New technologies and innovations have provided significant opportunities for water utilities to leverage real-time data and a mobile workforce to improve operational efficiency, safety and optimise resources. Despite these advances there is still a gap in data collaboration between utilities and their supply chain, with disparate internal and external systems creating a challenge to reaching the full potential these advances provide. Implementing a single integration solution is key to realising the benefits of a mobile workforce for utilities, their suppliers and their clients.
Traditionally, water utilities have taken a build-as-you-go approach to supply chain management software, implementing products into their existing management system as it was required.
However, it is not uncommon to hear complaints that a product is not quite doing what the utility wants. When this happens, they invest in another product to fill this gap, creating the challenge of disparate systems.
Even if a utility is able to build a management system that meets all their office back-end needs, they are then faced with the challenge of making it work from an in-field perspective, which poses the problem of integrating with the external systems that contractors use.
These problems are further exacerbated and repeated as new suppliers and customers are onboarded.
Gavin Evans, CEO of ConnectiX Technologies said this has created a gap in data collaboration, and while utilities are aware of this problem, until recently there hasn’t been a single easy solution.
“ConnectiX is a powerful cloud-based solution that shares assets, works and safety data. ConnectiX bridges the gaps left by singular disparate systems to provide utilities and the supply chain with a complete, all-on-one collaboration space with real-time views (for mobile users, back-office users) and connectors to internal systems,” Mr Evans said.
“It integrates with existing EAM, ERM and Work Order software, providing a single entry across the supply chain with the utility and its contractors only needing to connect once, rather than everyone needing to connect every time a new product is introduced.
“It is also compatible with all internet enabled devices, eliminating the need to stipulate the use of a certain operating system to the internal and external workforce.”
Connecting the office to the field
Bridging the data gap between utilities and their contractors is key to taking advantage of the benefits of a truly mobile workforce by connecting the back-end to those out in the field.
One of the key areas of mobility that is hindered by disparate systems is in-field communication.
These disparate internal and external systems mean that many utilities still predominantly use manual methods to manage the entire supply chain, from work planning and data collection to communication. Such methods are open to misinterpretation and error, leading to urgent communication or vital information being missed or inaccurate, and incorrectly recorded information which can have a detrimental effect on cash-flows.
“To get the most benefit out of a mobile workforce, in-field teams need to be able to work offline or automate via online forms and guided workflows,” Mr Evans said.
“This is crucial to ensuring that all HSEQ and compliance processes and procedures are met, improving service capabilities and increasing competitiveness.
“ConnectiX allows for the electronic input and sharing of all data, connecting what contractors are doing in the field to the office. This increased visibility means utilities can track the progress of a job in real-time and better manage their workforce by assigning work orders to the right worker at the right time.
“It also allows for all relevant forms, photos and documentation to be attached to a job, allowing utilities to capture and measure compliance automatically, and ensuring all relevant documentation and forms have been seen and received by the contractor.
“Unlike how other products capture data in the field, ConnectiX is able to work offline in the instance when internet service is unavailable. It stores all the information captured in the field and then uploads it automatically once it connects to the internet again.
“By improving and simplifying internal and external processes, and increasing mobility, utilities can achieve savings of 20-30 per cent throughout the supply chain, while improving performance, visibility and compliance.”
ConnectiX also meets the strictest security standards and clearances, with data being hosted in T4-certified Australian data centres.
This partner content is brought to you by Connectix. For more information, visit www.connectix.com.au.