BearingPoint helps Yorkshire Water enhance its maintenance operations

11 May 2022 4 min. read
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A major transformation campaign at Yorkshire Water has been supported by consultants from BearingPoint. The changes have enabled the water company to accelerate maintenance performance, and lower costs.

As it looks to ensure better value for money from water industry operators, regulator Ofwat requires water suppliers to regularly review their operations. This aims to ensure that they maintain high service standards and affordability, while maintaining safe water quality.

Yorkshire Water assists over 5.5 million customers across a large urban and rural area. 140,000 businesses also depend upon the water they supply and the wastewater they take away to provide goods and services that support the economy – not only in Yorkshire, but across the country and beyond. To live up to the regulatory expectations of Ofwat in this context, the firm recently deployed a business transformation, ensuring its management teams were supplied with the latest tools and techniques, setting them up for success.

BearingPoint helps Yorkshire Water  enhance its maintenance operations

In order to do that, Yorkshire Water partnered with BearingPoint. The European consultancy has a global consulting network with more than 10,000 people and supports clients in over 70 countries, including many of the world’s leading companies and organisations. All of these facets were put to work when BearingPoint helped Yorkshire Water with an extensive operational review of its maintenance planning and scheduling function.

Pinpointing key challenges across the maintenance strategy, the review found place to improve in Yorkshire Water’s front-line operation, the back-office teams, and supply chain and logistics activities. Next, the consultancy leveraged its own ActiveManager programme – a transformation methodology for manager-led business transformation its own leadership and development teams produced – to come up with a twelve-week preparation phase.

Following that review and redesign period, BearingPoint helped Yorkshire Water rollout of a new interim operating model, allocating dedicated engineers to service teams. With this interim network in place, the consultants were able to work with the client’s leaders to tailor the ActiveManager programme to their requirements. Dedicated coaches were assigned to guide and support managers in delivering behavioural and business performance targets. This also saw managers upskilled in using new tools and techniques, to run more effective meetings and identify and address efficiency challenges.

Adam Ashman, Head of Engineering and Maintenance Services at Yorkshire Water, commented, “The ActiveManager programme helped us achieve greater productivity and fast, which we needed to meet our business goals. It actually exceeded the benefits case. However, it did this in a way that upskilled our people, improved how we worked together, and made sure that safety and quality were always the first priority. It has changed how we work for the better.”


Following the transformation, Yorkshire Water now has more cost-efficient operations. By optimising third-party contracted engagements, it has boosted its service effectiveness of field engineers – delivering the capacity for savings. In the long term, meanwhile, a 20% improvement in completing point of work risk assessments means that productivity will increase, delivering higher quality performance beyond the completion of the programme.

Tony Farnfield, Partner at BearingPoint, noted, “We are delighted to have worked successfully with Yorkshire Water to achieve their safety, quality, and productivity targets at a time where there is such pressure on water companies to drive efficiencies... ActiveManager has provided clarity around performance expectations and the supporting management behaviours. This has driven true accountability and enabled performance to accelerate.”

The UK’s water industry has been regularly pilloried in recent years. In 2018, a report on poverty from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that arrears for bills for water had become the most common form of debt for the poorest families in Britain. Meanwhile in 2021, it was revealed that the number of occasions in which water companies had discharged raw sewage into British waters had risen by 37%.