Companies across the world are setting green initiatives to prepare for a more sustainable and efficient future. Whether your utility is focused on combatting climate change, meeting new government and regulatory standards, or just becoming more efficient and paperless, automation and digitization will continue to play a key role in the industry going forward.
Any time new technology disrupts an industry, it can be a challenge to adapt. Thankfully, smart, well-considered software, like ARCOS’ Resource Management platform, is here to not only assist you in meeting your goals, but help your business thrive. Automation and digitization don’t have to be scary; they can make you more efficient, productive, and dynamic, and increase happiness for your staff and customers.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits to be gained through these advancements.
Ditching the paper.
One of the most basic things you can do is eliminate paper consumption and waste in your workplace. It takes about 390 gallons of oil to produce one ton of paper. That’s a huge amount of resources used, and if you’re like most utilities, you’ve historically used a lot of paper for everything from reports to memos to tracking.
By replacing paper with digital records, you not only help the environment, but also have a more reliable source of truth for your business that can be accessed anywhere at any time. You’re not going to misplace a digital record and can control who accesses it. Logs can show any changes made, creating an easy-to-use record of real-time and historical data. Not to mention, the costs saved by not having to constantly buy more paper for your operations and space saved by not having to store physical records.
This more convenient way to access information can also be extended to customers. A multichannel platform is a must for those who utilize your services to login, see their data, and pay bills. You can capitalize on this interface by helping shape and deepen customer relationships. You can give them the information they need for sustainable and energy-saving best practices in their own home and let them take a more active role in their utility usage.
Standardizing your data.
One of the benefits of moving from a paperless system to a digital one is instituting common interfaces and practices. If all data is input and tracked the same way, there is standardization across departments and locations. Mistakes can be almost completely eliminated, and you won’t have to worry about differing management or training affecting your records.
With this kind of consistency, it’s easier to make decisions in the office instead of on-site, standardizing your processes and choices, as well. Best practices can be identified and applied across the company rapidly. You can communicate to all crews, wherever they may be, and give them instruction based on real-time and complete information.
Automate your tasks.
Basic administrative tasks eat up time your team could be using for strategic planning. , an organization with 5,000 employees can spend up to four million hours per year on unnecessary tasks and inefficient processes. That’s a lot of wasted minutes.
Think about which tasks in your office can be automated. Do you do any tracking through manual processes? ARCOS automatically records everything done on our platform so you don’t have to, and delivers thorough reporting in real-time. Human error is taken out of the equation when software automatically tracks, making it easier to resolve errors and inquiries.
We’re not just talking about administrative work, either. Remote sensors and smart meters can keep your back office informed about what is happening in the field at all times. Smart grid technology can diagnose issues on the fly and help analyze whatever is happening. This way, you can be more responsive to a problem when it arises, or even before it occurs.
More robust reporting.
Automating allows for better and more accurate reporting, while allowing you to identify trends and areas for improvement more easily. Then, you can use that data to improve your operations and the company bottom line, becoming more efficient in terms of time or resources saved. It also allows you to perform predictive maintenance, analyzing where repairs and replacements will be needed next and being proactive in keeping your customers satisfied.
In ARCOS, there are a variety of standard reports built into the system for all of the most common data points you need. We can also build custom reports to track whatever your business most wants to see for their operations.
Connected in the field.
With automation and digitization, it’s much easier to send the optimal employee or crew to the locations that need served. Technology can help you find who’s closest to the trouble, who is most qualified to deal with the problem, and what resources are needed. This can increase workforce availability, reduce travel time, and eliminate repeat trips for a single issue. It can optimize your work schedule by making sure travel and shift fills are efficient, using technology to help you make informed, quick decisions.
With an app like ARCOS Mobile Workbench, crews can be dynamically and instantly redirected as needed. They don’t need to report to a central hub because they can get their instructions wherever they are. They can also communicate back, providing updates electronically. This gives the back office real-time insight into everything that is happening and allows easy adjustments on the fly. It keeps all your employees connected and your company cohesive.
To fully implement digital and automation services effectively requires an investment of time and money. Not only are there costs in setting up the systems, but employees need to be trained to use it and incentivized to do so consistently until it becomes the way things are done.
But as you can see from above, there are a lot of benefits to making this investment, and returns can add up quickly only implemented. Rolled out with a plan and specific goals for the staff to hit, you can soon transition to a more futuristic, modern organization, benefiting both your employees and your customers.
If you’re ready to make the leap, or are interested in hearing more about what a system like ARCOS can do for your utility and your green initiatives, contact us today.