The Electrical Safety Authority’s challenge: optimizing visits by inspectors over a vast area
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is responsible for the safety of electrical installations in Ontario, Canada’s most densely populated province with almost 15 million inhabitants. This not-for-profit corporation’s mission is to promote public safety by verifying the compliance of electrical installations and raising awareness of potential electrical harm.
Around 300 ESA inspectors are on the road daily visiting households and businesses to perform inspections. These checks to ensure conformity with the government standards require at least three visits per site, adding up to more than 450,000 visits annually.
With a surface area of over 400,000 square miles, Ontario is one of the most geographically diverse provinces, ranging from major metropolitan areas to isolated rural zones. Inspectors have to contend with variable road quality and weather hazards, and sometimes spend hours on the road between sites.
Faced with these constraints, inspection schedules frequently need to be reorganized, sometimes at the last minute. ESA had been using a planning tool developed in-house, which was reaching its limits. Since it was only available in a desktop version, inspectors could not fully benefit from it in the field, and its architecture was approaching obsolescence. ESA therefore began looking for a new, easy-to-use planning solution, to meet its needs for smart navigation, journey optimization and work schedules, as well as dynamic risk and constraint management.
NOMADIA’s response: TourSolver
Following a request for proposals, ESA chose NOMADIA’s TourSolver. “Our inspectors gave us a long list of desired features, and TourSolver met all these requirements, and more: the customer communication features in particular were a decisive factor,” said William Barrett RSE, ME, General Manager, Operations Planning and Support at ESA. “The fact that Gartner has positioned NOMADIA and its solutions in its Magic Quadrant and Market Guide further testifies to its reliability.”
TourSolver is a SaaS route optimization solution which enables ESA easily to plan inspectors’ journeys, and to re-optimize them on the fly, a crucial capability should hazards necessitate rapid rescheduling in the field. The real-time monitoring feature is also critical in emergency situations.
Each inspector now has both desktop and mobile access to the solution. With the mobile app, routes and electrical installation information are sent directly to inspectors for real-time use in the field. At the end of each visit, they can directly schedule the next one within the tool while still with the customer. Thanks to the solution’s intuitive interface, implementation across ESA has been rapid.
Optimisation of resources for improved public safety
TourSolver is a time saver for ESA’s operational and IT departments. Its powerful optimisation algorithms save inspectors precious minutes on each call. According to William Barrett, “The 10-15 minutes gained enable us to cut costs and boost productivity. Also, our IT teams no longer need to spend time and effort supporting the former in-house software.” Now that the inspection call planning process is more flexible, ESA can concentrate on what matters: making electrical infrastructure safer for the welfare of the people of Ontario.
The inspectors who were using the previous system have welcomed the new tool, which adapts perfectly to their often-unpredictable daily regime. ESA’s business customers who manage electrical installations also reap the rewards of optimization. They appreciate being informed by text message of the inspection’s approximate time, thanks to the solution’s sophisticated communication capabilities. The inspections go more smoothly, thereby improving the customer relationship.
“We appreciate NOMADIA’s close involvement in this project, which has been scoped to meet our business needs. Their teams collaborated closely with us to design a genuinely custom-made version of Opti-Time TourSolver,” said William Barrett.
In its quest for continuous optimization, ESA is also considering reorganizing its geographical inspection sectors to optimize team workloads in the field. For such a project, it could turn to a territorial segmentation solution like NOMADIA’s Territory Manager.