Utility managers know more than most about the high cost of wasted energy.
Not electrical energy. Human energy.
So when it comes to helping their employees work faster and with less wasted effort, utility managers familiar with the software of TerraSpatial Technologies are quick to sing its praises.
Tom Bushman, electric utility director for Two Rivers Water & Light in Wisconsin, says TST’s integrated Mapworks and Plantworks products help his utility reduce the errors that occur any time someone has to manually move numbers from one file to another.
Bushman has been a customer and a partner in helping TerraSpatial evolve its software. From his historical overview, the benefits now are enormous.
“We were one of few utilities that tried to use as much of the software as we can, from inventory, to purchasing, to our CPR, to mapping and work order analysis,” he says.
To illustrate, he tells how TerraSpatial’s software automatically adjusts the utility’s continuing property record. Out goes the old, in comes the new.
“When you do a work order, and when it’s complete and closed out, the TST software automatically retires the old equipment from the CPR for the year of its original installation,” he says.
“So if you put a pole in 1926, and a crossarm in 1964, it will automatically replace separate elements with the new parts.”
At the staking and bidding end, software-driven accuracy leads to more competitive estimates.
Dennis Bednarski remembers how it used to be, before Oconomowoc Utilities embraced the full power of software from TerraSpatial.
“You had to look up part numbers,” he says. “You had to guess the labor costs.”
He says unified plant management through use of TST’s Mapworks and Plantworks gave his people two key advantages:
“With a few key strokes, you can complete an estimate in one-tenth the time it used to take,” he says.
Using TerraSpatial to stake out a job, an engineer can select assemblies and subassemblies rather than the individual parts that comprise them. Those construction units aggregate all the component costs, plus the historical average cost of installing the assembly.
“In the old days, with human nature, you’re always planning for the worst,” Bednarski says. “You end up giving estimates that are so much higher than the actual costs.
“Our goal is to be within 5 percent of actual, and with TerraSpatial, we can do that.”
“By guess and by gosh” just won’t cut it in today’s world, he says.
“If our costs are high, the customer may overbid and lose the job,” Bednarski says. “We could not have gotten within that 5 percent target without TST tools.
“It just allowed us to be more efficient.”