In the industrial sector, whether it’s energy, utility, manufacturing, construction, or healthcare, businesses across all verticals have to manage large quantities of equipment and fleet on a daily basis. How to manage these assets directly impacts your organization’s workforce productivity and efficiency.
On average, close to 80 to 90 hours are consumed by service managers each month to track and trace assets because of poor visibility of the assets and manual workflows. The success of your business depends on how effectively your workforce operates. The right decisions about modernizing asset management are a crucial game-changer to increase productivity and profitability.
The Internet of Things (IoT) opens compelling opportunities for digitally enabling your workforce to reduce costs and wasted cycles in asset lifecycle management. Among many industries worldwide today, the need to optimize asset management efficiencies is more apparent in the utility sector. This blog narrates how a US-based utility company deployed Nivid’s N-Smart IoT solution to streamline asset operations to improve workforce efficiencies and productivity.
Our client, a leading provider of energy and utility, explored a futureproof solution to optimize service operations and asset tracking. As a regional provider of energy and utility services, our client’s core business focuses on producing and distributing natural gas, electricity, and utility products and services, which include 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 visit external sites to address repair and installation service requests and field maintenance tasks. For every service request, the service manager oversees the service crew, truck, and equipment. Office administrators allocate the necessary tools and equipment for that request.
This operational model, however, surfaced multiple challenges:
According to a study, the actual utilization of mobile assets is only 32-38%. Our client had multiple warehouses housing service tools and equipment. Lack of an up-to-date view of asset inventory across these warehouses and lack of visibility into the current condition of the tools and equipment frequently caused erroneous tool assignments and unwanted purchases.
Technicians would often find after reaching the service site that the required tools were either not loaded in the truck or were due for calibration. To get those replaced, the crew had to add another round trip to the service centers. Service managers spent a lot of time tracking and tracing the trucks and service equipment. The lost hours and additional trips to collect the right equipment significantly increased the operational costs, and impacted employee productivity and performance.
According to the National Equipment Register (NER), “the average estimated value of a stolen piece of equipment in this industry is $29,958.” For our client, this was a common challenge. Tracing and replenishing lost tools wasted man-hours, impacted work schedules, and caused serious monetary consequences.
We implemented our flagship product N-Smart, an IoT-powered asset management solution to resolve these challenges. The solution collects and processes data from every asset and provides a single-pane-of-glass view of the real-time asset data.
This IoT-based solution with BLE tags to every asset enables real-time asset tracking and remote monitoring. It gives real-time visibility into asset location, usage history (hours, days, or weeks), work order history, compliance history, and maintenance and repair history.
The solution provides a role-based, cloud-agnostic web-based portal to track and monitor assets in real-time centrally. As a result:
- Service managers could easily retrieve fleet and asset data for making informed, timely decisions.
- Inventory managers could prevent lost assets and missed service windows for fleet and equipment.
- Admins could view asset availability and condition and assign the correct tools for every service request.
We provided an OS agnostic mobile app (iOS, Android) for field technicians and the mobile workforce to verify assets and their condition before starting and closing the trip. If the technician found tools outside the calibration cycle, they could instantly flag this to notify admins using the mobile app. The admin could locate and approve a replacement much faster and notify the technician immediately. This enhanced coordination boosted productivity. According to a McKinsey & Co study, “Improved communication… could raise the productivity of [worker interaction] by 20–25%.”
The IoT asset data empowered managers to make informed decisions much faster and accurately forecast and plan asset procurement, calibration and repair schedules, fleet management, etc. Managers can now remotely monitor and collect service data to proactively manage workforce utilization, work efficiency, training needs, etc.
Features and Benefits
Asset tracking and visibility
Streamline management activities: BLE tagging of assets provides real-time data to streamline asset and inventory management tasks.
Improved collaboration: Instant alerts and notifications expedited remediation and coordination.
Maintenance scheduling forecast
More efficient maintenance: Web-based dashboard view of service equipment calibration cycle and upcoming maintenance schedule ensured proactive repairs and reduced man-hours spent for new purchases to replenish lost service equipment.
Avoid trip overruns
Better time management: Instant request for tools/equipment replacement, faster approval and issuance eliminate wasteful workforce cycles, improves productivity.
Automation of processes: Freed cycles allow employees to focus on core business functions and innovations.
Eliminate equipment loss and theft
Better time management: Service managers and truck drivers proactively manage assets throughout the service request cycle to minimize equipment loss and resource wastage.
Reduce maintenance cost
Improved organizational performance: Compliance with maintenance & calibration cycles increased equipment lifetime and reduces workflow inefficiencies.
Improve customer service experience
Enriched service delivery: Field technician closes service work orders faster, having the right and working service equipment.
Enhanced labor utilization and customer retention: On-time service call closure contributes to better customer service experience and workforce utilization.
IoT simplifies asset management by eliminating time-consuming workflows that slow down your workforce. Real-time asset visibility improves overall productivity and workforce utilization by reducing wasted cycles due to errors and oversight. A well-informed, productive workforce is vital to enhance shareholder value and long-term profitability.
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For more information about how N-Smart’s IoT Asset Management solution can boost workforce utilization and ROI for your business, contact our team of experts.