TLS PEx Hub In Full Swing
When Transmission Line Services (TLS) New England transitioned into the FERC Jurisdiction in April 2016, they launched the jurisdiction’s first performance excellence (PEx) hub to help them to work more strategically and realign their efforts within their new organization.
According to Bruce Berard, senior supervisor, Operations, the hub is already yielding results.
“Previously an issue that was raised during a phone call, conversation or meeting may have been forgotten. Now there’s a method for documenting every issue and making sure it gets followed up.”
For example, there was an ongoing issue where several people who should be notified when a line fault occurred were not being paged. Raising the issue in the hub meant it was logged, escalated and someone was made accountable to address it. Problem solved.
Another benefit is the ability to share best practices among the TLS supervisors. With the hub, all of the supervisors are now aware of every job occurring across the transmission footprint, which in turn enables discussion and sharing of lessons learned and best practices.
According to Bruce, “We’re also finding easier ways to track things,” he said. “Photos and diagrams are very helpful, so we use the ‘visual management’ aspect of the hub to great advantage. As far as safety is concerned, CAs (compliance analyses) and IAs (incident analyses) are more prominent with the hub. This helps mitigate ongoing or new issues and allows us to share what’s been happening so we can plan differently, if necessary.”
Bruce added, “It was slow going at first. There was lots of input but there was also the hesitancy that always comes with change, especially among those on the team who weren’t used to working in shared environment. Over time people have come to understand the benefits of the hub and have really opened up with issues and successes. There’s more engagement, I think because people feel that issues are actually getting looked at and resolved.”
“Having the hub requires some extra effort, but we think it’s a worthwhile investment of our time. The meetings get the team to talk about anything and everything, the entire team gets better visibility and an understanding of what’s going on throughout the department, and the hub helps us organize tasks such as SUSAs and training,” he commented.
According to Bruce, the team meets virtually once a week, sharing the online spreadsheet since their group sits in various locations. They do get together in person once a month, incorporating their staff meeting with the hub for those occasions.
“It’s an ongoing learning experience that helps us work safer and more strategically.”