Sooner or later it will happen. Your wet utility will reach a point where you need to automate your operations and maintenance process.
It may be because you’ve outgrown your paper form and manual process capacity. It could be because you’re at your wits’ end at how inefficient your current methods are. It might even be because data inaccuracies produced a compliance alarm.
Deciding to automate your utility’s operations and maintenance with a utility solution work management software is half the battle won. However, you’ll need to know what separates a great utility solution from a merely adequate one. With this in mind, here are seven features your automated O&M solution should—make that, needs to—have.
7 features your utility work management software needs to have
Utility asset basics
Any automated utility work management solution you consider should be able to capture workflows, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and data specs on assets, as well as standardize these assets across the utility. You should be able to:
- Manage asset classification and relationships.
- Easily access and view assets with proximity verification in the field.
- Define which data gets collected by whom, when, where, and on what.
- Leverage ESRI and other databases or start completely from scratch.
Utility workflow automation
Look for a utility work management software solution that lets you automate and complete work from inspections, preventive maintenance, repairs, sampling, and more. And that lets you collect data by simply setting up a new workflow. Your new solution should let you:
- Define fields by asset on which to collect data.
- Set routes and schedules for crews.
- Collect data via photo, manual collection, SCADA, lab results, and other formats.
- Trigger emails, reports, or work orders based on exceedances that you define.
- Store asset work history where all actions are automatically archived.
Vertical utility asset management
Your new utility work management platform should be able to map indoor and plant assets visually, with detailed manuals, history, plant drawings, SOPs, and more. Seek a solution that enables you to:
- Double click into unique plant assets to precisely locate work.
- Digitize plant drawings, manuals, and SOPs into a living, breathing system.
- Manage hierarchies as detailed as you define.
- Visually identify conditions.
Horizontal utility asset management
Just as you want a solution that can manage plant assets, you also want one that can manage distribution assets—geospatially with no clear start or endpoint. Horizontal asset management should allow you to:
- Walk along linear assets marking complete work or inspections.
- Dynamically track work completed along linear assets.
- Coordinate sequence-based work across crews.
Utility compliance reporting
In managing wet utility work management software, compliance is the never-ending name of the game. Your automated process needs to be able to produce environmental, safety or performance-based reports to always be in compliance. What’s more, you’ll want to be able to:
- Automate compliance report generation and submission.
- Trigger actions based on exceedances.
- Configure additional reports on the fly and generate new reports as needed.
- Apply statistical analysis on top of your operational data.
Utility condition monitoring
It’s not enough to just monitor your equipment. You need to learn of issues before they happen with a robust analytics platform and be informed of asset health in real-time. So consider utility work management software that lets you:
- Configure KPIs on the fly.
- Visualize calculation trees and overall system health at a glance.
- Drill into contributing factors with conditional formatting such as heat maps.
- Manage connectivity through a real-time network, SFTP, API, file upload or email.
Lastly, an automated utility work management solution has to live up to its category and be able to automate end-to-end lab sampling. You want a solution that can:
- Streamline sample collections via pre-coded bottles.
- Receive lab results automatically in one place, directly from the lab.
- Automate chain of custody, where sample data is stored to the location from which it was collected, indefinitely and with a full audit trail.
- Automatically generate and submit completely configurable and pre-packaged reports based on lab data.
Utility Cloud: The perfect utility work management software solution
Fortunately, there’s one utility work management solution for wet utilities that checks all the above boxes—Utility Cloud.
Powerful and highly configurable, Utility Cloud lets you automate workflows, track asset health, streamline reporting, avoid errors from manual data collection and stay compliant – quicker and more accurately than ever before. This is what Kaleb Stephens of Central States Water Resources (CSWR) says about the solution:
“For us, Utility Cloud is the perfect catch-all. We can do mapping and survey information. We can view and store data. We have a work order system. That’s like everything you need in a system for operating a wastewater facility or water treatment plant. If someone asked me tomorrow about, ‘Hey, we're thinking about getting a new maintenance program and what do you recommend?’ The first words out of my mouth would be ‘Utility Cloud.’”