Storm Watch: Will Your Field Service & Asset Management Solution Survive?
January 4, 2023
As winter looms, field crews gear up for another season of storms capable of disastrous damage to local infrastructure. For first responders, quick response times are vital to help reduce the impact of natural disasters. The term “First Responder” is usually exclusive to fire, EMS, and police personnel, but many first responders during a natural disaster or storm are field service and asset operations workers.
Construction and engineering field service workers are needed to clear debris off of roadways. Utility field service workers need to address downed power lines, gas leaks, water main breaks or drain flooded areas. All of these incidents require field service workers from multiple disciplines to fix infrastructure issues before traditional “first responders” can perform their duty of saving lives.
When disasters or storms strike, the Field Service & Asset Management solution you have in place can make or break your chances of successfully managing your response. Many organizations rely on outdated, siloed systems. Here, we’ll address the unique problems a natural disaster or storm event places on your organization, and how an integrated solution prevents both physical and financial risk to your organization.
Problem #1: Dispatching Crews
Successful storm response depends on the company’s ability to quickly and efficiently manage workers and assets. When disaster strikes, work orders typically flood into dispatchers. Locating and rescheduling crews, while ensuring they have the correct equipment and parts, is an on-going series of hurdles. Traditional field service management solutions require manual rescheduling and rerouting, creating logistical roadblocks that cause delays and confusion. Crew availability, equipment, and repair parts are uncoordinated, which leads to long work order delays, searching for assets, and ultimately, frustrated customers.
KloudGin’s fully integrated system schedules and reschedules crews, routing around road closures and traffic delays without manual input from dispatchers – matching the right crews with the right equipment where it’s needed the most.
Problem #2: Communication & Working Offline
Mobile solutions are the first step to reining in your operational efficiency, especially during a natural disaster or storm. However, many software management solutions operate through a physical server stored in a location that could be affected by power or internet outages. Cellular services typically remain operational during and after storms, but without a central hub of communication through the field management system, mobile tools become ineffective. A back-up generator can help, but it may take time to become operational. In the most dire situations, some operations may have to revert back to paper and manual dispatching.
KloudGin solves this problem by storing data on a cloud system, allowing access to the entire suite from any location. Offline access for your GIS maps and real-time tracking of traffic and road closures provides an additional level of support for field crews. In addition to maintaining field crew communication, KloudGin allows for customer correspondence through mobile systems to keep your customers informed.
Problem #3: Rescheduling Normal Activities
When disaster strikes, all non-critical service activities must be set aside. Normal services like service activations and meter checks are rescheduled to reroute your field service workers to high priority tasks. As with all reactionary measures against a disaster, efficiency is crucial – manually rescheduling and rerouting crews is far too time consuming.
Using a field service management system with active AI and machine learning solves this issue with a click of a button. KloudGin’s emergency auto rescheduling turns off all non-essential work and focuses only on emergency-related work. AI automatically reroutes the closest crew to priority job assignments, reassigning crews to incident sites based on crew location, proficiencies, part inventory, and vehicle availability. Multiple crews can be sent to the same job with automatic work order duplication, completing priority jobs faster. With KloudGin’s live GIS map view and mobile application tracking, real-time data can be seen and routes adjusted accordingly. Finally, bulk reassignments can be done based on geography by selecting all the crews in a given area and instantly reassigning them to priority jobs.
Problem #4: Ensuring Inventory & Assets Meet Emergency Job Requirements
Appropriate crew scheduling goes well beyond pairing the closest crews with priority jobs. Inventory becomes a major factor when disasters and storms wreak havoc on infrastructure systems. Sending the first available crew to an emergency repair is only effective if they have the right equipment for the job. Many field service software solutions use spreadsheets or even multiple applications to organize parts inventory, vehicles, and specialized equipment. Even if all of your applications are on cloud-based systems, information must be taken from each application and then manually organized to successfully complete emergency jobs.
KloudGin’s cloud-based field service management software tracks your inventory, equipment and assets, and compiles them into a single face of work, enabling fast dispatching of the closest, most capable crew – with the parts and equipment they need to successfully complete the job.
Problem #5: Safety
In many cases, jobs that happen during emergencies are very different from the normal day-to-day activities of the crew. Technicians that normally complete meter reads or installs do not typically deal with fallen lines or downed trees, even though they may be trained to do so. In this case, your field service management system must be able to hold detailed descriptions for emergency jobs performed, including all steps and safety measures, to keep your crew safe. The ability to include GIS maps, photos, tips, and step-by-step job descriptions is critical even when there is no cellular connection.
Efficient response to disaster scenarios relies far more on the systems in place before the incident occurs than the reactions taken after the fact. Siloed software applications fail to efficiently coordinate all the information you need when it matters most. Use of mobile technology in the field becomes useless if coordination from dispatch cannot be achieved quickly and accurately. KloudGin provides the only single cloud-based software solution for field service, work & asset management. Keep all of your information in one source, accessible anywhere – on any device – during any emergency. KloudGin’s advanced AI and Machine Learning capabilities remove the manual processes during extreme events, allowing for the fastest and most successful job completion, no matter the scenario.
Ready to see KloudGin in action? Schedule a demo and see for yourself how KloudGin can make your field operations resilient.
Kimberley’s 20+ year background helping customers with digital transformation includes extensive time in product management and consulting services to public/private utilities as well as private industries to improve their overall asset and work management processes, field service and customer engagement. She is passionate about helping customers with their digital transformations and enjoys acting as a conduit between customers and product development. Prior to coming to KloudGin, Kimberly worked at Oracle in product management as well as Veolia North America where she worked closely with water/wastewater and energy projects deploying work and asset management solutions.