We are long past arguing the benefits of mobility in an enterprise context. Empowering employees by putting real time information and productivity tools in the palm of their hands is a clear path to operational excellence. In fact, most organisation are now well into digital transformation, as they seek increases in competitive advantage through technology.
Truth be told, as asset managers we tend to lag somewhat behind the front runners. However, this presents an opportunity as we learn from the collective wisdom of the early adopters.
Phenomenal transformation is happening in industries with vastly distributed assets – utilities and transport in particular. Driving this is the implementation of smart mobile technologies. So how do you judge what is a necessity as you transition into the fourth industrial revolution?
Central to your strategy must be a focus on your customers. They now demand affordable, reliable and environmentally-sustainable options. This forces a rethink on how you operate and ultimately how you arm your workforce.
Mobile modernisation is streamlining the processes behind; asset maintenance, upgrades, workforce safety, meeting regulated reliability/environmental standards, and managing costs.
Utilities that aren’t grasping the need to modernise their operations and cater to changing customer expectations, are finding themselves falling further behind.
Within Australia’s energy network, the rise in automation and mobile technologies have seen an extensive increase in asset monitoring. This has resulted in increased operational efficiency across the electricity grid. Much like advanced metering infrastructure (smart meters), a mobile solution for field service management is simply another part of the modernisation of the electricity grid.
With the expansion in technology and proliferation of the cloud, mobile technology experts can now be deployed into the field where they can effortlessly carry out procedures from an operations centre in their pocket. The result is immediate productivity, efficiency and safety gains. This empowers the worker to do more while out of the office, as processes are simplified and extended into the field. They get immediate access, while information and historical data is at their fingertips – all in real-time.
Recently, a state-owned organisation with vast distributed assets implemented a mobile solution. They replaced their outdated paper processes with an IBM enterprise asset management operating system. This enabled engineers to use a mobile app to see what repairs are required on a particular asset, when it was last inspected and what needs urgent attention. It can also flag other jobs in the area which require attention. The app logs the time taken to complete the job and estimates additional time required to repair or fix parts based on historical data. This information is sent to and comes from the EAM software. This enables smarter decisions to be made around predictive maintenance, ordering as well as resource allocation. The app has been designed to empower the end user, with an easy-to-use interface and provides quality control of data being inputted into the system.
However traditional application design is not the only approach. An argument can be made to centralise the development, concentrating on the UX of the asset register itself and then simply providing access. By concentrating spend on re-skinning the user interface and making it more engaging and intuitive, you can open this interface up to mobile application. This approach reduces app-sprawl, and ensure investment in core systems.
As with any UX design process it is essential to understand the needs of the user, ideate and refine the interface.
Whichever approach you take to delivering mobility, by improving workforce capability remotely, mobile solutions incorporate smart technologies to provide safer, more efficient and more reliable services.
Certus offer a simple path to mobilising your workforce through the Certus Assets Insights Platform. To find how this modular approach could empower your workforce, download the ebook here.
To learn more about DV 2.0 or the Asset Insights Platform, download the ebook here.