How Nuclear Transport Solutions was created
Nuclear Transport Solutions
Digital Transformation Consultancy
Please note: Kerv Consult was recently rebranded from Monochrome Consultancy when it joined the Kerv Group. This project was delivered at a point when the team was known as Monochrome Consultancy.
Leading global provider of safe, secure and reliable nuclear transport solutions that make the world safer and more sustainable
International Nuclear Services (INS), Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) and Direct Rail Services (DRS) joined forces to create Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS).
Whilst retaining their legal identities, NTS aims to be the leader in transport solutions across the UK whilst continuing to deliver the core NDA mission.
To integrate three legal entities within the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) through a targeted transformation programme.
Background & Context
In April 2021, NTS was created to provide a single point of contact for intermodal transport solutions as part of the NDA. A targeted transformation programme was required to integrate the different organisations and Kerv Consult was initially engaged on a twelve-month contract to provide service design expertise.
The Kerv Consult design lead was a key part of the NTS transformation team, providing service design and process re-engineering support to various parts of NTS. They led initial and the detailed design for all projects as part of the NTS transformation approach.
As the engagement progressed, Kerv Consult also answered the call for further project and programme management resource, as well as addressing the need for digital leadership by providing NTS with one of our consultants as interim ICT director. These roles primarily served to bolster the ICT function at NTS, an area which we have been asked to remain involved with into 2022 and beyond.
The end goal was clear: NTS was to become a single transport organisation. This was ultimately a business wide transformation which was underpinned by the extremely important, and necessary, changes in approach to culture and digital. The consultants who we provided to support NTS had very different remits yet were fully aligned throughout the engagement.
In design, we ensured that a structured, agile approach was adhered to from the outset so that the design integrity of the transformation projects was protected at all times. We know from experience that the successful introduction of new ways of working is only ever achieved if supported by a cohesive rollout. Acting as part of the transformation leadership team, we led on process improvement, enterprise architecture and worked alongside the business change lead to drive measurable change into the organisation.
Initial design work quickly revealed the underlying IT to be a key enabler for change and so we ensured detailed attention was given to this area. NTS swiftly approached Kerv Consult to request an additional IT project manager and, soon after, an interim IT director. These two roles continue to support NTS and have been integral to several areas in which NTS has already seen a marked improvement.
This clearly shows three distinct parts of the business where NTS drew on the specialist capabilities of Kerv Consult: transformation design; project management; and IT delivery.
Transformation design was a key role within the transformation team. This initially entailed assessing the two organisations to be merged before scoping the design of the transformation programme. Having quickly built relationships with the CEO, Seth Kybird, and his executive team, workshops were carried out to understand where the transformation priorities should be. We led all service design activities, with guidance being provided across both the transformation projects and work being carried out within the business functions themselves.
At the outset of each project, our design lead ensured coherence and, critically, involvement from all the relevant stakeholders. The importance of identifying requirements up front and designing the solution appropriately cannot be stressed enough and no time was wasted doing the thinking in detailed design.
Kerv Consult were able to provide valuable input into every project across the operational lines (Shipping and Rail) as well as the support functions (IT, HR, Finance, Legal, and more). We made it clear that all projects were interlinked and that nothing should be carried out in isolation. Communication and engagement across all teams was encouraged, whether through workshops or defined processes, and strong ownership and accountability were necessary to ensure success. More than anything, it was constantly reiterated that end-to-end thinking was key to a cohesive approach. Not only that, but leveraging what was already at the organisation’s disposal, be that capability or technology, would drive the biggest change in NTS through the transformation efforts. NTS bought into this and the benefit of all teams working together to design solutions was championed across the business.
It was extremely important not to become a single point of failure when discussing design principles and much effort was made to embed this approach at the inception of each new project. When bringing two organisations together, it is common to encounter contrasting people, processes and systems, but often also two different cultures and ways of working. For this reason, there was a focus on not simply carrying out the design work but rather facilitating it and supporting those involved. This allowed capability to grow and be taken forward within the organisation and NTS acknowledged the importance of this approach.
“Bringing in individuals from the outside who have done IT and organisational design and seen it in different places is vital”.
IT Project Management
Kerv Consult also provided additional IT project management expertise in the delivery space once all transformation work had been identified. Each transformation project contained an IT element, so the experience brought into this role combined with the ongoing work in the design space ensured fluidity and an acute awareness of any dependencies across the programme. This allowed for a more accurate prioritisation of projects due to the detailed, technical understanding of the requirements.
The IT projects covered a multitude of requirements from data transfer and records management to networking and connectivity. One particular aspect that was praised by NTS was the fast pace of IT change which encouraged a more agile approach across the organisation. Not only were projects delivered more swiftly, but areas of improvement in the IT function itself were quickly identified in order for the business to be able to support these changes.
