Given that LLW Repository Ltd (LLWR) has been promoting change in the management of lower activity waste for more than a decade, it is no surprise that its workforce has proved flexible in converting to the ‘new normal’ brought about by coronavirus.
Almost 90% of the LLWR workforce has been working productively from home during lockdown, enabling the nuclear industry to continue its decommissioning mission during the period of remote working.
Within LLWR it’s the role of Waste Management Services business unit (WMS) to help customers manage their lower activity wastes at every stage of the waste lifecycle, and when the lockdown call came in late March, they were prepared.
Damian Seath, Head of WMS Operations, likened the response to that of a military task force. With a business continuity plan developed, staff began obtaining the equipment required to operate remotely, tested their IT equipment and created electronic copies of Visual Management Boards used to coordinate service operations. They even packed grab bags containing vital documents and management system forms required to perform Business As Usual activities remotely for customers, in case the IT network was unavailable.
The teams were quickly restructured into ‘cells’ and new virtual meetings and communication routes were put in place so that everything remained coordinated. Once mobilised, home working quickly became the norm, ensuring business continuity for LLWR’s customer base.
Communication is a pivotal part of remote working and video conferencing has been utilised extensively for internal meetings and to ensure customers get the personal touch. As a by product, Damian has noticed that his team’s IT skills are sharper than ever.
“WMS have always been at the forefront of change and are constantly looking for new innovations and efficiencies to stay ahead of the game and deliver a better quality service for its customers,” he said.
“I believe that one of the many success factors was due to the passion and enthusiasm for the work we perform, along with a key desire to obtain customer excellence through delivery.”
During lockdown many sites with which LLWR works have reduced or ceased operations with only a few vital consignments continuing to be transported for treatment or disposal.
But business has carried on, with WMS for instance continuing to work across the NDA group to develop scope for metallic waste treatment services, in anticipation of a new metallic framework going live, continuing to implement process and service improvement initiatives, source and procure new frameworks such as Expert Support and Alternative Treatment, to further enhance the service offering, and develop a new Customer Relationship Management software tool.
They have also worked with customers on several new waste enquiries and some early project preparation works, so everything is in place for the eventual restart.
Damian said: “Hopefully when all is back to normal (or new normal) in the world of waste management, our customers will notice the amount of work that has been ongoing behind the scenes and realise the benefits in the short and longer term.”