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Boosting efficiency for electrical field operations managers

By The Fulcrum Team
September 6, 2023

Field operations managers and their teams play an indispensable part in electrical utilities. They work tirelessly to ensure timely maintenance, infrastructure upgrades, and emergency response.  However, in an industry where precision and efficiency are paramount, managing and coordinating field teams presents a constant challenge.

Relying on manual or analog processes to manage field teams is a recipe for misallocated resources, cost-draining inefficiencies, or worse. Even minor oversights can lead to prolonged power outages, escalating costs, or even safety hazards. Field operations managers realize that “just getting the job done” doesn’t cut it anymore. With today’s pressures – from financial to environmental – it’s about getting the job done right the first time, every time. 

Field inspection management software is designed to supercharge operational efficiency. By integrating cutting-edge technology with on-the-ground tasks, inspection software is a beacon of operational efficiency and efficacy. Join us as we deep-dive into how field inspection software brings transformative efficiencies to electric utility field operations. 

Man inspecting electrical transformer gauges as visualization of Boosting Efficiency for an Electrical Field Operations ManagerNavigating field operations challenges

Regardless of industry, collecting and circulating accurate and timely data lies at the heart of successful field operations.

In utilities, however, field operations managers confront daily challenges regarding missing or inaccurate data. This presents unique complexities potentially hindering the seamless provision of essential services, including: 

  • Wrong Locations: Teams are occasionally dispatched to incorrect sites due to outdated maps or miscommunication. This results in wasted work hours and can also delay crucial on-site maintenance or repairs.
  • Misinformation: Teams saddled with inaccurate data are less efficient and can even exacerbate existing issues. Whether outdated SOPs or erroneous technical specs, misinformation can lead to ineffective fixes, subpar inspections, or worse.
  • Loadout Gaps: It’s not uncommon for teams to show up at a site and find they’re missing necessary tools or equipment. This means either improvising or returning to the office, both inefficient options.
  • Incomplete Visits: If teams have insufficient preliminary data or unclear tasks, they may not collect all required information during the first visit. This leads to multiple trips, increasing costs and response times.
  • Redundant Visits: Organizational silos can result in multiple teams visiting the same location for overlapping tasks, wasting resources and time.
  • Inefficient Resource Allocation: Without a clear real-time visibility into team makeup and location, field operations managers might disproportionately allocate resources.

Addressing these challenges is pivotal, and not just to save time and money. Ultimately, operational efficiency is critical for the overall reliability of the electrical utility service to its end users.

The consequences of inefficient field operations

Operational efficiency is about more than just the technicalities and granularity of resource management. Rather, it has far-reaching consequences that affect both individual consumers and entire industries, including:

  • Financial Costs: The direct result of inefficiencies is a significant financial strain, affecting profitability and even leading to higher consumer rates.
  • Resource Misallocation: When different teams are dispatched to the same locations, more critical areas or urgent issues remain underserviced.
  • Service Interruptions: Each inefficiency potentially leads to prolonged service interruptions or even outages. Not only an inconvenience to consumers, interruptions can also paralyze businesses and essential services.
  • Damaged Reputation: Persistent inefficiencies that interrupt service damage the utility’s reputation and lead to a loss of trust and potential customer attrition.
  • Reduced Customer Satisfaction: Inefficiencies can lead to prolonged outages, frequent service interruptions, or rate hikes. Over time, these erode customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Operational Morale and Burnout: Repeatedly sending teams to wrong locations with bad information to redo tasks leads to frustration and decreased morale. This exacerbates inefficiency and, worse, increases employee turnover.
  • Compromised Safety: Without efficient means to capture and communicate on-the-ground conditions, teams might be unaware of new site-specific hazards. If not addressed promptly, the safety of field teams and the public is at risk.

The gravity of these stakes underlines why electrical utilities need to actively seek more efficient, technology-driven solutions, especially critical in an era of escalating consumer expectations, dwindling resources, and a rise in extreme weather events.

Pioneering a new era of enhanced efficiency for electrical utilities

Going digital to manage field operations is more than just a technical upgrade. Field inspection software like Fulcrum offers a strategy transformation of unparalleled efficiency across a range of critical vectors, including:

  • Precision-Driven Operations with GIS and Geolocation: Enhanced with geolocation and GIS integration, digital tools always dispatch teams to exactly where they need to be. This reduces wasted time and ensures that service requests are addressed promptly.
  • Comprehensive, Secure, Accessible Data: Gone are the days of manual data searches or sifting through piles of paper. Cloud-based software gives field teams instant access to all pertinent data, from equipment specifics to historical maintenance records. Data is securely stored and accessible from anywhere, ensuring field teams and managers are on the same page.
  • Streamlined Workflows: With clear in-app SOPs, field teams have clear directions for every task, ensuring procedures are always consistently and efficiently followed.
  • Optimized Resource Allocation: By consolidating tasks, software ensures that one crew tackles multiple jobs during a single visit, maximizing resources and output.
  • Real-time Reporting: Digital tools provide field operations managers with real-time updates for making timely decisions and on-the-spot adjustments, reducing downtime and boosting productivity.
  • Automated Scheduling and Task Prioritization: Scheduling tasks based on urgency ensures a quick and smooth resolution of critical issues.
  • Reduced Training Time: User-friendly apps reduce training time so new team members are operationally ready in a shorter, less costly timeframe.

Embracing the future of field operations

In an era demanding both agility and accuracy, field inspection management software is the ultimate tool for field operations managers.

Digital tools don’t just promise efficiency. Leading software like Fulcrum delivers efficiency every day through every task, transforming field operations into proactive, streamlined processes that make sure every job gets done right as quick, safe, and efficient as possible, every time.


Want to find out more about Fulcrum for electrical utilities field operations? Check out our infographic for insights and use cases, or just cut to the chase and talk to one of our experts today!