All UK water supply and treatment companies are required to invest in their assets regularly to modernise and increase efficiency and provide the best service to their customers. This requires planning in advance for a 5-year cycle and includes upgrades to infrastructure, renewed equipment and improvements in the treatment processes, since many treatment plants have been in use for more than 50 years, possibly longer. 
The industry is used to this cyclic approach, but some water companies are questioning whether they make the best value and look to improving the definition and communication of what they need to do. 
MAT Ltd were engaged by one such Company. 
This is their story: 
A medium sized component manufacturer is running a mostly automated plant producing plastic components. There are plant operators, mostly semi-skilled, and there is a maintenance and breakdown department which responds to call-outs and their priority is to keep the plant running. 
One of the maintenance team has a reputation for being able to get things running quickly and is really enthusiastic, and that means he is usually the one called out. Being so busy, he doesn’t have time to log what he’s done, so it’s a mystery to the rest of his team 
In reality the same thing kept occurring, so he hadn’t fixed the problem, only the symptoms. 
The Plant Manager could see this, and had some idea of what was happening, but was reluctant to address this out of concern for offending a genuinely valuable employee, but he was aware that it was becoming frustrating for all. 
This is their story: 
Click on this text to edit it. 
We were invited to talk to the owner of a small business which manufactures products from locally-sourced fruit. The company has a variable workforce with only a few key people, and saw opportunities to develop its productivity and some new product lines. Not only did the owner not have time to focus on making this change, but he didn’t really know how to go about defining it or what options were available. They didn’t know who could help them articulate the problem or manage a solution. 
This is their story: 
I often get asked this question at family gatherings, let alone the obligatory enquiry at networking meetings. 
Either because what I do is difficult to understand, or I’ve not communicated that clearly enough so far. 
Or maybe just that what I do can’t be pigeonholed into standard phrases that people relate to. 
Sometimes we have to take a little time out to gather our thoughts and step away from the pressure of the daily grind. 
"This isn't the sort of mouse I'm used to..." 
When you feel that whatever you do doesn't take you forward, then stop, empty your mind of those "urgent" tasks and take a moment to look after yourself. 
Sitting at your workstation staring at a mouse is not going to get anything productive done so grab a change of scenery, take a brief nap and allow your brain to focus on something completely different. 
Or maybe nothing at all - just the sounds and smells around you. 
After a while, all of those balls you were juggling have settled down and you can pick each one up in turn to deal with it instead of concentrating on keeping them airborne. 
Our office administrator (pictured) is not normally this animated. 
MAT Ltd will be closed from COB 23 December and re-open on 6 January 2020, but we aren't hiding and will be checking emails and messages. 
Like many others, we're looking forward to a break. But don't forget your colleagues... 
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