorous analysis paved the way for a series of targeted recommendations aimed at overhauling the utility's approach to project management and customer engagement.

At the heart of PFES' solution was the development of a robust quality assurance plan & program tailored to the unique demands of the utility's replacement initiative. This program was designed to establish stringent quality standards and processes, ensuring all aspects of the replacement program met or exceeded these benchmarks.

Critical Success Factors

  • Enhanced scheduling and stakeholder communication
    • A critical component of PFES' solution was the introduction of an improved scheduling system, complemented by a common customer communication database. These tools were instrumental in facilitating more efficient project execution and fostering a more transparent and responsive communication channel with stakeholders.
  • On-the-ground impact and improved reporting
    • Beyond strategic recommendations, PFES mobilized a construction quality assurance inspection team to the field, embedding PFES resources within the client’s project organization. This integration had an immediate and profound impact, notably enhancing contractor performance and significantly reducing customer complaints. Moreover, PFES' efforts resulted in greater transparency and visibility into the project's progress, equipping upper management with the necessary tools and information for prompt and informed decision-making. This enhanced real-time reporting mechanism was crucial for the utility's ability to swiftly address issues and adjust strategies as needed.

A New Quality Standard

Through the implementation of a meticulous quality assurance program, refined scheduling practices, and an overarching commitment to stakeholder engagement and satisfaction, PFES has set a new standard for this utility.

This collaboration not only addressed the immediate challenges faced by the client, but also laid a solid foundation for sustainable operational excellence and customer satisfaction. The success of this initiative underscores PFES' role as a leader in driving innovation and quality across the utility sector.

The Perfect QA Consulting Partner

Our team consists of industry heavyweights that bring substantial expertise to the table for our clients. We partner with you to reduce risk and uncertainty in your capital projects, delivering initiatives on time with significant cost savings while meeting industry and safety standards. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

April 26, 2024
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