Road Report: WEI Operations Leaders Must Stop Using Band-aids to Solve Big Problems

Western Energy Institute (WEI) Operations Conference

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a wide range of business leaders at the Western Energy Institute (WEI) Operations Conference in Vancouver. I was surprised by their diverse backgrounds, which spanned across wind, solar, gas pipeline, hydropower, power distribution, and service providers. Conversation after conversation, it quickly became clear that each attendee expressed the exact same pains. Even though their businesses were vastly different, an operations executive in the gas pipeline sector and a solar panel installation VP shared similar operational roadblocks.

Here are the top three symptoms I heard from attendees:

  1. Project delays
    If your company can’t stay on time, you can’t grow your business. Attendees mentioned delays caused by manual data entry and re-entry, relying on multiple spreadsheets managed by numerous users, and using emails to share important data that was often lost or buried. The thought of being assessed tens of thousands of dollars when deadlines are missed was mind-boggling.
  2. Safety concerns and compliance
    Attendees shared their current processes around safety were reactive and bogged down by miscommunications. They weren’t effectively tracking employee certifications or safety inspections, which led to an increase in at-risk behavior and even on-site injuries. Being in the highly-regulated energy and utilities industry, the thought of fines, audits, and inspections keep them up at night.
  3. Quality control issues
    Everyone mentioned that ensuring quality was a major issue, from the speed and accuracy of inspections to fixing incorrect work, damaged materials or faulty equipment. Attendees reported that quality was key to securing project sign-offs, getting paid for the work, and securing repeat or new contracts.

With so many managing large teams and multiple projects spanning different time zones and remote areas, attendees couldn’t even imagine what a holistic solution would look like for their teams. They had tried point solutions but those had fallen short. As my colleague shares in his blog, “Why Point Solutions Don’t Cut It” when folks try to solve each symptom with a band-aid or an off-the-shelf point solution, the other issues only get worse because so many of them are interconnected.

Their ideas for solving these problems? They wanted a way to collect information in the field (even in areas without cell phone service); trigger workflows to quickly move projects along, apply fixes, and mitigate safety risks; identify areas (employees, suppliers, etc) where improvements could be made; and quickly pull up-to-date reports for audits and compliance.

We built TrackVia with the ability to solve these problems no matter what the use case. Like a ball of clay, TrackVia can be molded and expanded to address multiple types of problems and connected them as needed. How do we do that? TrackVia is a low-code workflow platform that allows companies to build fully customizable web and mobile applications using drag and drop functionality including fields, forms, reports, dashboards and roles to fit your exact data requirements as well as workflow and automation needs.

Our energy and utility customers like KS Industries, RP Construction Services, and Danella Companies have experienced tremendous improvements in on-time delivery, cost reductions, and safety and quality. If your business struggles with the impacts of manual processes, TrackVia can help you digitize your operations and accelerate your business.

What are your top three pains today? I’d love to hear about them.

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