Over the last year, Utilities organisations have been significantly impacted by Covid-19 and its disruption to business as usual processes. Recognised as essential services, providing safe and reliable supplies of electricity, energy and water as well as an efficient workforce – considered as key workers, utilities organisations have had to put measures in place to proceed with operations. These include deferring consumer payments, decreasing electrical wholesale prices, dealing with an increasing customer demand whilst their field workforce learns to work in a restricted environment.
But how can the Utilities sector drive effective service delivery during and post Covid and how can technology help? In our latest blog, we review the challenges the industry currently faces due to the impact of Covid-19 and how managing assets, implementing field service management technology and utilising valuable data can facilitate an improved service delivery.
Challenges and impact
With restrictions in place and an increased number of people working from home, the rise in the use of water, gas and electric amenities is on the increase. Along with this the requirement to keep assets up and running and being able to provide a safe working environment for staff are just some of the challenges utilities organisations have faced during the pandemic. The sector has had to move fast in terms of developing contingency plans on how to deal with this, taking into consideration social distancing measures, supply chain interruptions (for sourcing parts for maintenance) and providing a consistent service.
But what will the industry need to do post Covid to ensure effective service delivery? Utilities organisations now have a greater understanding of prioritising essential workloads given the ongoing lockdowns and restrictions that are in place. Prioritising the scheduling of staff, ensuring broader asset management and asset maintenance services are in place to reduce failure and identifying additional work that needs completed in the field, will help Utilities organisations deal with their back log of work. If assets have not had the preventative and routine maintenance completed, this could cause an increase in costs and put additional pressure on meeting SLA requirements and ensuring customer satisfaction. Furthermore, organisations need to be able to work smarter to optimise business processes.
This is where technology can help with the crisis going forward in order to automate processes, schedule staff efficiently and ensure the safety of your workforce and customers.
How technology can help
Today there is a range of innovative technology solutions that can benefit Utilities organisations during and post Covid to deliver a better service and enhance processes. Solutions such as scheduling software, lone worker protection, video technology and IoT to manage assets.
Scheduling software is being adopted by utilities companies to ensure the best use of resources, scheduling the right resource to the right job at the right time. These applications take into consideration skills, availability and can identify the backlog of jobs in particular geographical areas. This improves field workers’ productivity as they can focus on these high priority jobs, completing them on time and increasing their capacity to attend further jobs. Reducing manual processes in relation to scheduling staff will also save organisations time and provide them with complete visibility as to where their staff are at all times.
With more field staff operating alone as restrictions are in place, it introduces safety concerns for their wellbeing. However, lone worker protection solutions such as integrated apps and devices provide both employees and organisations with peace of mind that they can request assistance and highlight concerns or emergencies as they undertake their role. This ultimately ensures field staff are fully supported against their wellbeing and safety.
Video-based remote assistance is another innovative technology that is helping Utilities companies ensure safety standards are met whilst improving customer service during lockdown and will continue to be used going forward. For example, field workers carrying out maintenance on a burst pipe can use video technology to reduce the amount of staff present and risk to themselves and other workers.
Finally, monitoring assets through the use of IoT within the Utilities sector helps predict when assets need serviced, reducing failures and lowering costs as there will be no need to replace assets. By analysing the data generated from sensors, jobs can be created automatically and using that data to make intelligent business decisions will help companies increase efficiencies, improve compliance and offer an overall better service.
Totalmobile in the Utilities sector
Totalmobile’s technology is fully configurable and suitable across large utilities and infrastructure organisations, providing you with the flexibility that will satisfy your business needs. Our technology seamlessly integrates with your back-office systems allowing you to easily manage all work activity across your workforce.
Whether it’s the use of mobile devices to replace paperwork and capture information while out in the field, dynamic scheduling, lone worker protection or supporting specific industry processes such as water leakage, sampling, faults, meter operations, customer appointments, repairs and emergency response, our solutions ensure services are delivered smarter and safer while maintaining standards and improving the overall customer experience. For further information on Totalmobile’s services within the Utilities sector, visit our website pages below or download our overview brochure here.