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Case Study

PG&E saves money and increases efficiency with ProntoForms

Business Goal
  • Consolidation and improvement of records data
  • Streamline inspections and data collection
  • Available, timely and accurate mobile data
Outcome & Results
  • Significantly higher field user satisfaction
  • Inspected 1.2M meters in nearly half the estimated time
  • $1.5M in productivity savings in year one

The Challenge

Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people in a 70,000-square mile service area in California.

The company owns around five million meters across the state and performs thousands of field inspections each year. These inspections were typically completed on paper forms, then manually entered into Excel and an Access database back at the office. Reports were then manually delivered to management.

Meanwhile, a safety incident in 2010 spurred the company to improve its record-keeping processes. A product of several mergers throughout its more than 110-year history, PG&E's records were scattered across various offices, databases, and systems.

PG&E's strategy was to consolidate and integrate all its asset records, while ensuring field worker mobile readiness by providing instant connectivity to back-office systems, high-quality information, standards, and procedures in the field. This required a device-agnostic solution that could also work offline, and that could automatically send notifications in case a fix was needed.

But to do all this, the company realized it also needed to improve its mobile form capabilities. After evaluating several mobile options, including in-house and large enterprise solutions, ProntoForms stood out from the crowd.

 

The Solution

PG&E dramatically improved its record-keeping, while providing its approximately 1,200 field inspectors instant access to crucial information, by replacing its paper-based forms with smart mobile forms and workflows synced to the cloud.

When field inspectors are dispatched to a job site they now use their mobile device of choice to input data into smart mobile forms. The data is then automatically uploaded to the cloud. They also have instant access to large as-built files and other information on field asset specifications and procedures, which has helped the company meet and exceed compliance and safety standards.

The company was also able to leverage much of its existing data warehouse while incorporating the ProntoForms solution, which helped it save money while integrating all its data in one place.

 

The Benefits

PG&E was able to design its mobile forms, upload the data to the cloud, configure, test and deploy the solution in less than a month.

ProntoForms allowed PG&E to inspect and make data available on 1.2 million meters in just seven months - far ahead of schedule - while achieving $1.5M in savings that year thanks to more efficient billing, decreased machine downtime, and improved productivity.

It also helped improve field worker morale, with company officials describing user satisfaction as "off the charts" following the transformation to smart mobile forms.

As well, the company took advantage of improved records to recover some of the roughly $11M in physical damage sustained from second- and third-party digging mishaps.

"The ability to create a form that captures that information and generates a follow-up notification is really key," said Darby Brennan, PG&E's Manager of Gas Technology Strategy & Planning. "But more important is being able to capture really good information - being able to snap a picture of a valve and say 'we need to fix this.'"

 

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