Business leaders rely on data for decisions. This data can range from simple daily status reports to more complex business performance reviews. For example, in utility industries like electricity supply and distribution, companies mainly operate based on field data, often gathered from large geographical expanses. This field data supplies management with vital insights into how their various assets are performing and the supply and distribution patterns. They even provide insights into customer consumption patterns and help in maintenance, new project planning, and operational decisions, impacting productivity and cost. This makes the data collection process critical in the overall functional approach.
In this post, we will examine:
- What operations leaders look for in Data Collection processes
- How Mobile apps help utility businesses like electricity companies address these expectations in the Data Collection process
Data Collection Process: Operations Managers want to know how data is being collected from the field. Whether it’s inspection data regarding utility poles, electric cables, transformers, substations, or the many smaller components in the infrastructure, the data collection process must be simple, easy, and fast. It must also be repeatable and ensure the needed level of accuracy. When inspectors are out on the field with inspection equipment, inspection checklists, SOP manuals, etc., companies must enable them with a data collection process that is stress-free and convenient. Other factors also come into play, such as fieldwork constraints in remote areas. How do operations teams crack these challenges? Is it even possible to address all these requirements consistently?
Data Management: The data collection process yields a lot of data for the organization daily. Once data is collected, team leaders want to know how this vast amount of data flowing in can be appropriately managed. Data entry, consolidation, security, data formats, and accessibility are vital issues. How can one arrive at a data collection process that is convenient in consolidating all recorded data and is easy to manage and interpret?
Workflow Management: Data flow determines workflow. In complex field operations, staff deployment planning, vehicle fleet management, resources allocation, and inventory management are vital for effective operations. Unless there is a clear data flow between individuals and teams, it would be impossible to make informed workflow decisions. Does the data collection process enable workflow planning? What mechanism can share the gathered information with relevant teams for action and status updates?
Insights: What about reporting! How will such data be translated into meaningful reports for compliance needs, internal management reviews, and day-to-day decision-making? Each data collection process often results in different file formats. After data entry, the bulk of the information is sometimes too large to make sense of and too distributed to evaluate holistically. How can teams ensure this vast amount of field data is leveraged for cost optimization, increased productivity, higher staff morale, and informed strategic decisions?
Automation and Adoption: Finally, operations leaders are concerned about going digital. Is there a way to automate this field data collection process to meet these requirements and expectations? How will field staff benefit? Will it bring down costs? How will it integrate with legacy data in the system? Will it enable better compliance management? How difficult or easy is it to adopt and roll out?
Mobile Field Data Collection for Seamless Operations Management
Several businesses have gone the digital route. With digital adoption, companies can collect field data faster, manage the information collected, and leverage insights for streamlining operations. Mobile field data collection apps like Fielda have a host of features and functionality to meet all these complex requirements of the utility industry.
Field Data Collection Process and Workflow Management Simplified: Fielda enables operations managers to build, customize and control all the forms and checklists they need. They can complete the data gathering with the convenience of a mobile device and fill in forms using a simple user interface with menus, drop-downs, checkboxes, etc., to enable hassle-free click-and-capture. Inspectors need not carry cumbersome SOP manuals and tons of paper forms. They can finish the data collection process in a matter of minutes and upload any supporting evidence, including photos, videos, or documents, instantly from the same mobile device. Fielda also has an offline feature that enables data collection in off-grid locations with no connectivity. Besides custom forms and checklists, Fielda also helps teams structure workflow with relevant information flow between groups precisely for business efficiency. Its unique GIS capability also enables them to accurately map and visualize assets in its geographical territory.
Seamless Data Management and Business Insights: All field data is instantly synchronized and is securely stored on the cloud. Operations managers need not worry about the reams of paper forms flowing into the data entry back office. They can quickly resolve all traditional data management challenges with seamless digital data capture – the errors of data omission, loss of forms, poor handwriting causing inaccurate data entry, etc. With the numerous issues of managing document storage rooms, ensuring document security, and the added responsibilities of managing data entry teams, team leaders can address these at one go with this digital data collection process. Secure, real-time cloud storage and Fielda’s ability to consolidate various data into a single integrated report makes it easy to share information with internal stakeholders, statutory bodies, and clients with no additional effort at all. This instant availability of reports makes decisions much more sound, whether on-the-ground operational decisions or more long-term and strategic.
Effortless Adoption and Integration: Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to automation and going digital is the complex process of adoption. How the new data collection process can be deployed across teams, and how the data collected will interact with existing organizational data assets. That’s where Fielda brings simplicity to complex problems. Fielda is a no-code platform, making it extremely easy to deploy. Field staff gain from Fielda’s ease, speed, convenience, and the data collected can be integrated with current databases to ensure continuity and consolidation.
We have helped several utility companies gain from the benefits of Fielda to make the data collection process seamless and rapidly enhance productivity and efficiency. Talk to us to find out how we can help your business achieve the same visible impact on key business metrics.