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Business Objectives

In the actual fast changing business environment, it is the mutual interest of utility companies to discover and use all their existing reserves in asset management, including efficiency in field work. The utility companies started to use the Workforce Management Systems (WFMS) about 20 years ago. WFMS is a comprehensive tool for the preparation, management, control and analysis of field works. The main objectives of WFMS are the improvement of efficiency, the reliability of services, the transparency of activities, and mitigating operation-related risks, support conformance to the compliances rules.
To successfully reach the business goals, we have to take focus on optimized field works, their management with a comprehensive, holistic approach.

Principles of up-to-date WFM

  • The better planning, scheduling and control of field works result in efficiency. WFMS has to cover ALL the work in the field: maintenance, repair, construction, metering, inspection, supervision, vegetation management.
  • To achieve improved resource allocation, we have to include All the available resources in the allocation pool. It means that we have to use standardized, flexible resources with homogenized know-how and tools, including the subcontracting work power as much as it is possible.
  • The comprehensive cost-planning, management and control improve the financial efficiency of field works. WFMS has to manage All the costs on a closed, controlled, near real-time manner. Continuous, seamless material management supports the rationalization of material utilization.
  • WFMS has to support the work of field technicians in an optimal way. WFMS has to provide All the necessary information to the fitter on an easy-to-use, task-specific manner. The information set has to include the work order, material management, customer history, network registry (GIS), condition and event data, catalogues, manuals, safety, know-how management and HR data and documents.
  • To avoid the inefficient, redundant documentation, WFMS has to support fully paperless workflow.
  • WFMS  has to be fitter-oriented, with a single, role-specific, field-customized application and hardware using various media (text, image, voice).
  • Accurate, reliable information supports the planning and control activities. WFMS has to manage – as much as it is possible – automatic, closed data flows, using direct data input tools. The data input has to be controlled by real-time rules and cross-checks – where it is appropriate.
  • For efficient, flexible reactive work management, the WFMS system’s embedded service is the BI Dashboard. The near real-time data presentation and analysis support actionable decision-making, explore reserves in practice, the norm system, etc.
  • WFMS’s elementary task is to present the work-related data to the Enterprise DW in a reliable, standardized way.
  • WFMS is the basic and direct data source of Total life cycle cost calculation for the network object. When designing of WFMS work and data flow, this requirement has to be taken into the consideration.

Business and IT environment
Business conditions
Utility companies tend to work with accelerating speed under a changing business environment. Successful organizations have to adapt themselves to the new conditions. This adaptation means change in the business processes, rules, etc. WFMS systems should fulfil their original function by closely following these changes.
IT conditions
The expected lifetime of WFMS is approx. 10 years. There is an obvious difference between this lifetime and the business forecast timeframe. This is why with the design of WFMS one of the first priorities has been flexibility. This flexibility allows the satisfaction of future, today rather unknown business requirement. The framework concept, the modular architecture and the ESB-based communication are the mutual elements of this flexibility.
The WFMS system can fulfil its role by tightly following cross-departmental workflows. Laying on the border, the traditional OT (SCADA) and IT (ERP) systems are seamlessly integrated with the appropriate Enterprise IT Architecture.

Work life cycle support
The recent WFMS supports the whole life cycle of the field works. The life cycle of field works covers four main distinct sections:

  • Work and capacity planning
From two to 12 months prior to work. During the planning phases, employees can use field work analytics and digital planning tools to better understand the future resource and work requirements, accurately forecast, build scenarios , manage resource supply and demand
  • Work scheduling
From one day to two months prior to work. The automatic resource allocation module can dynamically flow the actual resource and task pools. The Scheduler can follow high-priority tasks and make the necessary intervention.
  • Work management
From the start of work until completion. The dispatcher tracks work progress, while the field technicians accept and complete the assigned tasks.
  • Post analysis 
After completion and accounting the works, the back-office resource automatically stores the work-related data, including the material, labor and time required to maintain the assets. Analytics can help to determine the root causes of malfunctioning, the inefficiencies to improve the company’s best practices and develop the norm system.