The TVA had a challenge to reduce their non-fuel Operations and Maintenance spending $128 million in four years to reach top quartile spend. Each plant manager was accountable for their budget and they were welcome to use Lean Six Sigma but only if they wanted to use it. Bill saw it as his job to make sure they saw it as a worthy answer to finding the company-mandated savings.
When Bill Guill got involved, Continuous Improvement was not new at the TVA. He initially experienced a lot of resistance and found Lean Six Sigma to be a hard sell.
He made sure that everyone in the plant had some level of training based on their responsibilities. With over 1,900 employees targeted for training, Bill used a fleet tracking scorecard to ensure that the training was completed in a timely manner.
His model was to first have employees complete a one-page, Continuous Improvement (CI) Thought-Starter focused on the 8 Wastes. It was used as a tool to facilitate waste elimination sessions with employees to develop actionable projects. That level of simplicity and practicality had immediate results and became contagious.
One of his main messages to employees was that they were already doing continuous improvement — they just weren’t taking credit for it. He started seeing front-line employees getting excited about finding savings and getting recognition for making improvements.
Bill cites training as essential in laying a solid foundation. He let everyone know that improvements could be as simple as creating a checklist for a task to eliminate waste, or they could be as complicated as addressing unit startups and shutdowns.
A great example that came out of this was reviewing the rental equipment list at several of the plants and understanding the usage. They saved $500k by returning unused and seldom used equipment. Another example was a plant that moved oil changes on their diesel generators from time-based to condition-based intervals.
Bill developed a modified A3 that utilized the Continuous Improvement training and DMAIC Model as a way to share projects across the Coal, Gas and Hydro fleet.
This approach starting with a foundation, and lots of “Quick Wins” and projects is what got them to the $21 Million in savings.