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Drax enlists the support of Crimson & Co to help revolutionise its planning processes

Drax power station. Selby, North Yorkshire.

Energy firm Drax, which supplies up to approximately eight percent of the UK’s electricity needs, is enhancing its business processes following the successful implementation of a new Advanced Planning Scheduling (APS) system. Completed in September 2016, the new platform will allow Drax to dramatically improve planning and supply chain capabilities across its organisation.

Drax owns and operates the UK’s largest power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, and has converted from burning coal into becoming a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator, driven by its use of innovative technology and sustainably sourced compressed wood pellets.

As part of this transformation, Drax has been forced to significantly enhance its supply network, building the necessary infrastructure that allows the transfer and transport of compressed wood pellets from pelleting plants to the power station. At the same time, it needed to develop an effective planning system to ensure this new supplier network could be managed in the most efficient way. Historically, the company has maintained its networks through legacy systems and Excel based documentation, but this was not conducive to the long-term efficient operation of the business, as it looked to diversify its operations and optimise value.

In sourcing an effective planning system, Drax approached global supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co. Crimson’s expertise in providing detailed insight into planning and scheduling capabilities meant Drax could make an informed decision when selecting the APS system right for its organisation.

As part of this process Crimson initially carried out a detailed analysis of Drax’s business in order to understand its core strengths, challenges and processes. From this a procurement assessment was undertaken to determine each system’s ability to support Drax.

Once completed, Crimson provided a detailed assessment outlining the specific capabilities of each prospective solution and their ability to aid Drax in making its final decision. From this, Drax selected Quintiq, a provider of on-premise and cloud-based supply chain and operations planning and optimisation software to supply it with a robust and efficient APS system.

Graham Backhouse, Head of Supply Chain & Logistics from Drax understands that the need to have confidence in their planning processes is critical to future growth, he said: “Drax is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation moving towards a smarter, cleaner and more efficient way to generate electricity. Implementing such a change is incredibly complex. We have invested a huge amount of time and resources developing and establishing the necessary technological and supply chain framework to support our biomass fuelling operation.  Once in place we needed to implement a planning system to ensure it operated as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Dave Alberts, Director at Crimson & Co suggests more and more businesses are understanding the benefits of having effective planning processes in place to support their business strategies, he said: “The role of the supply chain is increasingly shaping and supporting business strategies across the organisations. Within this, planning is essential, and that is why APS systems are so important.”

Image credit: debstheleo

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