5 Field Service Optimization Essentials in the Natural Gas Sector

Posted by David Alazraki

Mon, Dec 09, 2013

natural gas field service enterpriseWhen working within an industry that manages substances as volatile as natural gas, there is no room for error. The nature of the job begs a good question - is your natural gas sector’s infrastructure capable of handling a disaster? It’s a hypothetical that no one likes to think about, but it requires the utmost attention.

As challenging as it may be, preparing for the possibility of unforeseen calamity is a responsibility that falls to the natural gas service provider. Luckily, as the industry progresses, so do technologically advanced solutions that cater to this ever-present threat.

The key to absolute preparedness lies within field service optimization, which (in the most general sense) bridges communication between the customer, the service provider and the technicians in charge of on-site resolution. Field service optimization creates a fluid environment that provides an unprecedented level of coordination, which not only boosts daily productivity but also ensures that natural gas sectors remain compliant with stringent emergency regulations.

To achieve the level of field service optimization that best serves your workforce and customers, check out the following enterprise solutions:

1. Workforce Management Software

Workforce management software greatly improves the level of efficiency by which your entire natural gas sector will operate through the automation of administrative responsibilities and improved visibility to aid in more accurate decision-making. Field service optimization literally begins with workforce management software, which acts as a centralized hub through which all information passes. With proper implementation, it will drastically enhance your management’s organization, a quality that is essential to success in the face of a disaster-type scenario. Other features of workforce management software include:

  • Managed technician skill-sets to determine the best fit for a given request

  • Detailed information reporting about labor usage

  • Received input from remote technicians regarding: hours, progress, inventory and more

  • Full visibility into the job lifecycle from request conception to ticket closing

2. Service Dispatch Software

In addition to workforce management software, true field service optimization requires service dispatch software for fine-tuned technician coordination. With service dispatch software, mobile workforce management can create and remotely send work order requests to the best-paired technician based on availability, location, priority and skill-set.

In addition, service dispatch software can supply the best routing option by way of GPS technology that is sensitive to time-of-day and traffic conditions. Benefits of this field service optimization solution include:

  • Effortless and logical job task delegating

  • Improved data sharing between technicians and the office

  • Reduced overtime

  • Reduced mileage, wear & tear on fleet vehicles

  • Better visibility of technician time-usage and overall schedule trends

  • Customer satisfaction through prompt and prepared service

3. Cloud Computing

How do we bring all of this rich information within reach of those who need it – when they need it? With field service cloud solutions, of course! In-house servers have become arbitrary in the new-age field service atmosphere. Instead, industries choose to host their information in a cloud solution that literally bridges the gap between the office, workforce management software and field workers. The benefits to working with a cloud solution include:

  • Better support for cost-effective growth

  • Boosted productivity while working remotely

  • Increased automation of scheduling tasks

  • Added visibility of daily operations

  • Superior information access for enhanced customer service

4. Enterprise Mobility

To further pry open avenues of communication, service industries are instituting BYOD or supplying employees with mobile devices that aid in the obtaining and sharing of this cloud-offered information. With enterprise mobility, the office can communicate with field technicians and visa versa at any time throughout the day. Enterprise mobility also:

  • Provides 24/7 access to crucial information regardless of geographic location

  • Gives technicians the ability to receive, accept and decline work orders remotely

  • Allows for on-site payment retrieval

  • Offers a direct line of communication to workforce management software for on-the-spot, real time inventory or work order updating

  • Saves time otherwise spent on paperwork

  • Allocates a deeper level of integration for management operations

  • Permits internet browsing and communication between technicians to resolve new challenges

  • Supplies technicians with limitless applications to aid in efficiently tackling daily tasks

5. Smart Metering

New to the field service scene is smart metering technology, which has completely transformed the functionality of traditional utility metering. With smart metering, information about the consumer’s utility usage is reported hourly to workforce management software for the most up-to-date monitoring in the market. Smart metering is a mega boost to field service optimization and disaster relief efforts because:

  • It allows for better visibility into outages

  • Reduces overhead cost by cutting the need for on-site meter readings

  • Increases security protection through enhanced visibility

  • Gives the customer more control by offering real time viewing of utility usage and cost

  • Provides the means for faster and more accurate billing

Each field service optimization component works toward enhancing critical factors that not only influence daily operations but could also be the game changer in your teams ability to respond to a disaster. Through field service optimization, natural gas sectors greatly improve:

  1. Visibility

  2. Response Time

  3. Communication

  4. Information Access

Upon daily observation, these improvements lower operation cost, influence bottom lines, create better customer service opportunities and turn natural gas sectors into well-oiled machines. From an emergency standpoint, these factors mean a faster briefing of the extent of damage, quicker response times and above all else, faster resolution for all customers.

Improve today and prepare for tomorrow by integrating field service optimization and service dispatch software components into your natural gas sector operation. You’ll rest a little easier knowing that your company is efficient and dependable.   

Image Credit: brims1285

Tags: Field Service Optimization, Field Service Management for Enterprise