Coping with the Everyday and Unforeseen for Utility Companies

Posted by Ashley Little on November 10, 2015

When "Business as Usual" is Anything But: Coping with the Everyday & the UnforeseenLarge-scale growth. A boom in the housing market that requires many poles be erected or cable laid. Disaster. Weather. That day when all the utility poles in the field seem to age into maintenance issues at once.

There are a lot of unexpected things that may occur which suddenly tax your business’s internal resources. These special circumstances fall outside the realm of "business as usual," so it’s understood they are potentially once-in-a-while occurrences. Tasks intermittently pile up, resource contention briefly becomes an issue, work increases, any overdue work issues are resolved and then everything goes back to normal and everyone returns to day-to-day tasks.

So what happens if business as usual itself is regularly taxing a company’s ability to operate efficiently and effectively? What if the normal tasks of running an operation create continual resource contention? It happens – and that's an issue for your business. Why does it occur and how can you remedy the issue? Read on.

The Why

Resources – time, man (and woman) power, money – are finite things in any business. In the joint use world, the real issue is the ability of your company to effectively manage infrastructure and maintenance needs at once. Companies often have a hard time balancing the work required to keep service delivery systems running smoothly and strictly operational tasks that take up time and people-power day to day. Simply put, it takes skill and foresight to find the right level and mix of construction resources – internal and contractor – to deal with all infrastructure construction and maintenance needs simultaneously. 

The Solution

Finding balance between business expansion, service reliability and system integrity would seem to require expert-level juggling, but what organizations really need is a process or system designed to do two things well: coordinate available resources – scheduling and assigning the right tasks to the right people to maximize resources – and prioritize work – putting the correct "first" things first based on the goals and needs of your company and customers.

An Example

With our nation’s hunger for broadband internet service pushing companies to deploy fiber faster and faster, the resources to complete the job are often the same resources needed to accomplish more mundane and persistent tasks such as utility pole transfers. Contractors may prefer to string fiber than transfer equipment (the revenue difference is pretty significant), but pole owners may see the need differently, as they struggle to maintain service and keep relationships with attachers healthy. The disconnect is obvious – each company has different goals. Finding that balance between availability and priority is vital in making sure the companies involved stay healthy and customers stay happy.

Learn more ways to get organized and stay one step ahead of surprise tasks with our info-packed 10-step tip sheet.

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