Utility tools: Software gives utilities clarity about availability of contract crews
Utility supplies: ARCOS Resource Assist Software is a new addition to the company’s Resource Management platform. It clarifies and automates the often manual process of determining the number of available contractors and equipment for restoring utility services and securing commitments for these resources, especially during major events.
Utility suppliers: ARCOS has released a software solution called Resource Assist™ – a new addition to its Resource Management platform – that clarifies and automates the often manual process of determining the number of available contractors and equipment for restoring utility services and securing commitments for these resources, especially during major events.
Resource Assist replaces a utility’s myriad handmade spreadsheets, phone calls, texts and emails with real-time data including a contract crew’s make-up, location, availability and contact information. The solution automates requests for contract crews and the process by which contract crews become available within a utility company’s ARCOS platform.
“On average a utility looks to about 20 contract companies for restoration assistance,” says Matt Mikula, senior director of Product Management at ARCOS. “When managers face an event, they begin an hours-long, manual and bulky process to reach contractors and verify who can assist with restoration. For events like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, contractors and utility crews number in the tens of thousands.
“With Resource Assist, outreach and reporting literally happens with the click of a button from a laptop or mobile device; RA is a high value restoration assistance tool,” adds Mikula.
As a utility plans for a forecasted storm, managers can use Resource Assist to request the desired number of crew types and confirm their availability with a few keystrokes. Along the way, Resource Assist provides Notifications and Alerts to approved users, ensuring key information is waiting for them.
Contractors respond to utility requests via their own portal within Resource Assist. Once there, contractors can view where all their resources are, respond to utility requests, input information about their crews, pre-build their crews and even swap crew members in the event a worker with a particular skill is needed elsewhere or becomes sick. Since updating Resource Assist is an electronic process, any changes contractors make become immediate updates for any utility using the solution.
For contractors not yet in Resource Assist, a utility can still use it to document phone or email requests, allowing utilities to standardize on one process and tool. Utilities can invite their contractors to participate directly, via an integrated connection request and invite system. Resource Assist captures all relevant request data along the way and identifies trends, crew status and data for reconciling invoices.
“When regional outages spawn mutual assist events, RMAG governance takes over and Resource Assist supports a utility in identifying crews to offer the RMAG via output in a Common Roster,” adds Mikula. “If supported, utilities can import the Common Roster to other tools the RMAG uses, or Resource Assist can integrate via web services. Resource Assist does not overlap with the RMAG process.”
About ARCOS LLC
ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering resource management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and resource management daily and during emergencies, ultimately helping to restore energy faster, yet safely, to communities. The award-winning solution helps utilities save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction. Learn more about ARCOS resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com. ARCOS CallOut® and ARCOS Crew Manager® are registered trademarks of ARCOS LLC.