UNITED UTILITIES PROFILE
United Utilities is responsible for providing the water and sewerage services for over 3 million customers in Northwest England, and a population of 7 million, making it the largest listed utility in the United Kingdom (U.K.).
Improve customer satisfaction ratings while reducing costs
United Utilities operates in a highly regulated environment where many of the key performance indicators (KPIs) measured by the regulators are customer service related. As with all utilities some of the key challenges for United Utilities are to continue to improve customer satisfaction ratings and KPIs while reducing costs and meeting investment targets.
To ensure that United Utilities was equipped to meet those challenges for the 21st century, United Utilities embarked on an ambitious program to upgrade their technology, systems, and business processes in a project known as Workforce Management (WFM).
One of the main goals of the project was to drive efficiencies in the business by standardizing business processes and systems across both the water and wastewater business. This required a complete overhaul of the current systems and processes from customer contact through fault and work management to implementation of a new mobile workforce management capability.
From a business process perspective some of the primary objectives of the WFM project were to significantly improve customer service and increase efficiencies in fault management.
How it came together
In concert with IBM, as the system integrator and SAP implementation partner, Trimble eRespond was integrated with the SAP CRM, SAP ECC, and SAP BI modules using standard interfaces.
The interfaces used a combination of integration technology, including SOAP-based web services, Trimble eRespond’s standard JMS adapter, and direct database connections.
United Utilities decided to create a complete model of their networks in eRespond using the tools within eRespond available for designing and managing a network model. Some utilities link eRespond to whichever system is master of their “as designed” network model data for this information.
The initial network model was created inside a period of four weeks.
Where eRespond made a difference
Improved event feedback. Customers get immediate feedback on the progress of events impacting them, as eRespondis used as a ‘service’ to provide real-time information to the call agent while the call is in progress. In addition eRespond provides information on the properties that will be affected by future planned events—allowing more efficient proactive communication.
United Utilities is the first water utility in the U.K. to implement a dedicated event management system, recognizing the benefits in terms of better event identification and improved situational awareness for their duty managers and schedulers. The sophisticated event management and monitoring features in Trimble eRespond support the duty managers in taking a more supervisory role during major incidents, allowing them to get out of ‘firefighting’ mode.
United Utilities operates in a highly regulated and scrutinized environment, and as a consequence expends significant amounts of time and money collating data for management and regulatory reports. Trimble eRespond has streamlined this activity in a number of key areas, including:
Improved Event and Incident Management. Better real-time update of customers affected significantly reduces labor hours spent researching and collecting accurate statistics for past events.
eRespond Flooding Register. This unique feature provides a register of vulnerable properties updated in real-time based on a system which combines direct field input and data verification in a seamless process.
The WFM project and Trimble eRespond were implemented on time and on budget to provide the systems framework for United Utilities to achieve their overall goal of becoming a world class utility. The new system landscape covered the full range of functionality from customer relationship management, event management, mobile workforce management, and regulatory reporting
United Utilities is now working as a fully integrated multi-utility reaping the benefits of standardization with Trimble eRespond at the heart of the solution.