Operating on 9,000sqm across two sites and staffed by over 100 employees, the electricity network asset assembly and refurbishment workshops is responsible for the manufacture and refurbishment of distribution plant for Ergon Energy and key clients, ENERGEX and Powerlink.  As the tenant of leased floor space, increased landlord pressure to relocate the workshops from the existing sites initiated a business case and recommendations to move to new premises in the long-term

  • Executive team saw opportunity to also enhance the high-value production work and outsource the low-value (fabrication, welding, and sheet metal) functions.
  • The project included sourcing a brown or green -field site, consultative co-design of new machinery and workspace layouts, training and coaching in lean manufacturing practices and tools, and handover to management and staff.
  • Additional complexity was added to the challenge by the need to represent the client through design consultation and workplace transitions in a highly unionised workplace with minimal interruption to operations.


The initial project objective was to address the accommodation issues. Aligned with these issues were broader objectives to improve business unit productivity by applying process review and best practice manufacturing that established a base for the longer-term vision.

Extensive stakeholder consultation to define the future state floor layouts and developing a best practice capability that streamlined to the high value end of the industry to improve productivity and create a continuous improvement culture.

Early change impact assessment was essential to get a good understanding of the challenges and best approach to the change. Clearly communicating the benefits to individuals and addressing simple things like car parking and travel routes to the new site reassured staff that their concerns were being considered. Starting the lean training early also presented an opportunity to engage and resolve cultural challenges before concerns got out of hand.

Our consultative design approach of seeking the answers from within the business gave a sense of ownership and pride in the plan for the new workplace and brought out unforeseen innovations and opportunities.


The exercise of reconfiguring the workshop layouts emphasized the need for significant process and cultural improvement. This instigated a review of key production lines and commenced a broader training and cultural change undertaking, the Focused Production Program.  The Focused Production Program delivered Lean Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement training and followed up with practical ‘on-the-ground’ initiatives and teams that applied their newfound expertise to improve productivity.

A structured and coordinated approach from discovery and engagement, through design and planning, to a new facility and culture saw the Specialist Plant Services business gain improvements for both management and staff.

  • No negative effect on the business’ operations
  • Managed significant changes to the project scope and timing with complete client satisfaction
  • Exceeded project quality requirements within cost and time constraints
  • Satisfied or exceeded client expectations