What if you could have a digital snapshot of which crews and equipment were available for day-to-day operations AND events minutes, hours or even weeks ahead? Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), has just that with the addition of ARCOS Crew Manager to their ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite.
Why do cooperatives need such a solution? Ronnie Wise, Distribution Operations manager for SMECO, said, “We gave our DSOs (Distribution System Operators) these tools, so they can put more time into researching what crews need, or formulating a game plan for restoration. In the midst of chaos, it’s made life less chaotic.” Crew Manager has even delivered a way for SMECO to manage COVID-19 crew “pods” to help mitigate a potential outbreak among employees. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
Day-To-Day Work Management and Advanced Resource Allocation for Events
Alongside their work and outage management system, SMECO’s DSOs use Crew Manager to keep tabs on their crews’ everyday field work and customer appointments. SMECO operations supervisors (crew foremen), begin their shift and enter the status of crew members into Crew Manager. The software then analyses, and processes hours worked, breaktime and availability on a personalized dashboard for the DSOs.
To manage resources for a forecasted storm or unfolding event, color-coded icons inside Crew Manager give SMECO’s managers access to a visual display of the status, skill sets and location of crews and equipment. Managers can drop and drag icons across the utility’s territory to create different restoration scenarios. If a gap develops because of crews working too many hours or not enough resources available to cover a set of circuits, SMECO can reorder its plans quickly and create an alternative strategy including knowing the number of contractors they may need to call.
DSOs also rely on the crew management software to set up resource attributes. These can allow Crew Manager to track a truck’s serial number so a DSO can link a color-coded badge reading “digger-derrick” or “single-bucket truck” to their response teams. Before Crew Manager, SMECO relied on a revolving number scheme to track truck types and other equipment. Crew Manager simplified the process.
Keeping Crews Safe with Easy Dissemination of COVID-19 Protocols
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way all of us respond, restore and report, including SMECO. To keep its crews safe and isolated from a potential coronavirus outbreak, SMECO has relied on Crew Manager to define its crews into blue and gold teams. This follows a protocol established to create pods of employees who work with the same group of employees. Its aim is to eliminate possible COVID-19 exposure and provide a quick clampdown of resources as a situation warrants. It gives the DSOs complete visibility to see if a field assignment might cause crews from different teams to inadvertently converge at a work site. The potential for crossover and contamination is contained, prevented and work can continue to be performed without worry of a company-wide outbreak.
Learn more about how ARCOS Crew Manager can manage, plan, and establish efficient resource and work allocation while keeping COVID-19 from impacting your work force, or contact us to talk more about your resource management challenges.