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The energy industry has a couple of big challenges to cope with the coming years. The energy transition is started and will continue to pick up its pace: all fossil fuels must be replaced by sustainable energy sources by 2050. At the same time the economy is regaining its strength. As a result, more houses and companies are being built and the demand for new and stronger energy connections increases.
We talk to Roel, manager at a maintenance department of a network administrator. He explains us the three biggest challenges he is currently facing.
Challenge 1: shortage of technical staff
Roel explains: “Lifetime employment is no longer the standard. Many young technicians leave quickly and due to the aging of the staff much knowledge is lost when they retire. We have a staff turnover of almost 20% among our engineers.”
This challenge is not unusual in the Dutch market. Our county copes with a structural shortage of technically schooled staff. Causes are the lack of popularity for the technical professions and the lack of suitable qualifications. There are thousands of vacancies for service engineers and technical employees. This shortage leads to more down time, delays in the realisation of the connections, a stop in technical innovations and dissatisfaction of the consumers.
Challenge 2: planning
Due to the shortage of technical staff it is challenging for network administrators to divide and plan the daily work. Therefore they want the available hours they have utilized optimally. However that is easier said than done.
Roel: “We work in time blocks of four to eight hours. Sometimes we get the job done in less time. The time that is won should then be invested in a new job. Nevertheless this is harder than it should be. The engineer must first contact the back office to ask for a new job and then he is lucky when there is a job nearby. Besides that there are often rush jobs that come along or jobs that take longer than expected. All these elements affect the planning.”
Challenge 3: fragmented IT environment
Roel’s third challenge is the fragmented IT environment he has to deal with. Due to the fragmentation there is no overview which makes it a lot harder to fully utilize the resources.
Roel: “All the data is stored in several different systems. The plannings are made in Excel and are dispatched to the engineers through another system. Because we do not always know where our technicians are the plannings sometimes do not make a lot of sense. It can drive my people crazy sometimes that they have to drive from Apeldoorn to Hilversum while one of their colleagues is only a few kilometers away. The inventory is managed in another system and is being updated manually. As a result, it often occurs that the engineers are either packed with equipment or need to drive an extra mile when they are missing things.”
This blog has been created in close collaboration with Bridgin.it.
The goal of Bridgin.it is to close the gap between the business and IT by combining smart process analysis and agile development methods with modern IT platforms as Salesforce and Betty Blocks. This way Bridgin.it delivers working solutions for process and organizational development in the utility industry.
FieldBuddy is a field service automation solution that supports the entire service process. FieldBuddy ensures the highest levels of efficiency from your technicians and engineers, while exceeding your customers’ expectations. The software provides dispatchers, service managers, field workers and employees everything they need to get the job done right the first time, efficiently and effectively, while minimizing administration and overhead.