Synergy between NRG and Primaned

Primavera inspires a critical view on internal project design

A deep insight in the own organizational structure is a must for optimal project design in every branch. A professional software solution is therefore essential; the right software package makes internal business operations transparent and externally gives commissioners reliable information about progress, costs and time schedules at any given moment. The implementation of a new software package resulted in even more at NRG: the choice for Primavera P6 proved to be the starting sign for the nuclear service provider from Petten to start a critical discussion within the own organization, with professional project design as a main focus. 
When it comes to nuclear services, NRG is a worldwide leading player, offering services to governments and companies with innovating products and internationally recognized expertise. NRG controls the HFR (High Flux Reactor) fifty kilometers north of Amsterdam, in Petten. As Europe’s largest producer of molybdenum, thousands of patients are helped daily with radio pharmaceutical products; the isotopes for diagnostics, therapy and pain relief are used globally. Besides all that, NRG, as a research institute, is developing a sustainable focus on the safety of nuclear plants and pleasant alternatives for nuclear waste management, including recycling technology. Applied research on making nuclear energy more sustainable and making optimal use of nuclear fusion technology is done in collaboration with leading international partners. At the moment, preparations are being made for the construction of the PALLAS reactor as a replacement for the current HFR.
Commissioner specifically asks for Primavera
As manager for projects and products at the business unit Irradiation & Development (I&D) at NRG, Hans Hegeman underlines the importance of professional project design and –control. “In the past, we worked decentralized: every department had their own planning, put into a system of their choice. Not an ideal situation: the lack of uniform information about planning and completion only increases the risk of mistakes, delay and exceeding budgets. Four hundred employees are active at NRG; two hundred of them work at the unit I&D, so it’s easy to lose track of the situation without a good planning, which could result in endangering deadlines and people not being deployed when they are unexpectedly needed. In an organization with numerous project s where lots of people, materials and money are involved, it’s important that everyone has quick and transparent access to the necessary information.” In addition, NRG changed into a matrix organization with a project based working method in 2011. NRG switched to Primavera P6 to break through the decentralized way of working. “A user-friendly solution for managing and executing projects”, according to Hegeman. “What’s unique about this transfer is the fact that we didn’t approach any different parties beforehand and chose the best offer. We were externally driven by clients already using Primavera; it was a specific requirement for the project Fusion for Energy. Clients in the area of isotopes also worked with Primavera. It was an easy choice to make.” 
Organic growth thanks to Primavera
Primavera’s implementation trajectory became an organic process after the decision for the set-up of a central system was made, Hans Hegeman explains. “We set aside eight months to introduce Primavera in phases, to guarantee the continuity of projects and make sure employees are properly trained. A Primaned consultant was a single point of contact for setting up projects and future users have been intensively supervised and trained at Primaned Academy, where specific training in project management are given. We hired our own planner in a later on.” Primavera P6’s role-specific functionality meets a project team’s needs, responsibilities and skills. Supervising big and smaller projects has become transparent and efficient and adaptations on different levels of complexity can quickly be realized thanks to the integrated solution. “The system isn’t used to its fullest yet”, Hegeman knows. “This is because of the organic growth from working decentralized to planning in projects. Besides, a trajectory of this time just takes time. Automation hits the heart of a company; it’s going to take a year before the new system is implemented and the users are fully capable of using it.”
Internal discussion about project control
It’s remarkable that Hegeman calls the internal discussion that started after Primavera’s implementation, the biggest gain so far. “The rolls have been slightly reversed: normally, a new software solution proves its advantages soon after the testing stages. The people with Primaned incited us at NRG to take a critical look at the best way to set-up and control a system; once all that is clear, then the system can be used to its fullest. This is a great opportunity for us to professionalize project design and –control. Primavera forces us to make the need for planning insightful and to look at all company processes. This eventually results in the most ideal situation: a well set-up organization. Then we can show to our clients that we are in full control.
Link Primavera and SAP
NRG has made an important step towards the future with Primavera, Hans Hegeman states. “We are on the threshold of an organizational change. The aim is to realize an interface between SAP and Primavera, by which planning and control will be strengthened further and we will be able to professionally present our portfolio. In the future, it will be possible to quickly anticipate and, if needed, adapt, by linking the financial part, like attendance management and all progress information about projects with Primavera. The initial impetus for this was Primavera’s implementation. Planning in an organization this big takes some real skill; bby now, the new planner has a recognized role within NRG. All these changes are worth their investment, because this extensive professionalization earns back in the future.”