Alongside a company-wide laptop refresh programme, a more robust Service Desk solution was introduced, including a brand-new IT service management (ITSM) tool. These were huge changes in both culture and operations for NTS which required knowledge to be introduced and embedded, technical configuration of the ITSM tool and the final rollout and training for support and end-users alike. The collaboration with transformation design was maintained throughout due to the links between numerous IT systems and functional areas across these projects, e.g. HR and Finance.
Following their great work, NTS have since asked to retain our Kerv Consult Consultant for the next two years as IT Programme Manager for the upcoming Rail Transformation programme.
IT Director (interim)
The need for further ICT support was uncovered through the design of the programme and NTS made a decision to strengthen the capability and leadership of the ICT function.
We sent some of the team to contribute to a workshop focused on digital strategy and within 24 hours of this session NTS requested that the Kerv Consult Consultant who attended act as their interim IT director. The goal here was to better understand the capacity and capability of NTS IT services as well as their ability to deliver and support IT requirements across both the transformation projects and business as usual (BAU).
Once again, the design lead provided key support for the work in this area, helping to better understand the relationships between the systems across the organisation and, ultimately, how they are supported. Our interim IT director took on this work, immediately building relationships with the system and functional leads. A systems map was produced along with a capability map of the IT function, each area being scored using a red, amber, green (RAG) status. This was an important exercise and Seth (CEO) remarked how Kerv Consult
“has come in and set the standard for where we should be and how we get there”.
IT Director (interim)
From a BAU perspective, this role was also integral to the aforementioned introduction of IT service management through the IT service desk and ITSM tool. Performance and customer satisfaction have already improved since we stepped into the interim IT Director role and ITSM best practice is now being embedded into the teams, processes and tools. There is much more emphasis on harnessing the expertise of the IT function with more centralised support taking the pressure off the wider organisation, eliminating siloed ways of working and single points of failure.
Change management is also far more robust with the value of the team being recognised and IT being invited to be part of broader conversations about both project and operational work across the business. Handover of projects into service is now being more closely scrutinised and a more collaborative approach being taken to ensure continuity of a high-level of support as new and existing services are accepted by IT into the live environment.
Kerv Consult has committed to support NTS with the interim IT director requirement until late 2023. This will allow us all to build on the great work already carried out and to ensure that the entire IT service continues to provide the highest level of support and value that it can offer.
The NTS transformation approach ensures that up front service design is integral to decision making. This ensures not only that NTS continues to deliver projects well, but that the business is delivering the right solutions. This is based on comprehensive requirements gathering and ensuring all relevant stakeholders are consulted from the outset through to the completion of all pieces of work. It is an approach which can be applied across NTS and the work done by Kerv Consult was positively acknowledged throughout our engagement by the directors of Shipping, Security & Resilience, Finance, HR and more.
Kerv Consult worked with all areas of the business and have assisted in the delivery of numerous, critical projects from self-service capabilities, time booking and payroll, to ship IT upgrades, management system and laptop refresh programmes. We have worked with NTS to ensure that IT and digital are now at the heart of any design, with the recognition that even a nuclear business requires strong digital acumen across its organisation. Ships at sea and trains across the UK are now better supported than ever as they carry out important journeys transporting sensitive material for customers.
NTS is an organisation which is still in the infancy of its own journey and together we have worked to help build towards a promising future. They continue to work tirelessly to deliver their ambitious strategic goals and ensure that the culture and ways of working that have been introduced over the last twelve months endure long into the future. Teams are now better equipped with the tools and capability that they require to deliver an exceptional service and an ambitious roadmap now exists outlining the years to come.
We at Kerv Consult are extremely proud to have had the opportunity to work with NTS and have seen first-hand the progress made during our engagement. The Transformation programme team at NTS came from various organisations and backgrounds but all worked as one towards making NTS a success. We were embraced by the organisation and this should never be overlooked as it made working with NTS a pleasure. The impact of COVID and remote working has made working collaboratively even more difficult over the last twelve months, but NTS adapted brilliantly and were nothing but accommodating and understanding throughout.
Whilst Kerv Consult helped NTS deliver many transformation projects in 2021, others will require significant time to complete and so will continue into 2022 and beyond. Our interim IT director will remain in post until late 2023 and in the New Year our project manager has been asked to stay on in the role of IT Programme Manager for the upcoming rail transformation programme.
Alongside this, we have answered the call for two more roles in the organisation, providing a DevOps lead and a project manager to continue the NTS transformation efforts.
NTS has aspirations to be a world leader in transport solutions and has already made great strides towards achieving this. Kerv Consult is extremely proud and excited to continue its relationship with NTS in the months and years to come as we work together towards this goal.
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