In an earlier article in Wipro’s Energy 2020 series, we described how the combination of strengthening long-term energy transition trends, collapsing oil prices, and the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are driving permanent changes to both energy consumer mindsets and energy companies’ operations.
The Energy 2020 context presents the perfect opportunity for companies to reimagine vital elements of their operating model – including the front and back office, asset operations, supply chain and more – to build resilience and adaptability for the demands of a different energy future.
Efficient delivery of fieldwork is one such critical part of the operations that is ripe for reinvention, and the focus of this article.
Reimagining fieldwork to amplify outcomes
At most energy companies, the labor cost of field operations typically represents upwards of 60% of the overall asset maintenance spend. At some water and gas utilities, this proportion gets as high as 80%. Field operations are thus seen as a key domain for efficiency improvements. Furthermore, the effectiveness of fieldwork and the expertise of the field force have a direct bearing on the quality of asset upkeep, customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.
The sustained adoption of advanced solutions for work scheduling, dispatch, routing and field mobility has enabled companies to elevate their work management capabilities and outcomes significantly. However, new demands continue to emerge, and many familiar bugbears remain unresolved, such as suboptimal usage of crews, repeated truck rolls to finish jobs, not having access to the right data while on site, and more. The absence of reliable industry benchmarks on workforce utilization also hinders optimization goalsetting and methods.
Our earlier article described four forces that will propel energy companies to refashion their operating models: accelerated digitalization, the increasing unpredictability and impact of intense disruptions, changing customer mindsets, and a sustained energy transition. Any strategy deployed to respond to these trends will need to embrace fieldwork as a critical element along with opportunities to amplify outcomes.
How should an energy company set about roadmapping this change? We recommend a structured three-part framework. Start with a clear visualization of your desired outcomes. Redefine the operating model using a human-centric design mindset to discover opportunities for differentiated capabilities. Develop a roadmap to evolve the data and digital enablers to support the operating model.
1) Start by visualizing your future fieldwork outcomes
Energy companies have rightly focused on worker safety, asset safety and reliability, cost of maintenance, and customer satisfaction as primary fieldwork outcomes. In addition to these key objectives, other outcomes are also gaining focus. These are driven by employee preferences, changing worker demographics, digital-enabled efficiency opportunities, and changes in operational needs. While specific priorities will necessarily vary across companies, we see five outcomes as key drivers for the future of fieldwork (See Figure 1).