A northwestern utility has a team of 50 remote field inspectors who conduct inspections at various customer locations. The company struggled to coordinate schedules and track work progress, resulting in delays, missed inspections, and inconsistent quality. In addition, the manual paperwork and reporting process was time-consuming and error-prone, which made it difficult for managers to monitor performance and make informed decisions. They needed a solution to streamline their inspection process, improve quality, and provide real-time work status and performance visibility.
Our team implemented a business process automation solution to address its challenges with remote field inspections:
- PowerApps – Mobile application for field workers: The company implemented a mobile application that allowed field inspectors to receive and complete inspection tasks, update their progress, and report any issues in real time. The application also provided access to relevant customer information, such as site plans and inspection history, which helped inspectors prepare for their work.
- Power Automation workflows for approvals and notifications: The utility set up automated workflows to streamline approval and notification processes. For example, when an inspection report was completed, it would automatically be sent to the appropriate stakeholders for review and approval. The system also sent automated notifications to the relevant parties when an inspection was scheduled, completed, or delayed.
- Power BI real-time reporting dashboards for managers: The company implemented a real-time reporting dashboard that gave managers a comprehensive view of inspection status, performance, and quality metrics. The dashboard displayed key performance indicators, such as inspection completion rates, average inspection time, and quality ratings, which helped managers monitor performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Integration with existing systems: The business process automation solution integrated the company’s existing systems, such as Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, which helped streamline the end-to-end inspection process.
By implementing these features, the utility streamlined its inspection process, improved quality, and provided real-time visibility into work status and performance, increasing customer satisfaction and revenue.
Here were the benefits realized from implementing this business process automation solution:
- Improved scheduling and time management: The mobile application for field workers and automated workflows helped the utility better coordinate schedules and track work progress, reducing delays and missed inspections.
- Increased productivity and efficiency: By automating manual tasks, such as paperwork and reporting, field inspectors were able to spend more time on inspections, increasing productivity and efficiency.
- Improved quality and consistency: The real-time reporting dashboard and quality metrics helped the utility monitor performance and identify areas for improvement, resulting in improved quality and consistency of inspections.
- Enhanced customer satisfaction: By providing real-time updates on inspection status and addressing issues promptly, the utility was able to improve customer satisfaction and reduce complaints.
- Cost savings: The automation of manual tasks and improved efficiency helped reduce administrative costs, while the ability to monitor performance and optimize processes helped reduce overall operating costs.
Cost Savings = 18% reduction in staffing costs
Overall, the business process automation solution implemented by the utility helped improve its remote field inspection process, resulting in increased efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction while reducing costs.
The impacts experienced from implementing this business process automation solution for remote field inspections:
- Improved decision-making: With access to real-time data and insights through the reporting dashboard, the utility managers could make more informed decisions regarding resource allocation, scheduling, and process improvements. This helped the company optimize its inspection process and improve overall performance.
- Increased employee engagement: The mobile application for field workers and automated workflows helped streamline the inspection process, reducing administrative burdens and freeing time for field inspectors to focus on their core duties. This, in turn, improved employee engagement and satisfaction, which is essential for retaining talent.
- Improved communication and collaboration: The automated workflows and real-time notifications helped improve communication and collaboration between different departments and stakeholders, including field inspectors, managers, and customers. This helped reduce misunderstandings and delays and ensured everyone worked toward the same goals.
- Enhanced competitive advantage: By improving its remote field inspection process, the utility could provide better quality services to its customers, which helped differentiate it from its competitors. This, in turn, helped the company win new business and retain existing customers.
Overall, the impact of implementing a business process automation solution for remote field inspections at the utility was significant. The company was able to improve its performance, reduce costs, and enhance its competitive advantage while improving employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
The key takeaways from this case study on implementing a business process automation solution for remote field inspections:
- With the use of Power Automation, business process automation can help improve efficiency and quality in field inspections by automating manual tasks, streamlining workflows, and providing real-time data and insights.
- PowerApps and Power Portals, a mobile application for field workers, can help improve scheduling and time management. In contrast, automated workflows can help reduce administrative burdens and improve communication and collaboration between departments and stakeholders.
- Leveraging Power BI real-time reporting dashboards can help managers make more informed decisions and identify areas for improvement while also improving employee engagement and satisfaction.
- Integrating the business process automation solution with existing systems can help streamline the end-to-end inspection process and reduce costs.
- Overall, implementing a business process automation solution for remote field inspections can significantly improve performance, quality, customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage.