January 27th, 2021
Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the European Union’s organisation that manages Europe’s contribution to ITER, the world’s largest scientific partnership aiming to demonstrate fusion as a viable and sustainable energy source. ITER is a collaboration project between 35 nations to build the world’s largest magnetic fusion device, a tokamak.
The idea for an international joint experiment in fusion was first launched in 1985, and the ITER members (China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States) are now collaborating across the globe to build ITER in Southern France.
F4E executes multiple projects for the building of ITER at the site in Cadarache, France. The organisation works closely with industry and research organisations to provide the infrastructure and the components for the ITER machine.
The overall building of ITER is estimated to take another 10-15 years, and the machine is expected to first be powered on in December 2025. Due to project management complexities, long project schedules spanning up to 10 – 15 years and the project’s global nature, F4E needs accurate cashflow and project lifespan estimation and tracking. As F4E manages the EU’s contribution, it is essential that the organization has precise estimates of project lifespan, as any issues on F4E’s side will effect the overall global schedule.
Overcoming project management challenges
The main drivers for F4E to adopt an Enterprise Project Performance solution were: the employees needed to cut down the time in data manipulation, information gathering and the generation of reports. This also led to issues with the reliability and accuracy of reporting.
To overcome these challenges, F4E now uses Hexagon’s EcoSys to manage commitments and cash flow forecasts. EcoSys is the only solution that combines project portfolio management, project controls and project management software on one platform – leading to improved efficiency and data accuracy.
Hexagon’s Ecosys helped F4E to overcome challenges related to schedule integration, budgeting, and forecasting.
Realizing results with centralised data
By using EcoSys, F4E has received significant benefits across the organisation. The centralised cost team in the Project Management Department doesn’t have to ask people for estimates and then manually integrate the data to be able to do analysis. Rather than manually inputting data, EcoSys has automated the process, and the team can redirect time to more valuable work, such as analysing the estimates or looking for trends in them.
Similarly, the employees providing the cash flow forecast, rather than manually updating and gathering data, and doing the whole exercise every time they want to do a forecast, can now automatically provide forecasts that are always accurate and up-to-date.
Kevin Baker, Head of Project Management Fusion for Energy, says: “With an enterprise project performance tool such as EcoSys, we can free our employees’ time from manual data manipulation and gathering to productive work – with the same resources, we can now do much more. Also, the quality of reporting has increased and our management has access to the latest and most reliable forecasts any time, any place.”