How weather impacts field workforce management

By | 2 minute read | December 5, 2016

The effect of weather on business can’t be overstated. Weather has a $500B impact on the U.S. economy alone – accounting for nearly 80% of all electric grid disruptions and 70% of all flight delays. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, severe weather leads to production delays, higher operating costs and temporary closures.

For companies managing a field workforce — often dispatching workers to perform service at customer sites — snow, ice, rain and high winds can result in project delays or rescheduling. Having weather data integrated into their field workforce management (FWM) solution lets businesses tackle delays and reschedules more efficiently through smarter appointment booking and technician scheduling.

These three use cases illustrate the benefits of incorporating weather data into your FWM solution:

Smarter and safer maintenance planning with Maximo

A planner in an organization is responsible for a cell tower that is impacted by severe weather. In Maximo, the planner can proactively set key parameters around certain weather conditions with a “no-go” or an alternative job plan that will kick off in the event of bad weather. For a cell tower, high wind or storms should be avoided whenever possible; lightening must be strictly avoided. If this kind of weather occurs, Maximo Scheduler Plus will know based on integrated weather data, and search for work orders with this job plan to reschedule for “no-go” conditions. The new job plan will result in safer workers and more efficient operations.

More reliable appointment booking

The integration of weather data into your field workforce management solution lets customer service representatives proactively consider that data point when booking appointments. If, for example, work is to be done on a piece of outdoor equipment tomorrow, the FWM solution will know that the forecast calls for a major snow storm. This kind of weather integration helps cut down on cancellations and reschedules, leading to greater customer satisfaction and lower operating costs.

Real-time alerts and notifications

Real-time weather alerts let dispatchers ensure the safety of their crew and better utilize their resources based on real-time field progress. If severe weather hits, dispatchers can re-route the technicians to work in a safe area and reschedule the original work to a day or time that will be safer. This kind of streamlined approach not only ensures that workers are safe, it also helps utilize work crews more efficiently on other high priority work while also avoiding unnecessary fuel/travel and other operational costs.

To learn more watch our on-demand webcast on smarter scheduling with Maximo Scheduler Plus.

Visit our website to learn how IBM Watson IoT for Asset Management can help you transform your maintenance and asset management practices using IoT data, weather data and powerful, cognitive analytics.