Powering up performance with Electricity North West

“triOpsis workforce manager added value immediately. It continues to evolve with the business as we improve.”
Martin Deehan, Operations Director North
Electricity North West

Today’s world is driven by electricity. Technological advancements once thought of as miraculous are now essential to the way the world works, from light at the flick of a switch to the power that brings our communications technology to life. At Electricity North West, the mission is to make sure that homes and businesses across the UK’s north west have this essential power whenever they need it. The organisation owns, operates and maintains the electricity distribution network across their region, with 2.4 million properties and more than five million people relying on Electricity North West to keep them connected to the National Grid.

Servicing such a large region efficiently and effectively is key to the organisation’s daily operations, but with triOpsis’s help, it’s an area in which Electricity North West succeeds.

The challenge

Since the government-mandated smart meter roll-out began in 2016, the nation’s energy suppliers have been installing the new technology in homes and workplaces all over the country. Ultimately, around 53 million smart meters will need to be installed.

One consequence has been that the volume of cut-out replacements has increased substantially – a ‘cut-out’ being the fuse that sits between a property’s incoming electricity supply and the wiring within the property.

With an increasing number of call-outs for Electricity North West’s cut-out department, the organisation needed a work management and scheduling system that would enable teams to operate efficiently and effectively. The solution would need to scale and add value through improved productivity, and help make sure the organisation was able to meet Ofgem’s RIIO regulatory goals.

In order to find the right partner, Electricity North West initiated a tender process, inviting companies to provide a scalable SaaS workforce management system that would deliver end-to-end work management, including the ability to book appointments, record contact attempts, track service level agreement metrics, give users mobile access and collect information for analysis by management. It would also need to integrate readily with Electricity North West’s existing systems.

Our solution

Our triOpsis workforce management system was the winning solution, being able to fulfil all the functional requirements while delivering cost-effective performance – a crucial factor considering the modest margins on cut-out work.

Given the pace at which the volume of cut-out work was increasing, rapid implementation was essential. As triOpsis is highly configurable, readily scalable and capable of rapid deployment, we were confident we could meet Electricity North West’s needs, and although we only had three months available from project inception through to full roll-out – including the migration of Electricity North West’s historic data – we proved ourselves equal to the task.

As triOpsis director, Andrew Hutt, explains: “We use what we call a hybrid agile method, which means we gave Electricity North West a working system on day one. Their schedulers and field users then gave feedback, and we turned round as many of the required changes as possible within just two or three days. We then handed the system back to the end users who gave us the next round of feedback, and so on. The system evolved quickly via these very rapid cycles.”

The triOpsis difference

Hitting the Electricity North West deadline was simply the start of our mission to help the organisation reap the rewards of using triOpsis.

triOpsis is a scalable, ‘no code’ SaaS platform that can be quickly configured to deliver an effective, tailored solution. By combining agile implementation methodologies with considerable sector expertise – triOpsis has been developed specifically for use in the utilities sector – we were able to get up and running on time and on budget.

As Martin Deehan, Operations Director North at Electricity North West, explains, “We set a stretch target for triOpsis. They delivered over and above target.”

Thanks to our iterative, agile approach, the triOpsis solution worked as required from day one. There were no issues when the system went live – and in the world of software implementation, that in itself is something of a triumph.

Andrew Hutt explains the immediate benefit for Electricity North West: “They got a stable, transparent system that allowed all their schedulers to log on without any issues and see the data clearly. It gave them immediate stability, visibility for all their planners to do what they needed to do, and they were GDPR compliant.”

“Beyond that,” continues Hutt, “they saw improvement in some very simple metrics. The immediate improvement they experienced was a 40% increase in the number of appointments they could book – and that was because the system simply worked.”

With triOpsis enabling Electricity North West to track performance against their regulatory service level agreement, the new system has also led to further benefits.

“They now have real-time visibility of what their engineers are doing in the field, which means they can resolve things faster for customers. Electricity North West are doing a better job for customers because their engineers are now on time more often, there are no pieces of paper to get lost, there’s no confusion on spreadsheets – all the information is on their mobile device. Productivity goes up, and customer satisfaction goes up too.”

Facing the future

For the triOpsis team, a project doesn’t end once the system has been rolled out. It is simply the beginning of a process that involves helping customers unlock more of triOpsis’s potential.

As Andrew Hutt explains, “As a software provider, we push continuous business improvement, so once the system has been implemented, the feedback process doesn’t stop. So in this case, we are constantly updating the system to meet Electricity North West’s requirements – a process of continuous improvement that’s driven by our customer’s needs.”

The triOpsis solution may well involve powerful software that makes a significant difference to the way that organisations like Electricity North West work, but at the end of the day, it’s the very personal approach that wins so many friends.

“We’re real human beings who turn up and solve clients’ problems,” says Hutt – because while the world may be driven by electricity, it’s relationships like these that make it go round.

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