Consider it Done! - Field Operations

Posted to Esri in the Digital Utility Group
image credit: Photo 38932108 © Supertrooper |
Pat  Hohl's picture
Director - Electric Industry Solutions Esri

Pat Hohl, PE, is Esri's director of electric industry solutions. He was a pioneer in the use of GIS for electric utilities. He has over 35 years of experience in utility engineering, technology...

  • Member since 2018
  • 133 items added with 182,590 views
  • May 24, 2021

When I gave a field assignment, I often wondered what follow-up would be required to get it done right. Work must be completed safely and correctly. In the process, employees also return their status, updates, and various feedback. Repeated checks, verification, or rework waste precious time and money. Furthermore, you might even need a backup plan if the work products are incomplete.

I worked with one technician named Donald. He responded to assignments in a unique way. With confidence, he would declare “Consider it done!” -- Absolutely music to my ears.

Donald was always well prepared. He demonstrated uncommon follow-through and attention to detail. He kept me updated and double-checked his work. I never gave those tasks a second thought. Wouldn’t it be glorious if everything in the field worked like Donald?

Many things get in the way of “done.” Work completion and thoroughness vary for a variety of reasons -- bad weather, site conflicts, access issues, and employee variation. Plus, job outcomes don’t stand alone. They fit into larger workflows. When any information fueling workflows is delayed, quality suffers. As a result, safety, response times, scheduling, and customer service suffer too.

Utilities regularly use procedures and forms to help “get it done.” However, I never met a field employee that relished paperwork. They thrive on what they consider the real work. Genuine field improvements have to do two things. First, make work better for employees. And, also help the entire organization meet its objectives.

Mobile apps on common devices frankly revolutionize reference information. They aid coordination and safety. Maps, documents, weather, traffic, and work assignments in the palm of your hand. Click – done. Magnificent! With well-founded situational awareness, staff move on to data capture and updates.

Straightforward apps also simplify gathering information, validating it, and updating source systems instantly. Delays in posting important updates such as as-builts create universal pain. Inspections, damage assessment, and as-builts are done more easily, accurately, and show up on dashboards immediately -- without overflowing office inboxes.  

Modern apps effortlessly boost communication, coordination, and collaboration. They link both internal and external stakeholders. The e-book Optimizing Mobile Workforces reveals state-of-the-art remedies to remove obstacles and enable field staff to do their best work.

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