Jun 07, 2021
By Leslie O'Connell

6 Ways the Connected Workplace Helps Water Utility Operations

Communities across the country struggle to maintain their water infrastructures; innovative software can help put your agency ahead of the curve.

We all want safe drinking water, and we understand that properly treated wastewater prevents disease and protects the environment.

Securing our critical water systems infrastructure should be of the utmost concern.  And it is.  However, this is a big country with a lot of water plants and lots of aging infrastructure.  It isn’t straightforward.

How are we doing?

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, the United States water systems received a C- grade and wastewater systems a D+.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, and progress is happening.

According to the water report card, “more than 12,000 miles of water pipes were planned to be replaced by drinking water utilities across the country in the year 2020 alone.”

And “In 2019, about a third of all utilities had a robust asset management program in place to help prioritize their capital and operations/maintenance investments, which is an increase from 20% in 2016.”

That’s good news.

An essential public service with complex, expensive, and often aging assets should have a robust asset management program running on a powerful modern software platform.

The Connected Workplace is a software platform that takes your asset management program to the next level.

It’s a modern alternative to legacy Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS).  And a software platform where you manage all employees, all physical locations, all assets, and all work, creating collaboration across departments and actionable analytics.

One of the most significant advantages to the Connected Workplace is that it captures unparalleled insights into water utility plant operations. As a result, it’s an empowering platform for facilities managers to efficiently organize and maintain every asset and maintenance process.

 

Six Advantages of Modern Equipment and Maintenance Management Software 

 1. Accurate Equipment Inventory and Management

Water utilities need an extraordinary number of assets to keep their treatment and distribution network running. There are valves, meters, generators, filtering media, chemicals, pumps, telemetry monitoring systems, and the list continues.

Tracking and managing equipment is daunting on spreadsheets or disconnected solutions.

The Connected Workplace tracks each asset, keeps them secure, manages existing inventory, tracks all work orders, and shares the platform with IT for comprehensive equipment management.

There’s even an asset onboarding workflow.  Technicians use digital forms to input new devices, this triggers a workflow to deliver the devices to their respective areas while creating device inspection work orders.

(The Connected Workplace means your asset inventory data is part of your maintenance, facilities, and cybersecurity platform.  More on that below.)

2. Faster Corrective Maintenance with a Robust Mobile Application

When assets, people, and work data are captured on one platform, you can create smart dispatching. Smart dispatching uses workflows and business rules to automate and automatically route work orders to the right person at the right time.

Integrations with unmanned sensor alarms can be designed to trigger smart dispatching and automatically assign the work to the nearest technician in the field with the right machine certification. Saving critical time, that’s automation at its best!

Once assigned, the work is completed faster when technicians have an easy-to-use mobile application. They have instant access to service manuals, knowledge bases, spare parts inventory, training videos, and more.

They complete the assigned work, submit invoices, and can track their performance. As they update their work orders on the mobile app, they capture the equipment service history you would otherwise be missing.

On the shared mobile application, no matter who does the work, the data is captured at the time of service, providing real-time equipment service updates.

3. Well-Designed Preventive Maintenance

When you finally have the robust and accurate asset data, along with equipment service history, it’s time to design a well-structured preventative maintenance plan. Smart dispatching automates this process too.

Preventive work orders can be designed to auto-route based on date, location, certifications, technician preference, asset performance, etc. All the intelligence captured with each work order is used to understand equipment maintenance better and create more efficient timelines.

In addition, your maintenance teams can utilize checklists when performing periodic inspection tasks, such as safety equipment inspection or custodial rounds. If a checklist item fails, a work order is automatically created, a technician is alerted and dispatched through the mobile app. This speeds up the work order process and takes the burden off your internal staff.

Creating an organized and intelligent preventive program improves operations exponentially.

4. Facility Condition Assessments (on the same platform)

Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) analyzes the physical condition of your overall plant and equipment. If you’re using spreadsheets, or worse, doing manual assessments, this process is daunting.

Nuvolo Connected Workplace condition assessment functionality and the information and analysis you have before conducting an assessment are invaluable and simplify the process.

FCA’s are integral in your ability to identify problems before they happen.  They uncover the condition of your assets and facilities – empowering you to find immediate risks, determine lifespans, prioritize repair and replacement projects, and prevent emergencies.

Tracking your FCA data, asset information, preventive and corrective work orders on a single platform gives you unprecedented data accuracy to create powerful analytics.

5. Cybersecurity – Helps Protect Connected Non-IT Devices

Cybersecurity is typically associated with protecting IT network infrastructures. However, today, more physical devices are being added to networks everywhere without any security protocols.

Think about this for a minute.  The water industry is taking advantage of IoT sensors to monitor water levels or leaks, which is excellent, but these devices are all connected to the network – they can be hacked.

Protecting your mission-critical non-IT devices is a coordinated effort and requires expertise from facilities, IT, and security.

The connected workplace overlays IT cybersecurity with non-IT assets and ensures you’re protected from cyber breaches.

Learn more about our cybersecurity offering here.

6. Improves Capital Planning Reporting and Financials

One of the most valuable advantages of the connected platform is analytics.

Use analytics to manage equipment and parts costing, analyze equipment lifecycles, reconcile work orders against actual service performed, track service levels, and contract spend.

Create dashboards to spot trends, identify problem equipment, accurately forecast new equipment purchases, track labor utilization, and efficiently manage technician resources.

And, as part of the Connected Workplace, you can include:

  • Lease management for all your real estate properties.​
  • Vendor management so you understand the costs of everything from lawn maintenance to HVAC repairs.​
  • Capital project management to handle your renovation and new building projects.​
  • Sustainability tracking so you can understand energy, water, and waste consumption by property.​

Each piece of data captured gets you closer to significant cost savings and overall improved operations performance.

Create reports and analytics for capacity planning, to improve response times, or find operating expense savings.

Then build your operations and capital improvement plans with accurate business intelligence and make cost-effective decisions about your plant and equipment longevity.

That’s the power of The Connected Workplace.

 

 

You may also like

Solution Overview
Oct 13, 2020

Connected Workplace: Maintenance

Solution Overview
Nov 06, 2020

Projects in the Connected Workplace

Solution Overview
Oct 12, 2020

Real Estate in the Connected Workplace