Book Signing Event at El Torito, Dana Point, California. See you there!
In plain words an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a central database system that houses financial, human resources, material, schedule, regulatory and work orders information about the capital and operational expenditures (capex and opex) of a company. It has various modules that display that information in a fashion that is suitable for various departments, functions and levels of an organization. An ERP system today is a crucial tool for utilities to bring greater visibility to the workflows, resource availability, productivity levels, stakeholder commitments and asset management. Access to good data leads to better decisions. Utilities have all kinds of useful and important data about their people, projects, asset health, contractors, facilities, inspection and maintenance, connection requests, regulatory commitments and documents.
Today, utility asset managers can have access to higher quality “realtime” data. For instance, with mobile devices with barcode scanners technicians can record and tag the results of equipment maintenance and test result so their values can be tracked against acceptable norms to flag any abnormalities that may warrant further inspection. If this information can be monitored and tracked for all major or critical equipment, then at any time there’s a good indication of enterprise wide assets health. With data at fingertips it is easy to start looking for patterns such as assets nearing end of optimal useful life before reliability metrics start being impacted or risk of costly catastrophic failure start becoming unacceptable resulting in long-term operational savings.
Utilities are trusted with a responsibility to provide a standard service at a regulator approved rate, without a right to refuse anyone, with expectations for the highest levels of public safety and reliability of service. That makes us conservative by nature, I get it. But that’s no excuse to be complacent, hiding behind the shadow of greater responsibility and walls of regulation, thinking that we have too many constraints to innovate. Hoping that our business model will continue to deliver value for our customers, the shareholders and the stakeholders.
Utilities are at a crossroad today and they need to decide whether they are going to evolve to become more innovative on their own initiative or are they going to be forced by customer pressure through political will and regulators or be taken-over by the non-utility competition.