Vetasi’s annual Utilities Roundtable was held virtually this year. We found ourselves in a similar situation as all other event organisers because we couldn’t meet face-to-face, Vetasi moved the major utilities event to an online platform and a series of shorter webinar sessions: The Vetasi Utilities Webinar Series.
This brought the yearly event to a much larger audience, and what an incredible turnout we had from more than 15 countries, over 180 registrations where we were addressing various utility industry challenges and learning from the top global leaders in asset management, artificial intelligence application, situational awareness, and so much more across various industries. Our goal has been and continues to be to help our customers and the larger utility community achieve their goals.
Having recently concluded this Vetasi Utilities Webinar Series, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the great insights and experiences that have been shared from IBM, our partners and customers.
Global utility industry challenges: beyond asset management
The challenges the utility industry, and the world in general, face are well known and obvious. Extreme weather caused by climate change, population growth and scarcity of resources dominate the agenda, and will continue to do so.
Government policy dictates the response to that. These policy drivers are then channelled through the various bodies ranging from the National Infrastructure Commissions to industry regulators and environment agencies, all the way to the utility companies themselves. They all recognise that innovation and supply chain collaboration are essential to the point where regulators are increasingly incentivising it, and this webinar series along with our roundtable events were devised specifically to stimulate that. The goal was to offer pan and cross industry learning possibilities, to share ideas, innovations, successes, and failures for the greater good of the utilities community, not just for the UK, but globally.
Vetasi was extremely fortunate to welcome a fantastic line-up of presenters for the webinars, including many global leaders in the field of asset management. The webinar series clearly resonated with many utility professionals, with around 180 registrants from all over the world.
Around 180 registrants from all over the world
IBM Asset Performance Management for energy and utilities Terry Saunders, the Worldwide Utilities Leader at IBM opened his session explaining how Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Asset Performance Management (APM) and Asset Investment Planning (AIP) are inextricably linked, and how enterprise visibility of asset criticality, health and risk form the foundations of effective work execution in EAM, effective decision support in APM, and how each interact and feed into AIP for effective long term capital investment planning. Jim Crosskey and John Douglas both Senior Product Managers for the Maximo Application Suite (MAS) then focussed in on the specific areas of MAS that bring the capability to which Terry referred and combine to help provide more resilient utilities of the future.
Digital twins: a success story from a manufacturing giant
Dave Penrith, the former Global Chief Engineer of Unilever, was another pivotal speaker.
Dave described how he used technology from another industry (Oil & Gas) to create a Digital Twin solution for the manufacturing industry, which he rolled out to 60 factories while achieving Gartner Supply Chain Master status along the way. This demonstrated how technology can be used to improve operational effectiveness while also assisting in achieving environmental goals.
It is a truly impressive example of what can be accomplished in a short period of time and on a large scale.
There are numerous examples of digital twin stories in utilities in the UK, but they can and did learn from the numerous lessons Dave shared with us during his presentation and Q&A session.
Situational Awareness – Predicting network failures & managing them
Ben Wilson and James Tyreman of Affinity Water, a Vetasi customer, gave a fantastic presentation on optimizing your network assets and field force.
Affinity Water created a Situational Awareness tool to allow for more effective field work control. They used integrated asset systems, data, and algorithms to monitor and predict network performance to identify potential issues before they occur. Also allowing for an effective response to identified problems or unexpected events, such as a severe weather event.
Making sense of scheduling solutions
Tony Turner, Projects and Innovations Director at Vetasi described our experience with a wide range of scheduling solutions available on the market including IBM Scheduler and many other third-party party solutions. Tony identified the appropriate solution options for the typical use cases we come across and why no one solution meets every scheduling requirement. He also touched on how the move optimised dynamic scheduling, where appropriate, needs to be considered carefully to ensure success.
Optimised scheduling, in my opinion, represents a huge improvement area for many utilities, not only for increased productivity but also for meeting sustainability targets.
This presentation reflects our decades of experience in the Enterprise Asset Management world, but it has also allowed us to make informed decisions about who we are willing to introduce our customers to.
As a result, we provided this platform for a user demonstration of the Fast Lean Smart (FLS) Visitour optimised scheduling product with great confidence. In my opinion optimised scheduling represents a huge improvement area for many utilities, not just for increased productivity but also in achieving sustainability targets. Our decades of experience in the Enterprise Asset Management world is evidenced in this presentation, but it has also allowed us to make informed decisions about who we are willing to introduce our customers to. So, it is with a high degree of confidence that we provided this platform for a user demonstration of the Fast Lean Smart (FLS) Visitour optimised scheduling product.
Stephen Doyle, Operations Development Lead at British Engineering Services (BES), shared his experiences with FLS Visitour. BES provide engineering-based inspection, testing and reporting services to a wide range of industries including utilities. In doing so, their challenge is to manage 450 field-based staff performing many inspections and test per day in multiple locations.
It is an excellent example of how businesses can make a significant transition from a manual situation into the optimised scheduling world in a short space of time, and in doing so simultaneously improving customer satisfaction, productivity and reducing mileage and therefore CO2 emissions. It wasn’t a straightforward journey, there were bumps along the way and so Stephen outlined many learning points from their experience.
With the completion of our recent webinar series and the facilitation of numerous previous face-to-face roundtables, I am proud to say that Vetasi is demonstrating through our actions that we are doing our part in assisting the industry in responding to urgent industry and broader global challenges.
If you missed any of the sessions, they are all available to replay on the platform, so please feel free to re-visit or register on our virtual conference platform at www.vetasi.online to do so.
Alternatively reach out to me, Bernie Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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