An offshore wind farm is like a complex machine. For things to run smoothly, every part needs regular attention. As a result, most owners rely on multiple contractors for the day-to-day upkeep of the site. From turbine maintenance to cabling, foundation repair to substation inspection, every aspect requires its own dedicated team.
As you probably know, this can be a logistical nightmare. We’ve found that site owners are often forced to take a very hands-on approach. Contractors submit their plans for the day ahead via email, and site owners do their best to collate them into a spreadsheet. Using this data, they assign tasks and allocate teams to vessels.
This approach places a great deal of responsibility on the operations team to check that team members have the correct qualifications, locations are accessible, and that weather conditions are safe.
Sometimes it happens that a team arrives at a job, only to discover that someone’s certification has expired. Maybe two teams are assigned to the same site and get in each other’s way. All of these issues lead to delays, and delays cost money.
On top of this there is the need to monitor the ongoing work of each contractor to make sure that they are fulfilling their obligations and working to optimise the wind farm, not just taking the most convenient option.
Things don’t have to be this way. The right asset management technology allows you to organise and monitor multiple contractors with ease. Here are five ways that Sennen can simplify contractor management for you.
1. Plan the day’s tasks more effectively
Our software allows you to take a more methodical approach to planning, allowing you to avoid scheduling or compliance conflicts while speeding up administrative tasks.
Rather than leaving all the work to the site manager, contractors must log in and create their plan for the day ahead. This includes which teams will do what, where and when.
The system will automatically check whether all team members are qualified for the job, and will flag any scheduling conflicts with other teams. The system checks that the locations are safe to access and provides information on current hazards enabling users to evaluate a plan against the options.
Knowing the plan well in advance leaves plenty of time for the operations team to suggest improvements such as multiple issues being fixed during one turbine visit. Also, it's quick and easy to make changes to the plan in response to new information. A change of work is inputted, vessels rerouted and made visible to everyone immediately.
2. Automate compliance obligations and notifications
Offshore work is subject to strict safety regulations. Specific tasks require specialised qualifications and these have to be updated regularly. Our software keeps track of every individual's qualifications and will notify you whenever they go out of date. Contractors can update their qualifications and upload new certificates directly to the system.
The same goes for equipment regulations. A good example is the LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations), that apply to turbine lifts. Lifts that carry people have to be checked every six months, and forgetting to do so can cause major delays. Our system keeps track of all equipment, notifies you when an inspection is due and will automatically raise a restriction if the due date is missed.
3. Make contractors accountable for their decisions
Since so much offshore work takes place in remote locations, it can be hard to hold contractors to account for their decisions. If a job is left unfinished, you only have the contractor’s word as to why this happened. Our software makes contractors accountable for their decisions by requiring them to log their actions as they go. For example, if a job is abandoned due to poor weather, you can check the conditions and challenge the decision if necessary. If something goes wrong, you can find out why and who was responsible. This creates a single source of truth and encourages a culture of transparency between contractors and site owners.
4. Check that contractual obligations are being met
Wind farm contracts can be highly complex, and often vary greatly from contractor to contractor. This makes it hard to know if every team is fulfilling their obligations. Drastically cut the time spent on contract administration and leverage our automation tools to build long-term business resilience
Our software allows you to input the details of each contract, including warranties, agreements, performance metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). We create a bespoke dashboard for your contracts, allowing you to easily check and manage performance criteria. If an aspect of the contract is breached, our software will raise the issue immediately. If the terms of a contract change, the dashboard can be amended without having to start from scratch. You can also compare the performance of different contractors to make sure that everyone is pulling their weight.
5. Keep data safe
Submitting contractor plans via email is not particularly secure. Emails are safer than they used to be, but they are still relatively easy to hack. According to a study by IBM, human error is the main cause of 95% of cyber security breaches.
Our software minimises this by allowing you to store sensitive data securely using your own AWS cloud account. You can control the permissions for each individual contractor, only giving them access to the information that is relevant to them. Cloud storage is also helpful from a GDPR point of view. Keeping everything in one place makes it easier to ensure that you are storing sensitive information compliantly.
Sennen provides software for renewable energy market leaders putting data at the heart of their asset management strategy. Our technology is deployed by leading clean infrastructure companies including London Array, one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.
Get in touch here to request a data sheet and discover how Sennen can build a system that works for you.