Mobile workforce management is a challenge, and even more so for the utility industry where field services often involve managing assets and data, as well as scheduling resources over wide geographic areas. The right mobility solution will not only help manage this challenge, but can actually add value to an organisation.

The key to a successful mobility system is that it must be flexible and highly configurable. Off-the-shelf solutions will force users to run their operations to suit the software, rather than enabling the most efficient operating methods. Select Solutions has proven capability in delivering successful works programs on behalf of a variety of utility customers, using their own Field Mobile Computing (FMC) system.

This sophisticated tool was developed by the Geomatic Technologies team, who specialise in solving complex problems for customers by bringing leading edge technologies to traditional services in the utility industry.

FMC Module overview.

FMC Module overview.

FMC is an advanced, award-winning mobility solution, proven in practice across various industries. It adds value by linking into existing IT systems and connecting them to the field, enabling the user to plan field work, issue work orders and share information more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Practical applications of FMC

Making the complex simple

In Queensland, Select Solutions delivers metering services on behalf of Unitywater. The nature of the services presents a number of complexities for delivering the works, including the requirement for significant data transfer and management across an extended workforce. For example, the water meter reading portion involves over 1,100,000 reads per annum, and further services include approximately 15,000 meter replacements. Compounding the challenge of mobilising the workforce and managing a wealth of data, the Unitywater network covers a geographical area from the north side of Brisbane through to Cooroy and west to Samford.

Introducing FMC has not only simplified the workforce management of this service but also allowed Select Solutions to transfer this data and seamlessly integrate it into the enterprise systems of Unitywater, who now also have immediate access to this valuable data.

One further advantage in this instance has been the ability to deploy FMC across all resources delivering the works, employees and contractors. Select Solutions is able to measure field worker performance, while contractors can use the system to generate invoices without having to access core systems. The workflow management functionality drives the right behaviours to achieve high rates of service compliance and performance.

Workflow management and traceability

Select Solutions undertakes bulk meter exchange programs for electricity distribution businesses in NSW. As with many services in the electricity industry, meter exchanges need to be delivered in stringent accordance with regulations as well as the company’s own standards for work practices such as safety considerations.

The tailored solution for these operations had its foundations in the deployment of a configured FMC solution that would effectively integrate with client enterprise systems.
It enables better management of data and the effective scheduling, planning, and logistics of meter exchange works in the field, along with data capture undertaken at the point of exchange, including commissioning testing.

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By leveraging the configurability of the FMC system, Select Solutions has been able to define and manage work orders in a structured framework and assign different tasks or work areas to various remotely deployed resources, whilst continuing to manage work centrally. For clients, FMC provides the analysis, statistics and accountability needed to satisfy regulations and other government requirements.

Select Solutions has been able to repeatedly demonstrate that an FMC solution can be implemented quickly and efficiently. Each system can be customised to client needs and is backed by specialist knowledge and extensive experience in mobility and mapping technologies, offering a proven solution to connecting field staff through an intelligent and reliable tool.

Select Solutions acquired Geomatic Technologies (GT) in 2014 following a long working relationship between the two businesses. Together, we focus on bringing leading edge technology solutions to enhance traditional services in the utility and essential infrastructure sectors.

Michelle is a freelance journalist and editor who, as well as covering all the latest and breaking industry news, is a gun proofreader and editor who never misses a trick.

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