3 Dispatching Challenges You Can Overcome with Cloud
Leaders and field staff will always agree: dispatching is time-consuming.
Equipped with clipboards, paper, and post-its, field crews make the rounds collecting samples and performing other duties while manually recording what they find, only to then enter that data later on—sometimes even days after.
This is a drain on time, resources, and it invites room for error into plants' operations.
One of the greatest opportunities for improving compliance and optimizing workflows is to leverage a centralized data management system like Rio or WIMS for water and wastewater treatment plants, laboratories, or industries.
Using mobile apps like Rio provided even greater operational efficiencies by allowing remote data collection, data validation to catch mistakes, and access insights from the field. Modern software solutions are easy-to-use and empower field teams to add and access data remotely.
So what are the most common dispatching challenges and how can cloud software help?
Mistakes happen – between data errors, misplacements, and duplicates, there are many human discrepancies that can impact daily rounds and reporting—then trickling down to affect budget and compliance.
Mobile apps give field crews the ability to collect, report, validate, and access data in real-time from the field. That means no more clipboards, papers, and post-its, all of a facility's data can be aggregated into a single secure source of truth that sync between the app and database
Predetermined validation parameters like specific exceedance Iimits, integrated data sources like laboratory results and SCADA, and automated remote workflows like contextual notifications and audit trails can all play a crucial role in reducing errors and sustainably improving the plant’s data quality to make regulatory reporting easier, faster, and less stressful.
New York wastewater treatment plant Penn Yan made the move from paper to digital in early 2022, citing troubleshooting issues as one of their main motivators.
Their operators were tracking data such as pH, dissolved oxygen, suspended solids, temperature, etc, across paper sheets that they would later enter into Excel manually. With their new software, Penn Yann can now integrate electronic lab transfers, pull data from instruments, and dispatch field personnel, empowering them to capture field data on-site with a connected mobile device. Alerts can be set to notify operations with in-app notifications and email if a parameter setpoint has been exceeded.
We were chasing data all over the place in multiple spreadsheets which made it very hard to troubleshoot issues and difficult to see long-term trends.
2. Wasted Time
- Time lost manually collecting and inputting data
- Time lost validating data
- Time lost waiting for information
- Time lost with duplicate data entry
- Time spent like Penn Yann used to: chasing data and pulling it into reports
Not to mention time spent replacing and repairing assets that could’ve been saved through proactive monitoring. All this wasted time compounds and place significant drain on utility’s already stretched resources.
So how can mobile data collection and the cloud help?
The simple answer is automation. Rather than replace a utility's data, it pulls together all data sources, centralizes them, visualizes them, and then creates automated workflows and dashboards so that personell don't have to go looking through digital files and cabinet files — they’ll have access to the right data anytime, anywhere.
Less time spent on manual data entry, troubleshooting, and chasing bench sheets means freeing time for proactive monitoring, strategic planning, and deeper investigations into commonly occurring maintenance challenges.
Discover additional ways to save time and money by digitizing data at the source and centralizing everything into a single-source-of-truth. Teams can proactively monitor chemical dosing, optimize asset usage to extend its lifecycle, and speed up knowledge sharing across shift-changes. The savings transform from minutes to weeks, into overall budget savings that extend across the plant.
Having data Prioritization is the natural result of data reliability and accessibility. If your team trusts the data, and that data is centralized to automate alerts when assets are in critical status, and your team has visibility on all alerts, then your team will be empowered to action on it.
But data accessibility isn’t just about the field crew — it’s also about streamlining shift changes and making sure chief operators have a complete and immediate understanding of the utility’s operations.
Operators can leverage the cloud to request data from the field crew, and that data can then be fed into a unified interface remotely. One unified, data is centralized and visualized for easy analysis. This means more visibility across the utility, into noncompliance issues, and into how best to maximize the utility’s budget.
With more accessible data, your team can change strategies from reactive to proactive to better protect your utility’s infrastructure, investments, and community.
We are now more predictive – we can avoid some problems and investigate others quickly and easily, so we understand how to fix them in the future.
Access Information Anytime, Anywhere
Experienced technology partners like Aquatic Informatics have seen it all before and can help you ensure compliance and drive efficient operations across your utility.
To learn more, check out our webinar on deploying digital twin strategies or get in touch directly for a demo.