Most co-op field workers have experienced the frustration of returning to the office to find a service order waiting for them at a location they have just been. That’s why Great Lakes Energy has installed a mobile workforce management (MWFM) system to help connect operations and field workers with supervisors and dispatch in real-time.

By replacing paper and radio with electronic communications, the new system reduces travel time through the use of GPS, updated maps, and is a fast way for office and field workers to exchange MISS DIG information, service orders, and member information.

The project began in early 2012, headed by Director of Information Technology (IT) Shaun Lamp and Director of Engineering Scott Blecke, and Clevest was selected as the best vendor, due to high user ratings and system flexibility.

The system runs on Dell Latitude laptops with touch screens installed in each vehicle.

Member Field Rep Brad Howe likes it because he covers 11 counties and is not as familiar with the territory as lineworkers. “I can click on a pole or transformer on the map and it takes me right to it,” he says. The topographical map display also shows areas of water, which makes it easier to plan an efficient travel route, and he can communicate by email from the laptop.

“By the time we are done, all departments will be impacted in one way or another,” Lamp reports. It will mean faster service to members, more accurate information for crews, access to a company-wide electronic map viewer, and the ability to track vehicles for dispatch and safety purposes.