Change Management Project

Pumping Euros31 December 2001 – a non-negotiable deadline for BP Oil to have all their European filling channels changed into Euros. 31 December 2001 – a non-negotiable deadline for BP Oil to have almost all their European filling channels converted to Euros. Eighteen months to go plus they were in a panic, until Phil Crane stepped directly into implement a obvious change management project.

Tony Blair’s not the only one to have experienced from a Euro-headache. 2 yrs ago BP Oil faced the mammoth job of converting 5500 petrol channels across Europe from local currencies to the Euro. That intended new IT systems for point of sale, back-office administration, pumps and other equipment on petrol place forecourts. BP Oil was up against a non-negotiable deadline – 31 December 2001, your day before currencies in the Euro Zone countries were credited to converge. The business was under some considerable pressure. Six operating companies – in Austria, Germany, Holland, France, Portugal and Spain – were involved, along with three suppliers – one British, one Italian and one Danish.

Coordination of the suppliers was challenging and the business needed to concentrate more closely on developing execution plans and task assurance. BP Oil was trying to take care of the challenge with no central point of responsibility, and floundering. They realised they needed an experienced expert, and at first looked for consultancy help.

Pooley. They considered the interim market instead, and found a person who met their needs exactly. Philip Crane had just retired from Royal Dutch Shell after 35 years in the oil industry nearly, where he had specialised in IT retail systems. Not merely did BP Oil meet its deadline for switching over its systems to the Euro, it completed the obvious change management task 25 per cent under budget.

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What’s more, the transition was smoother than it got dared to hope. Instead of the hundreds of queries it likely to field during ‘cut-over’ – the day the machine was turned – it received just 67 phone calls. That’s a amazingly low number for a project of this size, and the sellers who, in some full cases, run the sites, even complimented BP Oil on the lack of hitches, comparing it favourably with some of its competitors.

Graham Pooley, BP Oil. There were three distinct stages to the project: systems development, a pilot and roll-out. Each had its resource and characteristics needs, however they all had to be coordinated. Crane spent the first 4-6 weeks preparing the ground. He drew up guidelines for the way the change management project should be run, to provide quality guarantee. He did a risk analysis to prioritise the presssing issues to be dealt with.