How the Energy Industry Can Identify and Resolve Bottlenecks Early with Meisterplan

project portfolio management in the energy industry

Keeping Up With A Changing Environment

With more than 2,260 employees and consolidated sales of over 3 billion euros, Nordex SE is one of  the top 10 wind power plant construction companies globally. As the number of projects across Nordex increased substantially, it became clear that they had a major need for professional management of projects and IT resources.

To maintain its market position, Nordex needed to develop a single focus for its projects – develop plants that produce electricity at the same cost as conventional power plants. In order to do this, Nordex implemented several new strategies:

  • the development of cheaper facilities with intelligent solutions in less windy areas
  • the reduction of production costs and general operating costs
  • the initiation of operational excellence programs
  • the focus on technical advantages and how to exploit them when positioning itself against competitor’s promises in the industry

Logo of Meisterplan Customer Nordex

Since 1985, Nordex has been one of the pioneers in wind energy plant engineering. The company has set new standards with the development of ever larger and more economical turbines. Today, there are more than 5,500 Nordex wind turbines with a total rated output of more than 9,000 megawatts in 34 countries. The headquarters of Nordex are in Rostock, Germany. They also have many subsidiaries locations globally including Nordex USA, Inc.in Chicago, IL. With more than 2,260 employees and consolidated sales of over 3 billion euros, Nordex is among the top 10 in their industry.

The Challenges

IT Department As The Interface And “Heart” Of An Engineering Company  

Energy PPM Tool

Nordex’s IT division is a key component in many of its activity and program packages. IT is central to achieving ambitious business goals, sound processes, transparent interfaces and efficient project portfolio management in the Energy industry. Prior to 2012, too many IT projects were more or less implemented on an as needed basis instead of being scheduled and prioritized. Therefore, the IT executives at Nordex decided that they needed to focus on PPM.

“It was obvious that we would not reach the future requirements of the holding company with such an approach. As an essential lever, we focused on project portfolio management and applied that first,” former CIO Felix Willing, PhD explained.

In addition to the challenge of creating a coherent project portfolio from the large number of IT projects, the entire IT division suffered from staff shortages despite having detailed project data and established project management processes. It was impossible to create an overview of the entire portfolio which led to resources not being optimally utilized and projects not being transparently planned.

The Search and Solution

In their search for a solution, the team evaluated various options — including the use of complex, enterprise-wide software  for project portfolio management in the Energy industry. However, the team did not pursue enterprise software because of the effort involved. Willing explains: “The well-designed approaches failed in practice due to the great expense needed to integrate new projects or the inherent differences in project applications and organizational details.”

Instead, Nordex chose Meisterplan as the ideal solution for executing professional project portfolio planning. One of the deciding factors was the speed at which Meisterplan can be implemented, Willing recalls, “Meisterplan was very attractive with its slight learning curve and short implementation time. Our first project portfolio plan using our data within MS SharePoint was available within a few weeks. Meisterplan was seamlessly integrated into the IT planning process at Nordex.”

Project Portfolio Management in the Energy Industry
Project Portfolio Management in the Energy Industry

However, quick and easy implementation is only one of the advantages. According to Willing, “The decisive factor is that Meisterplan gives us a powerful tool for project prioritization and analysis. We now have an overview of our entire project portfolio within minutes, and with interactive analysis included! IT departments often have complex project dependencies and resource constraints. Now with a glance, we can pinpoint our portfolio weaknesses. Best of all, we are able to simulate various scenarios and prioritization when presenting portfolio decisions to the board.”

Meisterplan helps the decision makers at Nordex get a clear overview of project costs and the interdepartmental employee workloads. With an intuitive and easy to understand interface, members of the PPM committee are able to use real-time simulations to compare possible portfolios with just a few clicks. After the committee selects the right strategic plans, they can easily convert them into their existing reporting structures or display them via integrated Meisterplan reporting.

What Value Did Meisterplan Bring To Your Company?

Logo of Meisterplan Customer Nordex

Nordex is finally able to make strategic decisions about which projects should be carried out based on priority, cost, and alignment to the company’s focus. More importantly, Meisterplan fits well into both the IT department and in the field. It answers their two most important questions: Where are the bottlenecks in the project portfolio and how can they be resolved?

But the benefits of Meisterplan don’t just impact the PMO. Nordex reports that overall employee well-being has greatly benefited from the adoption of Meisterplan. “A well-planned project portfolio can prevent bottlenecks early on. Our employees seldom work past their limits which ensures good project results. Meisterplan quickly answers the most important question: Where are the portfolio constraints and how can we resolve them?” Willing easily sums it up: “Meisterplan is an eye-opener.” Nordex has benefited from Meisterplan for over six years and with it they continue to create strategic portfolios that push their company forward.