The Netherlands is a front-runner in the rollout of smart meters. These devices will help consumers and businesses gain greater insight into energy consumption and provide distributed network operators (DNOs) with advanced opportunities to optimize the maintenance of their network.

Stedin, a DNO based in Rotterdam, delivers electricity and gas to more than two million households and organizations. As the company began its new rollout of smart meters to its customer base, an increasing amount of fallouts resulted in their software systems – hindering the entire initiative.

 

The challenge

A rollout to millions of customers is never an easy task. And this project was made even more complex by the fact that the supporting systems were being utilized for far more than originally designed. The systems had been built for the sole purpose of acquiring meter data – but were also required to send that data to installers out in the field for scheduling and coordinating customer appointments.

 

As the project scaled up daily, Stedin saw that the frequency of fallouts was increasing as well, putting a stop to the automated processing of customer requests and communications. Each system error had to be resolved manually, which required the company to hire an entire team of contractors to handle. The fallout eventually prevented the company from reaching its daily meter installation targets.

 

The solution

To resolve the problem, SIG conducted an in-depth analysis of the chain of systems underlying the rollout: the initial entry point via an off-the-shelf back-office system; two custom- built software systems; the field service management system, and finally, the application on the handheld devices of the installers in the field.Based on the systematical analyses of the process ow as well as both the interfaces and sources of the systems, SIG was able to pinpoint the technical failures and make specific recommendations to prevent future fallouts.



”SIG’s recommendation enabled us to minimize the fallout, which resulted in termination of the contract staff hired to manually fix the issues.”

– Rob Martens, Program Manager, Stedin

The impact

Stedin program manager, Rob Martens, explains the benefits SIG delivered during the assignment, “The SIG analysis helped us regain control. SIG’s recommendations enabled us to minimize the fallout, which resulted in termination of the contract staff hired to manually x the issues. That allowed us to reallocate our resources back to align with our strategic objectives. Great work by SIG!”

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