Jill Wagner | 08.14.19

With severe storms and extreme weather events happening more frequently, utilities are facing increased pressure by the public and regulators alike to restore outages faster after a disturbance. In addition to having clearly defined processes for managing large emergency events, modern utilities are arming themselves with technology to expedite response time. The right mobile workforce management solution can help utilities get ready before the next big storm to reduce outage times and improve workforce and consumer communications.

Get Ready with Planning

Effective storm management begins with proactive planning:

  1. Identify challenge areas and inefficiencies, such as:
    We don’t have the worker capacity to satisfy demand. Our workers don’t have the right skills or experience, so it takes longer than it should to restore service.

  2. See where uncertainty can be introduced into the equation, such as:
    What if another big storm hits before we’re done restoring service from this one? What if we have the parts we need, but they’re defective?

  3. Determine where legacy response decisions can be modernized and optimized, such as:
    What scheduling decisions didn’t deliver the intended results? What workforce decisions were good, but could still be improved?

Developing a strategy on how to address these points that incorporates a mobile workforce management solution can help drive more rapid and accurate decision-making and enhance emergency storm response and service recovery.

Get Set with Your Extended Workforce

Maximizing workforce output is a priority in all weather conditions. In the event of a major storm that results in a wide-spread power outage, a utility will most likely leverage both direct employees and an extended workforce of third-party contractors. Advanced workforce and asset management, coupled with data insights captured with visibility into the field through mobility, enables utilities to make more informed capacity planning decisions for heavy demand. This helps utilities to achieve greater efficiency and productivity when relying on an extended workforce.

A mobile workforce management solution streamlines third-party resource scheduling and task assignment through automation—getting the extended workforce on the job faster. Enabling the immediate addition of contractor scheduling in advance reduces lag time that can occur with manual scheduling via paper and phone calls. Automated work management prioritization using intelligent and pre-programmed algorithms ensures that a re-shuffling of workers and jobs is completed to quickly match available backup resources with specific needs.

Mobility also provides full visibility into each job as well as a direct channel of communication between the utility, the extended workforce, and other stakeholders. The host utility can see how long jobs are taking, schedule work, provide instructions, receive status updates, and more—all in real time. This enables the utility to provide estimated times of restorations to consumers and satisfy legislative requirements surrounding communication. For example, Massachusetts legislation requires utilities to provide customers with estimates on when electricity will be restored three times a day after an initial 24-hour damage assessment.

Go with Your Mobile Workforce Management Solution

Emergency planning is key to successful service restoration for utilities. The right mobile workforce management solution can help utilities lay the groundwork to respond faster and more efficiently to whatever curveballs Mother Nature throws. Make sure your workforce is prepared before the next big weather event strikes. Contact us today to learn how Click can help you to get ready to weather the storm.