Logistics providers to the nuclear power industry must be creative and offer 24/7 support.
The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) recently held its 2016 Nuclear Generator and Supplier Executive Summit in Utah July 12–15. USA is a nonprofit cooperative that facilitates collaboration among member utilities. The organization helps members reduce operating and maintenance costs, improve safety and performance, and provide innovation and leadership within the nuclear power industry. LPS is also a USA member company.
As a member of the alliance, LPS’s vice president of energy business development, Mark Aldridge, participated on an executive panel moderated by Jim Kitchens, USA’s director of economic strategies. Speaking for USA, Kitchens wanted the suppliers on the panel—manufacturers and service providers—to address how these partners can help the nuclear power industry be more efficient across power station supply chains.
The nuclear power industry is highly regulated and subject to government oversight from a web of agencies and organizations. Naturally, many of these regulations affect industry partners, such as logistics and supply chain service providers. Panel members agreed that communication was the common denominator linking all facets in the supply chain.
“We support several nuclear power companies, and one of the industry’s greatest challenges is working through a power outage,” said Aldridge. Millions of dollars can be lost in the span of a few hours. Power companies need parts “yesterday” during an outage. LPS must expedite replacement parts and have the processes in place to move immediately. Part of better communication also means transparency. “Where’s that replacement part?” is on everyone’s mind during an emergency. “During the outage, LPS stands ready with 24/7 expedite service, and we monitor any time a load comes through during an outage,” said Aldridge.
Logistics companies must vet carriers to make sure they comply with U.S. government regulations. That’s because most nuclear sites are highly secure, and drivers cannot enter facilities with firearms and pets, for instance. Drivers may also have to wear a uniform and speak English.
Like any industry, utilities also want to save operations costs. “That’s where we get creative,” said Aldridge. LPS may suggest different delivery schedules or using a different carrier to save money and time. Any money saved through logistics is overall savings for the business, which could ultimately affect the cost of electricity for the consumer. And everyone likes cheaper electricity.