The FitzPatrick nuclear generating facility was purchased from the New York Power Authority by Entergy for operation as a “merchant plant”, meaning that a majority of future revenue was subject to competitive pricing verses the “guaranteed return” under which the plant was built and had operated for 25 years. The acquisition was a part of Entergy’s overall strategy to become a significant and profitable operator of a “fleet” of nuclear generating facilities, enjoying the benefits of scope and scale.
The culture at FitzPatrick was challenging. Bureaucratic processes for obtaining necessary approvals was disheartening. In the mid-1990s, FitzPatrick had invested in analyzing and rewriting thousands of technical and administrative procedures and processes. The result was a better definition of roles and responsibilities, but also more complicated and overly prescriptive processes. The net effect was an added measure of bureaucratic safety that frustrated those trying to get “real work” done in a timely manner, and poor performance measures were the result.
Ted Sullivan, Entergy’s newly appointed Site VP, immediately implemented a strategy to improve performance at the plant, which employed Investment In Excellence as its foundation. To improve and sustain performance and establish world-class results, it was necessary to address the cultural issues that limited or frustrated the organization. Ted moved quickly to integrate the education and proven processes of The Pacific Institute into the culture of Fitzpatrick and “powered” up the Process Improvement cycle at Fitz.