Western Power Distribution

Client Story

Scheduling Engine – helping WPD build its business

Improving efficiency is a goal for every business, and making better use of energy is part of achieving major efficiency gains. Smart meters, which record detailed energy consumption and share the resulting data, can help companies take control of their energy consumption, and the Smart Metering team at Western Power Distribution (WPD) are key players in making it happen.

Based in Bristol, with skilled engineers working nationwide, WPD uses triopsis workforce management and scheduling systems to deliver its services effectively. But can it do even more to enhance each customer’s experience and improve its own business efficiency?

With triopsis alongside it, the WPD team is ready to prove that it can.

We’re always looking at how we can be the best meter operator for businesses, and this is going to transform the way we operate.

Roger Sparks, Smart Metering Manager
WPD Smart Metering

The challenge

When it comes to domestic energy meter installation, customers are accustomed to booking appointments easily online – just like selecting a supermarket delivery slot. In the business market, however, things haven’t been quite so convenient. Phone calls and emails rather than online booking have been par for the course, and precise appointment times have been rare.

WPD, however, want to change things. Roger Sparks, the Smart Metering Manager at WPD explains:

“Timed appointments are a critical differentiator between us and our competitors, We want to combine the online booking that customers have experienced for their smart meter at home with the timed appointments that their business demands – and we want to achieve it across a challenging and dispersed cohort of sites.”

Our solution

The key to achieving this enhanced, digitally-driven service is to implement a recommendation engine – a software solution with the ability to match engineers to time slots automatically.

Andy Hutt, Managing Director at triopsis says: 

“It finds the right slot for the engineer within all WPD’s constraints. It’s hard for a scheduler to do, because that slot has to be very tightly constrained on time, and you have to take drive times into account, and service level agreements, job types, where the engineer is, and so on. There are a lot of variables. The recommendation engine is the essential stepping stone to the digital service that Roger and his team want. If customers are going to book their own appointments online, there has to be a recommendation engine doing all this automatically.”

The triopsis difference

The recommendation engine brings benefits far beyond the customer experience alone, with WPD aiming for increased sales and improved productivity too. Roger says:

We’re always trying to demonstrate how we add value in the non-domestic space, so it’s absolutely critical that all our services are tailored to the needs of business customers. Once we get to the next stage with the recommendation engine, when customers can go online and use it to book their own appointments, it means they won’t have to wait for a phone call or an email. And for us, it means our engineers’ schedules will get filled without the overheads of all those time-consuming calls. I think it’s going to transform the business in terms of the way we operate.”

Facing the future

WPD’s recommendation engine is already enhancing the company’s service levels and performance, and although it’s early days for the project, this is an investment in the future that the team is certain will deliver results. Roger says:

“The number of jobs per day is really important for our efficiency, and if we get an extra job a day in each engineer’s schedule, that will be a real measure of success. We also have to think about our environmental impact. We need to reduce the number of miles we travel between jobs so we can move to electric vehicles, and being efficient in the way we schedule is key to that.”

From improving customer satisfaction to reducing costs, and from cutting the carbon footprint to improving the work experience for WPD’s engineers, it’s clear that this is an investment in a better way of working – a logical step for a business that aims to be the best of the best.

The number of jobs per day is really important for our efficiency, and if we get an extra job a day in each engineer’s schedule, that will be a real measure of success.”

Roger Sparks, Smart Metering Manager
WPD Smart Metering

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