Powercor, Victoria Australia.

Mobility solution makes field inspections more effective at Victoria’s largest electricity
distributor

Business Challenge
Powercor Australia is Victoria’s largest electricity distributor providing services to more than 675,000 residential and business users across Central and Western Victoria.

Powercor inspects and maintains power network assets including: power poles, substations, switches, lamps and transformers. In the past, work orders generated in SAP were manually loaded onto Portable Data Entry devices (PDEs). The PDEs were then dispatched to field teams to complete the work orders and returned to Powercor’s offices where the data was uploaded back into SAP.

This system had a number of problems associated with it – there was a 4 week turnaround for work order completion, it had limited functionality, and there was poor data quality resulting from freeform text entry. Furthermore, the system was not scalable. It was clear that a better workforce management solution needed to be found.

Solution Overview 

Powercor Australia engaged Geomatic Technologies (GT) to implement its industry proven Field Mobile Computing (GT FMC) solution. The GT FMC workforce management solution is easy to use and integrates market leading technologies from Oracle and Sybase. GT FMC can run on a range of PDAs and ruggedised laptops. Its flexible design allows for easy integration with Powercor’s ERP (SAP) and Geographic Information System (GIS) (Smallworld). This is achieved via modules that address security, access, work order packaging and back-end integration.

The GT FMC solution has helped Powercor to achieve more effective management of its field teams, and provides a wide range of functionality that includes:

  • Work Order creation and management – both planners and schedulers can create and track a work order.
  • Rich map functionality – used for planning and tracking work.
  • A large range of reports – to track work order status, redline mark-ups, any defects found, any new assets installed and provide verification on data synchronisation between the field and office.
  • The mobile application is easy for field crews to use without sacrificing any of its advanced functionality. The mobile map displays a range of data that the field crews can interact with. The users can choose to perform work orders from a text-based perspective or drive them from a map view.

GT FMC initially addressed the requirements for Powercor’s pole inspections including pole top and cross arms, defect management, and data capture. It was later extended to include other asset types and inspection requirements such as overhead lines and underground assets.

Outcomes
–  GT FMC has enabled more effective management of field crews spread over remote areas of  the network.
–  Works planning, work order packaging, and work order allocation are streamlined to drive  more effective resource allocation.
–  GT FMC supports continuous improvement and regulatory compliance as full traceability on      ‘Who did What When’ is provided for all inspection activities.
–  GT FMC provides a cost effective integrated view of corporate data by streamlining  data management and back-end integration between the client’s enterprise GIS, resource  management systems and field crew activities.
–  GT FMC promotes more informed decision making in the field through improved access to  asset inspection histories.
–  GT FMC delivers scalability to Powercor by enabling a cost effective and rapid expansion to  other business areas.