Managing risk through effective team-based decision making
A npower case study

Page 1: Introduction

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Making sure that government, businesses and households have secure supplies of energy is a huge commitment. Engineers working for the energy supply companies must make sure that this commitment is met 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This case study shows how the engineers who work for one of the UK's major energy businesses, RWE npower, are involved in securing energy supplies and in the...
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Page 2: RWE npower’s operating environment

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It is important, when assessing risk, to be aware of the operating circumstances of the business. The energy industry is at the heart of any modern economy. Electricity and gas suppliers provide the essential power supplies for industry as well as for our homes. They seek to keep energy costs low while operating for 365 days a year. RWE npower is an integrated energy company. It is the third...
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Page 3: Types of problem-solving

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Business problem-solving typically fits into three main categories: Deviation problems. This is where a business is falling short of its expected targets. For example, a power plant is contracted to supply 2,000,000 kilowatts of power to the national grid and is falling short of this by 5%. The problem-solving involves getting capacity back up to the required level. An improvement problem...
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Page 4: Creative problem-solving

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In business there is typically a direct relationship between risk and reward. The bigger the risk you take, the greater the possibility of making a high return. The reverse side of this is that high risks can also be associated with spectacular failure. Engineers working for RWE npower need to understand the commercial implications of the decisions they make. The best decisions will be those...
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Page 5: Creative problem-solving at graduate level

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It is not only top level managers that make important commercial decisions. RWE npower employs graduate engineers straight from university. They contribute to the decision making processes from the start. Typically their salaries start at about £25,000. They receive training and development throughout their career at RWE npower. They are encouraged to think for themselves and to place a high...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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The success of the UK economy depends on having secure and efficient energy supplies. Each day the challenge is increasing as resources become more scarce. For example, the world's oil and gas reserves are running out. At the same time much of the capital plant that makes up the national grid and many older power stations needs replacing. This creates immense challenges and opportunities for...
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