The Client

This U.S.-based utility is a division of one of the Americas’ largest energy providers.

They operate more than 20,000 miles of electric and natural gas transmission and distribution lines.

They serve more than 3.5 million customers.

The Challenge

Recent rate-case disappointments, along with contractual increases in labor costs, catalyzed their quest for large-scale improvements and benefits.

Previous efforts had fallen short. High-profile, high-tech investments—including a costly outsourced “Center of Excellence” for robotic process automation—had
failed to find significant use-cases to automate.

Even a casual investigation revealed high levels of error corrections, scheduling issues, and excessive cancellations of work orders and projects.

A better, faster way

The team needed rapid analysis and discovery of large-scale, end-to-end (E2E) business processes, but lacked the time, tools, and expertise to create them.

Fortunately, The Lab’s world-leading library of utility templates showed this client that the entire operation could be mapped at the “nanoscale” activity level within a matter of weeks.

During the course of the ten-week analysis and discovery phase, The Lab documented more than 15 end-to-end business processes across the utility, from engineering and construction through customer service.

We put our database of utilities operations templates to work. These include industry-standard KPIs, process maps, benchmarks, best practices, automation “use cases,” and more.

Using our patented approach, we were able to document and analyze more than 85 percent of employee work activities (approximately two minutes each), while only requiring one hour per week of any subject matter expert’s (SME’s) time.

The Lab’s detailed analysis identified over 300 activity-level improvement opportunities. Our capacity models revealed opportunities to avoid or reduce costs—by over 30 percent in some areas.

Phase I Findings

The Lab identified opportunities for more than just cost saving. Benefits, aligned with the utility’s strategic objectives, also included safety, information security, compliance, and customer experience.

The Phase I analysis was translated into about a dozen workstreams for Phase II implementation, spanning:

• “Quick wins” (enterprise-wide)
• Analytics upgrades (enterprise-wide)
• Automation program acceleration (enterprise-wide)
• Dispatch job-cancellation reduction
• IT asset-management controls
• Fleet-management optimization
• Many more

The ten-month Phase II implementation effort consolidated 300-plus improvements into a self-funding implementation work plan. Examples:

1. Schedule and dispatch rework reduction. Avoidable work-order cancellations exceeded 30 percent, because the utility’s ERP system wasn’t configured to capture the root causes, leaving management flying blind. The Lab solved this issue, reducing cancellations by more than 50 percent over six months.

2. Analytics standardization and simplification. Despite having more than 300 reports, execs lacked the operational insights they craved. The Lab pinpointed the cause—ad-hoc reporting—and delivered a fix: Standard KPIs for each area, and ten new simplified, reconciled, automated management dashboards.

3. Automation program acceleration. Even after launching a costly automation “Center of Excellence” with a high-profile vendor, the utility only had one low-impact bot after 18 months. The Lab’s templates increased high-value RPA use-cases by tenfold, while decentralizing bot development.

These are just the highlights. Get more detail on this fascinating case study by reading the full version below.

Real Life Realized Financial Benefits for Executive Sponsors

Client: Top 15 Electric and Natural Gas Utility United States Project

Sponsor: Chairperson/CEO

Project Summary
• 10-week Analysis and Discovery
• 10-month Implementation
• Enterprise-wide scope

Project Scope
• Electric Operations
• Gas Operations
• Finance and Legal
• Customer Service
• Schedule and Dispatch
• Information Technology

Project Objectives
• Cost reduction/avoidance
• Automation acceleration
• Customer experience
• Safety/compliance
• Upgraded analytics

Implementation Results
• Operating expense: Down 12%
• Work order cancellations: Down 50%
• Automations launched: 35 (over 10 mos.)
• Break-even point: 5 months
• ROI (12 month): 6x

Learn more about how The Lab has been helping utilities for nearly 30 years; we invite you to schedule your free, no-obligation 30-minute screen-sharing demo.

You’ll learn more about our patented approach to Knowledge Work Standardization®. You’ll see actual E2E process maps and RPA bots in action. You’ll learn how we are able to do all this, remotely, from our U.S. offices in Houston, with nothing outsourced or offshored, ever. And you’ll get all your questions answered by our friendly experts.

Simply call (201) 526-1200 or email to book your demo today!


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