Cost. The dirtiest word in clean energy—especially with operations and maintenance (O&M) costs set to rise globally to $17 billion in 2020 in the wind industry.
Part of saving on O&M costs means taking a look at the inefficient processes that skilled workers are doing as part of O&M procedures to optimize their time. A recent survey by Accenture revealed that the biggest opportunity to improve O&M performance is in the deployment of digital technologies, including mobile software for the field.
Mobility is absolutely crucial in running efficient field-to-office operations and can also contribute to lowering costs by saving time that can be reinvested in more productive tasks. If some of those tasks can be automated, your company can be a productive powerhouse.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) implemented workflow automation to comply with policies and training requirements for their large-scale field teams. The global energy giant optimized workflows across 18 countries with more than 2,000 users, reducing costs spent on manual processes and ensuring cross-departmental quality control. SGRE was able to unify the document management process (such as storing, distributing, editing, and collecting documents) for technicians working both on and offshore. It also decreased the time required for training and now has the benefit of being able to send training manuals and sign-off documents from field-to-office in real-time.
But what about solar? Shining a light on costs in solar energy reveals many of the aforementioned challenges. Mobility in the field has shown yet again to be one of the major keys to success, especially when combined with process automation.
Soltage, an independent domestic solar power producer, automated its asset management process to ensure energy infrastructure reliability. The company used cost-effective, cloud-based strategies to increase the number of assets under management by almost 60%, and the number of megawatts under management by nearly 130%. Soltage carefully chose a workflow management solution to support its future growth and continue to prove return on investment. Automation also enabled the company’s field workers to optimize time spent on reliability checks and monitoring by being able to remotely access any necessary information that could then be cross-referenced with its checklists.
Workflow automation logically streamlines document flows. This helps teams to work more efficiently, reduce O&M costs, and lead the way to significant economies of scale. With the right process management system in place, renewable energy companies can continue to scale and evolve beyond the question of cost.
—Jen Butler is a content marketer at Fluix. Fluix is a mobile-first, document workflow management software that connects field and office teams. It’s never been easier to digitize, automate, and transform processes.