Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG
Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG, or CKW for short, offers its approximately 200,000 private customers and companies in 75 municipalities in the canton of Lucerne in Central Switzerland comprehensive energy services along the entire value chain - from the turbine to the socket. Around 560 employees ensure the smooth supply of electricity to connected end customers. 120 fitters are responsible for the construction and maintenance of the 7,300 kilometres of electricity grids. Together, they complete 8,000 to 10,000 jobs per year, ensuring an extremely high level of supply reliability of 99.996 percent.
13 dispatchers plan and control the deployment of the fitters in teams of varying sizes from five locations. They are also responsible for the planning, construction and operation of the network. The orders are maintenance orders and planned maintenance work such as the annual inspection of the 3,500 transformer stations, inspection tours or network expansions and conversions. Depending on the type of order, they can last from a few minutes to several weeks. All technicians start their working day in one of the branches, where they receive their orders in paper form and their operating resources.
Transparent and more efficient scheduling and resource utilization
Until September 2014, the deployment planning was carried out using Excel tables, with which the sector managers managed their five to ten fitters in each region. In 2012, however, CKW had already decided to centralise its deployment planning, making it more transparent and efficient. Another decisive factor in this decision was the efficiency targets for electricity providers, which the state regulatory authority EICom expects in the future and which will encourage energy service providers to offer competitive network usage tariffs.
CKW initially looked at 14 different Field Service Management solutions, two of which made it into the final selection. In the end, a reference customer visit to an Austrian energy supplier was convincing. The decision was made in favour of mobileX-Dispatch from mobileX AG, as this solution best allows and maps the usual working methods of the dispatchers at CKW. The energy provider decided to optimize the dispatching with an IT-supported solution and to equip the mechanics with mobile devices only in a second step, in order to completely clarify the security aspects such as the encryption of the data and the requirements for the hardware used for mobile use in advance.
The dispatchers receive the order data from various sources. The orders for maintenance are largely taken from a GIS system in which the plants and networks are recorded. A small proportion of the orders come from SAP PM enriched with data from SD and IS-U. The profiles of the technicians - i.e. name, location and qualifications - are also stored in SAP HR. Since CKW is continuously expanding and renewing its existing network, the majority of the technicians' working time consists of new construction or modernization. The sector managers create the orders for this directly in mobileX-Dispatch.
The fitters still receive their weekly plans and orders in paper form. Templates for their reports, overviews for on-call services and holidays are also created in mobileX-Dispatch and then printed out for the technicians.
First stage of the Field Service Management project successfully completed
Following the completion of the first project phase, Markus Binkert, Head of Pool Network Services at Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG, draws a thoroughly positive conclusion. As with any project involving process changes, CKW also had initial reservations about the new solution. However, these could be quickly resolved by presenting tips and tricks for the use of mobileX-Dispatch in the weekly dispatching meetings after the training, which soon showed the advantages over the conventional planning method.
In the next phase of the project, the use of the operation pool in mobileX-Dispatch is to be extended, in which the dispatchers can display the orders that have not yet been allocated according to various filter criteria. It is also planned to equip the dispatchers with a mobile solution in the next two to three years to reduce the currently still existing media discontinuity. This will enable CKW to improve the data quality of the feedback, further increase the efficiency and capacity utilization in maintenance and ultimately offer its customers even more attractive rates.
By introducing mobileX-Dispatch we were able to significantly improve the workload of our field service technicians. This gives us about one more man-year of capacity. We can now process orders ourselves that we previously had to hand over to external companies. In addition, the quality of the order data, which we distribute to the technicians via mobileX-Dispatch, has improved and there are fewer telephone enquiries.