Rather than increasing risk by deploying generic work management and scheduling tools, success will depend on exploiting an emerging range of next generation support software, specifically designed to meet the smart metering challenge. Ideally, these tools will be deployable in conjunction with the current-best-of breed solutions and products already optimised for the specific characteristics of the metering mix. Coupled with innovative refinements to address the increased scale and complexity of smart metering installations and skill requirements, these tools will provide a perfect solution for maximising customer satisfaction, controlling installation costs and reducing risk.
Wheatley’s proposed Smart Roll-out Optimiser, will take smart metering workforce management to this next level. It is being designed to underpin strategic planning and maximise the implementation efficiency of the smart meter installation process, at the same time as ensuring maximum quality of service (QoS) levels to customers. By providing a front-end to any workforce management system including Wheatley’s Assign solution, it will focus on the critical areas of installation planning, customer engagement and workforce utilisation. It will enable companies to model hypothetical installation schedules as the basis for optimising smart meter installation plans, ensure customer engagement/contact centres are able to support the selected strategy by maximising confirmed appointments, and provide real-time feedback of actual performance against plan, allowing timely intervention to daily work schedules and the refinement of ongoing activity.
It will adopt a three-stage approach to the meter installation process, enabling metering companies to achieve an optimum installation schedule based on the maximum possible number of confirmed appointments with prioritised customer groups or regions as appropriate. Installation scenarios, built in the Campaign Planner, will allow an accurate forecast to be provided on how a particular smart metering campaign might develop in practice. These scenarios will be based on a mix of factors such as individual installer skills, operating hours, available workers, numbers of confirmed and assumed appointments. Once an optimum campaign is defined, a Customer Interface module will present the customer contact team with the necessary information to drive the appointment booking and confirmation process, allowing the escalation and targeting of contact effort as the campaign date approaches or operational efficiency requires intervention. An Operations Interface will provide the ability to monitor confirmed appointments against available resource as well as resource utilisation, allowing “’what if’ studies to be undertaken so that the operational requirements of campaigns can be further optimised. Finally, as work is completed, it will be possible to compare actual activity against planned performance to identify and rectify any issues.