Dave Kovach, Manitoba Hydro district service worker in Brandon, checks the new Mobile Workforce Management system for his next assignment.
Manitoba Hydro has completed rolling out the utility’s new Mobile Workforce Management system, revolutionizing how the province’s energy supplier co-ordinates its fieldwork.
Map displays in a service truck show the location of the calls. (SUBMITTED)
For customers, the result will be faster, more efficient responses to service calls.
"It has really improved how we keep track of our work and dispatch our personnel," said Bruce Plaisier, manager of customer service operations for Manitoba Hydro in Westman.
"It’s streamlined the system, meaning there’s less paperwork for our staff and made our planning and scheduling of work more efficient, while helping to minimize travel times for our staff.
"The system also automatically matches work requests with staff work experience and skills, which also helps scheduling."
The new system links computers installed in Manitoba Hydro trucks back through a centralized server to dispatch offices in Brandon, Selkirk and Winnipeg.
The server also links to local Customer Service Centres and other offices where staff are based, allowing for more efficient and rapid allocation of manpower and other resources.
The new system focuses on priority work province-wide and helps customer service personnel plan for seasonal demands, such as no heat calls in winter and locating underground services in summer.
"We receive thousands of work requests for short duration jobs and it was tedious and labour intensive to track and assign this work, as well as get the information entered into our computer systems after the job was done," Plaisier said. "The Mobile Workforce Management system excels at keeping track of these jobs and fitting them into a person’s day.
"We are ahead of schedule on our meter retest program and have virtually eliminated the backlog of older service orders. We’ve also been able to maintain the same short turnaround on underground service locates with existing staff, despite a 10-per-cent increase in requests over last year.
"Finally, we are using the system to assign ‘quick hit’ maintenance work, which will help reduce outages and enhance system reliability."
By the end of 2013, more than 680 Manitoba Hydro field staff will have been fully trained on the Mobile Workforce Management system, which will be particularly valuable in rural areas.
"It’s allowing us to respond to customer requests more quickly and efficiently, particularly in rural areas where distances between calls can be much greater," Plaisier said.
"Being able to dispatch the closest staff with the most closely matched skill set to the job at hand helps us improve our already high level of customer service and makes things easier on our staff at the same time."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 29, 2013