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Randolph EMC Utilizes Latest in iOS Technology for Field Inspections

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Monday, December 9th 2013

The Randolph Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) adopts GeoOrganizer, by GISbiz Inc., & streamlines field inspection workflow. Randolph EMC currently serves over 31, 000 consumer-members & their service area covers more than 4,100 miles of line across Randolph, Moore, Montgomery, Chatham, Alamance counties in North Carolina. Randolph EMC contacted GISbiz (, located in Nashville Tennessee, & an expert in geospatial & data conversion solutions, to implement a solution that would improve operations & customer service.  By addressing gaps & redundant steps created by their legacy paper based field inspection process, Randolph EMC determined they could end the inefficiencies created by managing countless spreadsheets, forms & phone call messages

Randolph EMC’s,VP of Engineering  &  Operations Dennis Mabe said, “Doing our O&M Survey for RUS (Rural Utilities Service) on paper records caused all sorts of issues we wanted to address. The main issue we were experiencing that this app resolved was that things would get called in or written on paper, but wouldn’t get fixed or they would get fixed, but there wasn’t a record of it.”

GISbiz rose to the challenge & implemented two of its geoOrganizer©solutions.  Together they streamline field inspection processes & improve data visibility across the entire enterprise. Randolph EMC’s solution consists of an iOS native application called geoOrganizer© FIT, that works natively on iPad, iPhone  &  iPodTouch devices. Itworks in concert with its web based executive dashboard application called geoOrganizer©DASH. DASH enables Randolph EMC to track the status of field inspection activities across all services areas & identify which employee created, worked on & completed each step of the workflow. GISbiz leverages the latest capabilities of ESRI ArcGIS Server & iOS SDK to deliver scalable & affordable solution built on an industry leading platform.

Illustration 1 shows four different work order type icons, color coded for quick reference. Supervisor tasks are orange, Technician, Red & Completed Field Inspections appear in green. Different map symbols represent different asset types.

One of the key differentiators in geoOrganizer© FITis its ability to work in “disconnected mode.” Because it’s a native iOS application, your field force can create & update work orders without an internet connection.  Once your field force has internet access, work orders are “synced” & key users are updated. 

Implementing geoOrganizer© FITimproves business intelligence as Dennis Mabe explained, “Having this app also helps us look up legacy information & recreate old problems & the resolution. This is especially handy in training & resolving new problems based off old experiences.”

GeoOrganizer© FIT improves communication between field inspection roles like those found at Randolph EMC, & many other electric utilities.  For example, workflow starts with a Field Inspector who identifies assets in need of repair or maintenance.  The Inspector creates work orders, makes notes, takes photos & assigns a level of criticality to each work order.  Once the Inspector accesses the internet, the “sync” function sends the work order to the Supervisor, decreasing the lag between the time the inspection takes place & the time the work can be assigned.

The Supervisor reviews notes & photos, adds notes & assigns the work.  When a Technician is notified of a new activities, they can access driving directions and begin the work. The Supervisor also has the option of completing work orders.

Illustration 2: Increase Data Integrity & Visibility
Work orders menus, configured to meet Randoph’s needs, automatically generate the appropriate list of selections for each process step. For example, when Work Order Type “Pole” is selected, the Condition choices for poles appears, eliminating rekeying, spelling errors & wasted time.

geoOrganizer© FIT, Dennis said, “Implementation of this app was very easy. 70% of my linemen were already taking iPhones / iPads into the field & they could use this app on those devices.”

The filter feature available in geoOrganizer© FITenablesusers mine data quickly & distill work orders by Asset Type, Status, Priority, District Served or Assigned Technician.

Illustration 3: Find Data Faster
The filter feature available in geoOrganizer© FIT enables users mine data quickly & distill work orders by Asset Type, Status, Priority, District Served or Assigned Technician.

Enterprise Intelligence & Improve Visibility geoOrganizer©DASH, an Operations Dashboard Web Application (Shown below) for tracking the status of field operations from the office enables Randolph EMC to monitor the location, status & details regarding work orders, blinks, non-pay accounts & outages across their entire service area. This level of business intelligence provides value to their consumer-members.   “With geoOrganizer© FITeveryone sees the asset that needs fixed & a line superintendent can notify a nearby crew to fix it. It saves us a lot of time & money that was wasted trying to find things based on pole number & paper records.” stated Dennis Mabe of Randolph EMC. 

Illustration 4: geoOrganizer© DASH

As GISbiz President Babu Krishnasamy described, “geoOrganizer© FIT& DASHsolutions are useful for any type of field inspections regardless of the industry. They combine the simplicity & familiarity of iPhones & iPads with industry leading GIS technology, making them an ideal choice for field operations teams who are looking to streamline their workflow, monitor operations effectively & avoid toting laptops or heavy tablet PCs".

For more information on this implementation, please contact Dennis Mabe at Dennis.Mabe@randolphemc.comor

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