Things That Go Boom in the Night

A US-based energy sector client’s largest plant had one of the worst safety records, abysmal productivity, and toxic union-management relations. With the addition of an aging, 50 year-old-facility to run, the organization was keeping far too many people awake at night.

Senior leaders knew the stakes could not be higher. They felt the urgency. They knew the risks: losing their license to operate, going out of business, and literally blowing up. Repeatedly plans were made. And repeatedly they failed.

In 2011, Wray Group became involved, guiding them to the following results within 18 months:

  • Production efficiency improved 27% 
  • Cost of service reduced by 26.9% equalling annual savings of $21,024,000
  • Performance reliability at 99.44% record high
  • 2 National Safety Awards
  • Corporate-wide survey shows highest collaboration and engagement 

Three years after our involvement, the leaders have not only sustained the gains but also continued to improve. Today everyone sleeps in peace.

The harmony and goodwill that emerged from our work together has endured. How time flies - it has been 3 years now! We also continue to set performance records which is great for morale.
— Tradesman & Union Member, Gas Plant

Breakthrough or Bust

Five years after senior management made a strategic decision to reorganize plant maintenance across the business unit, none of the anticipated benefits had materialized. Year over year, the cross-functional team leading the $40 million maintenance project had tried but failed. 

The 2009 results were the worst ever—millions of dollars over budget, critical jobs cut, and significant safety and environmental incidents. Employee morale hit rock bottom. Leadership of this billion-dollar energy sector player faced increasing pressures to provide answers.  

Realizing they needed help, Wray Group engaged with the 25 members of the team. In 14 months, this team engineered a breakthrough AND delivered what had proven elusive during the previous five years:

  • They delivered the full scope of the $40 million dollars of planned maintenance work in 13 days.
  • Under extreme time pressures, the 590 workers accomplished over 170,000 man hours of labour without a single safety incident: a record within the company and turning heads of leaders across their industry. 
  • Remarkably the work was completed almost 2 days ahead of schedule, delivering a further $5 million savings.
  • The impact on morale and employee engagement was priceless.

The success of this project signaled a shift in the rest of the organization. There was newfound confidence with the capability that had been built. Leadership leveraged the accomplishment and used it as a beachhead to drive transformation within the organization in the years that followed.


We accomplished in 6 months what we failed to accomplish in 6 years on our own. We now see things happening in the way we envisioned; we simply could never have got there on our own.
The one-on-one coaching spots the issues. We learn to have the tough conversations, and open dialogue in the team sessions. We are now far more agile and stuff doesn’t fester.