Improving crew efficiency through innovative scheduling

A company reorganization required significant business process changes to Westar’s operations functions. Back to the CGI's success story with Westar Energy.

February 12, 2016

A company reorganization required significant business process changes to Westar’s operations functions. Back to the CGI’s success story with Westar Energy.

To accomplish this, the Power Delivery business unit created a Planning & Scheduling group as a single, seamless business function. The group defined future state processes, optimized manual procedures, and led an effort to review and implement new scheduling technology.

To optimize and review

The integrated Power Delivery organization was reorganized to oversee design, installation, operation and maintenance of all Westar Energy Power Delivery assets. Therefore, any scheduling solution would have to:

  • Interface with Work Management, Customer Service and Mobile Workforce Management;
  • Auto-schedule work based on rules developed by business units
    Work in manual or automatic mode;
  • Provide users with a quick, flexible and user-friendly technology
  • Schedule all customer service, meter work, distribution construction and maintenance work in one tool;
  • Scale to include high volume service-order work;

In addition, Westar Energy sought to gain a competitive advantage by centralizing its scheduling group. Its goal was to improve efficiencies throughout the organization and improve management of contractors.

The challenge

Westar Energy required a scheduling system to support a wide variety of work. Demand included high-volume, short-duration customer and maintenance orders as well as complex construction projects such as new asset installations and road moves.

The company’s existing procedures created work in two separate systems: customer service and work management. Most of its scheduling was manual, and the new Power Delivery organization included a variety of applications and numerous interfaces.

More importantly, Westar Energy’s field operation offices were all working independently. Several locations were utilizing contractors within their geographic area who were assigned to low-level maintenance jobs while waiting for the next major construction project.

CGI answer

Westar Energy created its scheduling work group to change the company’s approach and allow business process optimization to drive the Power Delivery organization. A project team assessed viable scheduling technologies and evaluated four vendors.

CGI proposed that Westar Energy implement Asset & Resource Management (ARM) Scheduler because it supported business process change and:

  • Provided a view of all distribution and custom service work and resources
  • Improved visibility of contractor work schedules
  • Delivered insight into scheduling and resource centric performance

A success story

After a three-month vendor evaluation, Westar Energy chose CGI’s ARM Scheduler. Today, the company has a global picture of its crews and contractors.

Westar Energy supervisors have seen significant benefits provided by the new scheduling organization. By removing the burden of operational management of the schedule, supervisors were able to focus on more effective management of the crews, as well as quality and safety-related activities.

Overall, Westar Energy has improved business processes and their operational culture with the scheduling implementation. The scheduling group has a global view of the work and resources for customer service and distribution. The company effectively achieves its operational work priorities and utilizes employees in an optimal manner. Westar Energy now has its competitive advantage.

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Westar Energy is the largest electric energy provider in the state of Kansas. Headquartered in Topeka, Westar employs approximately 2,400 people. Its energy centers in eight Kansas cities generate more than 7,100 megawatts of electricity and serve more than 700,000 customers over 35,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines.[/colored_box]

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