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Minnesota’s Largest Electric Coop Looks to Manage Work & Crews in One Solution

Minnesota’s largest electric cooperative looks to ARCOS to automatically secure crews and manage the utility’s work and crews in one dashboard, integrated with its outage management system.

141K

Customers Served

1,000

Square Miles Service Area

4,600

Miles of Distribution

Inspiration for Change

Disconnected Systems for Managing People, Work & Assets

With a growing customer base of more than 141,000 residential and commercial customers and rapidly expanding service area, Connexus Energy relied on a combination of systems for managing work assignments in different departments, tracking work progress, responding to outages, and mapping its circuits. All construction work and time sheets are completed on paper, and managed and tracked in separate systems from crew management and outage management, creating data silos, multiple operational and cost inefficiencies, and delaying services.

Paper-Based Processes Limit Situational Awareness

Like many electric utilities, Connexus Energy’s construction field workers struggle with manual, paper-based processes, including routine maintenance, damage assessment, and construction. Crews receive work orders on paper and clipboards, and report back intermittently by radio on the status of jobs, limiting situational awareness.

Poor Visibility into New Construction 

The electric cooperative had limited visibility into large construction projects like distribution lines or energizing service for new subdivisions and commercial buildings. Connexus Energy wanted a real time view into construction work as it is completed in the field to accelerate service delivery and to avoid builders waiting for critical service to be energized.

Manual Callout & Crew Assignment Delay Services

Connexus Energy relied on a manual process for creating rule-based rosters, implementing a callout, and assigning work across planned and unplanned jobs. The process could take an hour or longer and with a rapidly growing service area, Connexus Energy wanted to automate rosters and ensure union rules were correctly followed, eliminate phone-based callouts, and assign work packets digitally to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer interruption duration times.

Being able to bring together and integrate all our work and crew data in one repository and govern all of it is what sold us.
Kristin Whitwam – ELECTRIC OPERATIONS PROJECT LEADER

ARCOS Platform Benefits

Deploying Robust Integrations to Drive Operational Excellence

Seeking to match its innovative service model with equally innovative mobile workforce management technology, Connexus Energy partnered with ARCOS to bring greater agility and responsiveness to all areas of its field operations. Key to this strategy is Mobile Workbench, which seamlessly integrates the electric cooperative’s disconnected work, outage, and asset management systems to deliver a complete street level view on the Apple and Android devices crews already carry.

Connecting the Field and Back Office in Real Time

Connexus Energy expects Mobile Workbench to transform its manual field workforce management processes into a real-time view of what crews accomplish, empowering the company to manage people, work, and assets in ONE solution. Mobile Workbench reduces radio-based construction communication and connects the field and back office in real time with the ability for linemen and technicians to continue working in offline mode when cellular coverage is interrupted (e.g., during storms).

Creating a Single Pane of Glass for Field Operations

Mobile Workbench brings a new level of efficiency, situational awareness, and reporting to field services, including storm restoration and construction. The technology empowers field workers to seamlessly switch between blue and gray sky work through a single pane of glass covering all work types, reducing costs, and increasing revenue for time-sensitive construction projects.

Automating Mobile Workforce Management

Mobile Workbench automates Connexus Energy’s manual processes and enables the back office to reallocate time to high value/complex tasks while empowering the field with the real time, trusted data and intuitive tools needed to troubleshoot, drive service excellence, and improve job satisfaction. Plus, deployment of the ARCOS platform – Mobile Workbench, Crew Manager, and Callout – enables the most efficient, rules-based rosters, mobile notification of crews to accept work, and automated time sheets to track when and where work is completed.

Company Background

Connexus Energy is Minnesota’s largest electric cooperative with 4,600 miles of distribution lines and about 141,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. Connexus Energy’s service territory covers approximately 1,000 square miles.

Connexus Energy

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Three circular graphics containing images of utility workers working on power lines and connected through ARCOS utility software

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