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Tapping into the tribal knowledge of lineworkers

Technology is boosting electric utility network operations. But it hasn’t replaced the skills and knowledge of field workers, who know from experience how to access specific locations or the required tools for a given job. Many electric utility companies rely heavily on the combined experience of their unsung heroes, the lineworkers, to service the network and keep customers happy.


Capturing valuable knowledge

As networks become more complex, and adverse weather events increase, relying on tribal knowledge is no longer sustainable. It is more important than ever that key data does not retire along with lineworkers. Electric utility companies that can capture the valuable knowledge of their field staff will be far better placed to improve the quality of network data, ensure safety and deliver higher customer service levels.


Maximizing the tribal knowledge of field operatives can be viewed as a two-step process:

Step 1 – Collect and share tribal knowledge

Putting in place steps to capture and share tribal knowledge can be a real challenge with paper-based and siloed systems. Thankfully, modern mobile geospatial technology offers convenient means to consolidate legacy work practices into standard processes that leverage the experience of workers from across the utility. They also provide tools such as field notes, photos and videos that enable workflow flexibility in maintaining the model of the evolving grid. But capturing tribal knowledge is only half the story. It is essential that this knowledge is shared in near real-time with central staff and other field workers to remove the traditional lines between field and office.

Step 2 – Act on tribal knowledge

Modern mobile platforms also enable all stakeholders to improve both the speed and quality of decision making, sharing tribal knowledge for the benefit of all. This is all about driving broader insights with higher quality and more timely network asset data. This enables the proactive process improvements that ultimately lead to safer operations and happier customers.


Digitizing data collection 

Tribal knowledge is an important and often undervalued asset. Capturing and leveraging this knowledge was difficult in the paper-based past. Now, digital solutions offer an incremental way of capturing this elusive value and realizing its benefits more broadly across the organization.

Empowering electric utilities

To find out how electric utility companies are maximizing tribal knowledge with geospatial mobile technology, download our eBook 'Empowering electric utilities to transform their network operations’. Read insights from industry experts at Avangrid, Centrica, Duquesne Light, E.ON, Eversource, Jackson Electric Membership, Minnesota Power, Salt River Project, Vattenfall and more.




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Topics: Geospatial software, Utilities

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