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OGE, based in Essen, is one of the largest transmission system operators in Europe with a pipeline network of around 12,000 kilometres. Around 1,650 employees ensure safe, environmentally friendly and customer-oriented gas transport. Its core activities include the complete process from the planning to the construction of gas pipelines, the operation of the pipeline system with maintenance and repair as well as the management and marketing of transport capacities. In the field of network construction and maintenance, more than 500 technicians work for OGE in the field throughout Germany.
Every year, some 60,000 orders are received in the areas of planned maintenance, fault clearance or network construction. These include, for example, the inspection, functional testing and maintenance of high-pressure gas pipelines, gas pressure control and measurement systems and compressor stations. A round-the-clock on-call service is available for malfunctions and emergencies, which is coordinated via the central reporting point for 24/7 malfunction management.
Migration to a modern, mobile solution
In order to access information on their orders from SAP PM while on the road and to create their confirmations and transmit them to the back office, the technicians used a proprietary development based on Visual Basic and Access that communicated with SAP PM via iDocs until 2014. After Windows XP was replaced, there was no way to further develop this application or to make it compatible with Windows 7.
In 2010, OGE began searching for a new solution that would be able to run offline and offer at least the same functionality as the old mobile solution. The choice finally fell on mobileX-MIP for Field Service from mobileX AG. Decisive factors were the support of CATS for time confirmations, application design and the extension Dynamic Forms.
In February 2014, the migration to mobileX-MIP for Field Service began with a pilot. From June to October 2014, the gradual rollout of MIA (mobile maintenance of plants) - as the internal project name suggests - to all technicians took place. After four hours of training, the technicians were already able to work with the new solution. The fact that they can use the system from different computers or install a new version quickly and easily, for example if a device fails without losing data, also contributed to the motivation of the colleagues.
Area-wise disposition of orders
OGE's 80 or so dispatchers are spread over 50 branches throughout western Germany. Orders are allocated to the respective technicians according to region. This also has the background that in the event of a gas leak, a technician must be at the site within 30 minutes. The technicians receive a list generated from SAP PM with planned orders for maintenance and repair from the schedulers every week in mobileX-MIP for Field Service. This means that each technician has a stock of up to 100 orders on his HP Elite Book, which he can schedule to be processed by himself. Malfunctions are coordinated from the central reporting point and forwarded to the technician responsible on site.
Thanks to the offline capability of the mobile solution, technicians always have access to all relevant information about the order, even in the radio dead zone, or can enter data which is then automatically transferred and transferred to SAP PM during the next synchronization.
The technicians also report their working times via mobileX-MIP for Field Service. This data is then transferred to SAP CATS, the cross-application time sheet. They can also make confirmations for colleagues. For example, if three technicians perform a functional check on a high-pressure gas pipeline, one of them enters the times for himself and his two colleagues. To avoid errors when posting in SAP, the data is checked in advance according to predefined rules. If irregularities occur, the person responsible is informed by mail and the data is then corrected in CATS.
The technicians can also document and post the consumption of material from the vehicle warehouse using mobileX-MIP for Field Service. This includes material already planned in the order, larger material as well as unplanned material that they need on site. The reordering of material is automatically carried out in MM if certain minimum quantities.
With the introduction of mobileX-MIP for Field Service, we now have a future-proof mobile solution for our technicians, which definitely offers advantages in usability compared to our old solution. In addition, the Dynamic Forms extension is a very important feature for us, as it allows us to digitize our existing paper forms and then dynamically modify and extend them. This offers us great potential in terms of improving data quality and cost savings in data entry. Another major advantage is that data is no longer lost if a computer is defective, because it is stored on the mobileX-MIP server.
Since the migration to version 4.2 of mobileX-MIP for Field Service in December 2015, OGE has been using a first electronic form for filling out data acquisition lists. By 2020, the currently existing 400 paper forms for plant inspections were to be merged into a manageable number and digitalised. This represents a further, important step in the consistent digitalisation of maintenance processes at OGE.
Image source: https://oge.net/en