The Right Tools Make Mobile Workers' Jobs Easier, Safer

Many tools are available to help linemen and mobile workers more efficiently perform their jobs. The utility industry's mobile workforce is highly visible, traveling in their familiar trucks.

Mar 1st, 2012
2011 04 Up John Tabor

Many tools are available to help linemen and mobile workers more efficiently perform their jobs. The utility industry's mobile workforce is highly visible, traveling in their familiar trucks. As contributing editor Paul Hull's feature article, "Tools for Mobile Workers" points out in this issue, a mobile workers' truck is his or her office. Everything needed for a fast, safe and efficient job is carried in the vehicle. As workers have become more mobile, tools and communication technologies have improved. Laptops, computers and tablets are now widely used, and, because they are likely to be dropped, knocked or treated roughly, there are products available that will withstand seven-foot drops to concrete while they are operating and submersion in liquid for up to half an hour. Also presented are various hand tools, the importance of keeping the hands safe that hold them and effectively organizing the tools in the vehicle.

Another great feature article, "Three Trends Putting Mobile Workers in the Driver's Seat" by Scott Dutton, discusses how utility companies are trying to remove mobile workforce inefficiencies that hinder service, customer satisfaction and productivity. Today there is a range of innovative, easy-to-use tools that field technicians can use to achieve these goals-smart phones, appointment notification automation and vehicle area networks-empowering them to solve problems on the spot.

Also in this issue is Bill Docca's "Keeping Maps and Systems up to Date Helps Cooperatives Keep the Lights on." Read how one cooperative accomplished a primary goal for work order management to streamline the engineering department's duties from design to implementation, integrating all information technology (IT) systems and processes so any input into one system would update all other enterprise systems. The co-op, which prides itself on being one of the most advanced in the country with its integrated global positioning system (GPS), geographic information system (GIS), and staking and work order processing software, achieved its goal with GeoDigital Solutions' StakeOut software. StakeOut allowed the co-op to maximize the efficiency and accuracy of its staking operations and unify all systems.

The Utility Products Conference & Expo (UPCE) is also highlighted in "UPCE 2012, The Latest Products and More Showcased in San Antonio." If you were unable to attend, you will find an overview of the conference sessions, exhibitor specialties, networking opportunities and keynote speakers.

This issue of Utility Products also offers informative product focus articles, some of which will help you better track and manage fleet operations, expedite Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement, structurally rehabilitate utility poles, improve operational visibility, improve fleet safety with biobased products and find the right tablet for your applications.

Regards,
John Tabor
Associate Editor
johnt@pennwell.com

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