Optimizing Utility Work Performance with Digital Tools

Utility workers in electric, water, oil, gas and telecommunications operate in extreme conditions. An important part of the job is keeping logs and collecting information regardless of the environment and reporting on this information to fill communication gaps and compliance requirements.


Workers crave efficiency and advanced work tools, however, they also desire reliability and durability. This is where digitized log keeping powered by a rugged device excels. By pairing these technologies together, workers can navigate harsh environments while utilizing digital solutions that enable new levels of performance.


To support utility workers, these digital solutions need to be simple, user-friendly and deliver on the following:


  • Keep accurate records: Operators are tasked with recording an array of information and events throughout a single shift. With secure, legible and compliant log keeping, entries and critical data can be collected and accessed in seconds. Entries can be emailed automatically to appropriate personnel to notify others of specific conditions, shift turnover, non-compliance or EHS reports. When completing rounds or inspections, capturing information in the field also helps track any trends or flag infrequencies that may appear.
  • Fill communication gaps: Finding and disseminating specific logbook information to various stakeholders needs to be easy and efficient. Anyone who has ever had to go back and manually sort through paper or spreadsheets knows it can be time consuming and laborious. However, companies can streamline this process with a good electronic logbook solution, quickly finding granular data or condensed summaries and automating them into sharable reports. Filling communication gaps between shifts, operators and management or catching up workers who have been off for an extended period of time can also be challenging. A robust electronic logbook solution can keep teams connected, even when they are apart. 
  • Meet regulatory requirements: Minimizing risk for utility workers and customers alike is of utmost importance. Utilities have numerous regulatory requirements to meet and they must document and report on their compliance with these requirements. A good log keeping solution can help satisfy various compliance reporting needs and significantly reduce the time and effort of doing so – ultimately promoting healthier conditions for all, while saving resources.


Emergency Preparedness


In emergencies, data collection tools must be able to withstand the elements and must be made available to workers quickly and efficiently. Workers need to log where there is property damage, injuries to people or incident investigations – and do so accurately. Often in emergencies, documentation and data collection are done onsite and without any Wi-Fi connectivity or power, requiring the deployment of a rapid application development (RAD) tool.


When Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® users leverage eLogger‘s Anywhere software, utility workers can continue making entries in the absence of WiFi or network connectivity. Even in emergencies, when the need for accurate data collection is heightened, workers can continue critical log keeping and data collection in the field by trusting the solution at their fingertips.


Combined benefits of a holistic log keeping solution


Bridging log keeping technology with the right mobile devices offers a reliable, holistic solution that utility workers can trust. By centralizing logbook data on a universal platform, information is available to those who need it, whether they are in the upstairs office, or across the country. There’s no need to walk to the control room to gain visibility into plant operations, for example.


A log keeping solution also helps utility operations standardize data sets to aid in reporting and allows workers to harness intelligent information for important decision making. Having easy access to current and historical data maximizes the potential for operators to positively impact operations, saving resources that can be used for other business needs – such as purchasing a new piece of equipment that increases efficiency, which will have a long-term impact on profit margin and competitiveness.


In the long run, correctly logged information will save time and cost of equipment, staffing hours and audit penalties, and help plan for upgrades and repairs to avoid costly outages and shutdowns. Further, a robust digital log solution can support broader company initiatives, including emergencies and business continuity efforts. 


As utilities continue to adopt new strategies for strengthening their preventative models and digital initiatives, combining mobile technology with a data collection and reporting platform offers a solution that can efficiently streamline tasks for workers and harness valuable information to mitigate risk and save resources.


To learn more about Panasonic’s solutions for utilities, visit us at https://na.panasonic.com/us/industries/energy-utilities/toughbook-public-utilities-solutions