Globally, water companies are looking to digitally transform their businesses, enabling much-needed service improvements across the value chain and operational efficiency. One of the key areas where digital can help is by allowing field technicians and back-office employees to work more productively and efficiently.
Today, in most water-provider companies, planners and schedulers sitting in the back-office, do not have the ability to assign tasks to field technicians, and the field technicians have limited means to communicate the status of their tasks back to their managers. Some of the other challenges include:
- Heavy reliance on manual interface to plan, schedule, and complete field workers’ and technicians’ daily tasks
- Huge amount of paperwork to enable the process of transfer of documents/standard operating procedures (SOPs) with many overheads
- High business cost of lengthy data processing from paper-based documentation
- No possibility of location-based allocation of task for field workers
- No tracking of real-time location of technician
- High difficulty in routing leading to lower efficiency of delivery / maintenance.
- Difficulty in tracking work order flow in real time
One of the ways these challenges can be addressed is to have an integrated asset management solution such as Infor EAM, which can communicate with handheld devices of field technicians and also provide location-based task allocation capability to the planners and schedulers. Wipro has built a Field Service solution based on Infor EAM that provides field technicians and their managers a quick way to automate many of their manual day-to-day tasks. This solution has different personas like Operations and Maintenance managers, Planner, Scheduler & Field Technicians in the Water utilities space.
One of the key features of the Infor EAM Mobility solution is its ease of integration with other applications. For one of Wipro’s UK-based water customers, we were able to integrate the EAM solution with the company’s SAP ERP Plant Maintenance, which was in turn connected to their CRM system. The integration was also done with other applications such as HMI, Fleet, GIS etc. to enable process administration across all systems.
Wipro ran a pilot program to integrate the customer’s existing CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) based on SAP Plant Maintenance, with Infor EAM Mobility Solution. This integration helped Planners and Schedulers deliver resource planning and work schedule from the back office. Being able to identify the Field Technicians’ GPS location of technicians, they were able to efficiently assign the relevant jobs only. The Field Technicians could receive their work orders for the day via their Toughbook, and accept or reject the task. Once accepted, their managers are able to monitor the real-time status of the work order, including estimated time of completion.
With this solution, multiple paper forms have been replaced by a mobile application. Work scheduling and basic management tasks are fully automated, increasing productivity of Planner & Scheduler roles, in addition to making back-office administration more efficient.