Whether it’s a long-term planned project, or an unplanned emergency in the middle of the night – safety is a commitment that is always evolving. This year, safety took on a whole new meaning as the utility industry quickly made changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond usual protocols, utility organizations also embraced workforce social distancing, created “pods” to lessen potential contamination, and embraced remote work opportunities to keep employees and customers healthy and protected.
We know safety is your priority, and manual processes that surround emergency callouts (like phone calls, spreadsheets, and whiteboards) can make it more difficult for individual responders, teams, and crews to get to the trouble quickly – especially when facing COVID-19 challenges. So, how does automating callouts and resource management fit into your safety plan?
Every Minute Matters
During a gas emergency, time is of the essence when finding the closest qualified responders. A slow response risks a potentially dangerous situation, and a consistent poor response time from an organization could attract regulator attention.
When the clock is ticking, automating callout processes can help gas organizations find qualified individuals or crews in a matter of minutes, while automatically applying union rules and company policies. After implementing ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite, Columbia Gas (a NiSource company) dispatchers were able to get a response almost immediately, saving an additional four to six minutes on callouts.
The Goals of an Emergency Callout
Whether it is the middle of the night or halfway through the workday, unplanned emergencies are inevitable. When facing an event, your organization is working hard to get the right people to gas leaks and odor calls quickly while following union rules and complying with Fatigue Management Policies for employee safety.
Furthermore, when all of these moving parts are managed manually, there is always room for mistakes that could result in grievances, incorrect overtime payments, and a lack of quality data capture. Automating your resource management with one source of truth can save you time when it comes to both responding and reporting.
Documentation is Key
Accurate historical data capture can not only help your utility exceed your KPIs, but can also assist with your state mandated response time, and ultimately keeps your teams safe. When compiling information to report to the state and internally, you’ll need reliable information such as:
- Resources called
- Resources secured
- Proof of response
- Response timeline
- Internal performance benchmarking
- Overtime equalization
- Mitigation and elimination of grievances
We know – it’s a lot of information to have on hand. Especially when manual processes are involved. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be hard.
Filling callout requests quickly by using an automated Resource Management Platform can improve overall emergency service response with centralized lists, and give better visibility into employee working status, all while automatically adhering to company policies and union rules in a single electronic database application. ARCOS can help your organization manage your workforce, their work, and find the right people for the job without having to pick up a phone or consult cluttered whiteboards.
Want to learn more? Check out our case study on NiSource Gas Distribution or see how ARCOS helps Central Hudson Gas & Electric cut response time during an emergency callout. Safety is an everchanging habit, and is becoming increasingly more important as we move through these uncertain times. How will you choose to respond?