I’m working in a communications role at Evora, an SAP Gold partner, who delivers innovative digital maintenance and field service solutions for utilities, transportation, oil & gas, and manufacturing industries.
Keeping labor costs at current level or reducing the workforce while at the same time raising the quality of the process seems like an impossible feat. However, with an aging workforce and more demanding regulations year after year this is exactly what utility organizations expect their maintenance and service leads to achieve.
This post is about how a utility company can utilize SAP’s digital portfolio to achieve these external targets while making life easier for everybody in the maintenance and service organization.
SAP’s Intelligent Asset Management (IAM) is all about supporting a fully digital maintenance and service process from an end-to-end perspective. Strongly based on SAP ERP PM/CS and IS-U modules, it allows:
- Interaction between a company at its equipment suppliers (AIN – Asset Intelligence Network)
- Introduction of IoT based decision making (PdMS – Predictive Maintenance and Service)
- Optimizing the maintenance cycles and identifying critical components (ASPM – Asset Strategy and Performance Management)
- Working in the field, paperless, with all information for the job on a mobile device (SAM – SAP Asset Manager)
A journey of digitalization can often start out by getting rid of the paper forms for technicians in generation, grid maintenance and meter management. What we learned from our utilities business project, successful organizations follow a four-step process for their mobile workforce management:
- INTEGRATION AND PREPARATION – Streamline business processes by connecting multiple backend processes to your SAP ERP or S/4 System. Generate the work orders with detailed information about task type, technical object, checklists and qualifications.
- SCHEDULING AND DISPATCHING- Plan the tasks on technician or team level using the optimal tool for your process and organization. Be informed of the status of each task as well as where an intervention is required to meet customer appointments or maintenance guidelines.
- MOBILE EXECUTION – The technician synchronizes the work orders and notifications to their mobile device. Not only is the technician aware of the scheduled work and intra-day updates, but they can also have access to more detailed information such as documents stored at the technical object or historical information about past repairs.
- CONTROL AND CLOSING – Introduce a review and error management cockpit to ensure a smooth information flow back into the main system. In the metering scenario for example, this could be used to validate readings outside the expected range.
What are the advantages of implementing such a process?
- Efficient planning of technicians increases the time on the actual job (wrench time) and reduces unnecessary breaks, drive time and return calls.
- Closing the job on the mobile device means that the data is immediately and securely transferred back into the SAP system (a real advantage for both the process speed and quality of information – Auditors love this).
- The technician has access to a lot more data (GIS maps, failure history, documentation, …) and is able to make better decision onsite, this increases the first-time fix rate.
While all of these points are common across generation, grid and meter management processes, there are some specific topics for each of the concerned business units. Initially we intended to invite the readers to the International SAP Conference for Utilities, April 2020 in Basel, which now has been postponed. So maybe we meet next year on April 27-29, 2021 in Dublin, Ireland!