Companies in the energy and utility sector operate large fleets and field equipment daily. Utility installation and service orders involve managing field crew, vehicles, and service equipment. In the energy sector, the delicate balance of satisfying customer expectations and stakeholders’ need for higher returns demands precise management of assets, work orders, and fleets.
Currently, deregulation and economic uncertainties are rocking the asset-heavy energy and utility industry. In such a challenging scenario, the adoption of IoT-enabled asset management solutions with real-time asset visibility and control is a crucial step towards predictable performance.
The utility asset management market sized 3.31 billion USD in 2019 is projected to reach 6.20 billion USD by 2027 at a CAGR of 8.5% during this period. In this growth trajectory, the role of IoT technologies to monitor and manage assets is critical to enable utility companies to modernize their asset operations to differentiate services and meet future demands. This case study showcases the fact with a real-world success story.
Our client, a leading provider of energy and utility, was looking for a next-gen solution to optimize service operations and asset tracking. As a regional provider of energy and utility services, our client’s core business focuses on production and distribution of natural gas, electricity, and utility products and services that includes installation and maintenance for heating, air conditioning, and appliances. They have a large workforce and fleet (more than 5000 vehicles) and over 2 million SKU’s / equipment catering to over 1.6 million customers.
Every day, their service technicians are on the road to deliver repair and installation services at multiple fields and customer sites. The service equipment and tools loaded are pre allocated, mapped to a specific truck, and dispatched from service centers. In this workflow, their primary operational challenges were:
Misplaced tools: On reaching the field site, the technicians would discover the tools and equipment they needed were missing. That meant a trip of several miles back to the base site to collect and manually load the right tools. It involves re-allocation of tools by service managers and collecting those from the stores at the service center. The tools and equipment are also often lost or stolen from the truck during these field visits. In addition to skewing up the schedule, this caused serious monetary consequences as the service equipment is expensive, collectively costing as much as the truck cost.
Out of calibration cycle: Every service tool / equipment has a calibration cycle defined by the manufacturer, such as six months, one year, or after five service requests. Often after arriving at the field site, the technician would find equipment in the truck with an expired calibration period. Such equipment is unusable to close the service order. The lost hours and additional trips to collect the right equipment significantly increased the operational costs, which added overtime and impacted customer service experience.
We implemented our flagship product N-Smart, an IoT powered asset management solution to collect and process data from every asset and provide a role-based, single-pane-of-glass view of the real-time asset data to field technicians, service managers, and inventory managers back in the office. Having the asset data available to all stakeholders in real-time speeds up the workflow and eliminates operational errors. It is particularly useful for field-technicians for improved time-management and operational efficiencies.
This IoT-based solution with BLE tags to every asset, enables real-time tracking and remote monitoring. The solution provides a cloud-agnostic web-based portal for service and inventory managers to centrally monitor and manage assets at campus and service locations. For field technicians and mobile workforce, we provided an OS agnostic mobile app (iOS, Android) to verify asset condition before starting and closing the trip and request tool allocation and tool calibration cycle details using their smart phones.
The real-time performance data using N-Smart’s Asset management solution includes asset location, usage history (hours, days, or weeks), work order history, compliance history, and maintenance and repair history. Real-time visibility of the data enables synchronization between truck drivers, field technicians, service managers and inventory managers to ensure correct tools were assigned and loaded in the trucks before leaving from the service centers.
Features and Benefits
Asset tracking and visibility
· Asset tagging using BLE tags allows managing asset inventory and provides real-time data.
· Instant alerts and notifications of asset condition.
· Tag reading range based on the equipment type (Overhead and Underground) for better tracking.
Maintenance scheduling forecast
· Web application provides dashboard view of service equipment calibration cycle and upcoming maintenance schedule.
· Enables better coordination and planning of maintenance activities.
· Reduces new purchases of service equipment.
Avoid trip over runs
· Alerts and notification on tools with expired calibration / maintenance cycle.
· Instant request for tools / equipment replacement using Mobile Application.
· Quick approval and issuance.
Eliminate equipment loss and theft
· Service managers and truck drivers verify equipment availability at every trip start and closure to prevent loss of service equipment.
Reduce maintenance cost
· Strict compliance with maintenance & calibration cycles.
· Improved equipment lifetime.
Improve customer service experience
· Field technicians have the right and working service equipment to carry out service work orders.
· On-time service call closure contributes to better customer service experience.
· Improves customer retention and loyalty.
N-Smart’s IoT-enabled Asset Management improves and simplifies how effectively you remotely monitor and manage asset location and condition. In the utility services sector, this directly translates into improved operational efficiencies, customer experience, and better ROI at a much lower TCO.
Connect with us
N-Smart’s IoT Asset Management solution offers real-time, centralized visibility and insights to monitor and manage all aspects of your asset lifecycle remotely. For more information about the solution, contact our team of experts.