Case Study

Rapid Process Improvement Project for HR Crewing at a Drilling Company


In a short span of 2 months, BPM-D helped a deep-water Drilling company to design a more efficient, streamlined end-to-end crewing process in the HR area by deploying the innovative Rapid Process Improvement approach.


A leading deep-water drilling company operating out of London, supported by regional offices around the world. Operates a global fleet varying in unit types and these are crewed by 4500+ employees. This fleet is the most modern of its type, and enables them to deliver a specialist, targeted and coordinated service in all the major offshore markets.

The Rapid Process Improvement project will ultimately eliminate critical bottlenecks in the crewing process and enable continual growth in the business, while creating a platform for further continuous process improvement.

Challenge & Opportunity

The annual offshore headcount increased due to an upturn in business. This created strain on the HR department to crew-up rigs on time. With growth expected to continue, it was necessary to put in place a more efficient end-to-end crewing process. The following challenges were identified:

  • Greater than 37,000 annual applicants to process for offshore positions globally.
  • Various teams were working in silos and did not have an end-to-end view of the crewing process.
  • Vital contract communication between senior leadership and HR recruiters, created a major bottleneck.
  • Systems were not effectively utilised, and system related procedures were not carried out effectively, resulting in high error rates.
  • HR professionals were carrying out a high number of transactional tasks.

The organisation needed to drastically streamline their overall crewing processes. A decision was made to implement a top-down approach for rapid process discovery and improvement.


There was a consensus amongst HR leadership that there were several key issues which must be addressed, but it was unclear on where to start. BPM-D supported the initiative by introducing a top-down focus and created visibility of the end-to-end process:

  • A detailed view of the End-to-End process of Hire to Retire was established to highlight the pain points and improve them, making the process more efficient and sustainable.
  • The End-to-End process consisted of 20 detailed As-Is models, which were documented in the organisation’s process repository tool.
  • The processes were assessed to identify those that were High Impact and Low Maturity, to focus efforts on the areas where improvements would provide the most value.
  • Key stakeholders were interviewed, >100 issues were raised, and their corresponding root causes were identified.
  • From this, a multitude of improvement ideas were generated; these were validated and then grouped together. These groupings were called ‘work-packages’.

With the work-packages identified and documented, the organisation now knew the improvements they needed. Next, they had to define the order in which they would be addressed and, as such, they began prioritising the work-packages. This was done comparing the expected benefits against estimated effort, with the benefit calculated by assessing the impact of the work-package against key strategy drivers, before the work-packages were plotted into project waves for implementation:

  • First Wave: focusing on defining / standardising procedures and improving communication.
  • Second Wave: focusing on optimising system configuration and driving compliance.
  • Third Wave: focusing on approval cycle efficiencies and continuous improvement.

A project plan and PMO capability was subsequently setup to drive the programme and enable the roll-out of the waves of process improvement.

Business benefits were calculated on 5 major areas that added direct or indirect savings to the bottom line. The business case was based on a thorough understanding of the operating costs and how these could be reduced by improving the inventory management.


A compelling, fully costed business case that yielded the following benefits:

The Paper

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