Responding to after-hours alarms on assets is not only costly, it also has an impact on individuals responding to the call-outs. 

An innovative project by our water team has demonstrated how by harnessing technology and data, we can reduce the number of after-hours call outs - delivering cost savings, improving safety and letting our maintenance teams hit the snooze button when that early morning alarm goes off.  

This innovation was a finalist at the 2022 Australian Water Association Victorian annual awards.

The project found both financial and wellbeing benefits. From a financial perspective the project identified a forecast saving of 9% of the total cost of servicing alarms if the alarms priorities were changed (based on historical data over a 12-month period). When looking at the cost of out of hours expenses, the team found there was a 21% forecast saving on the total out of hours alarm servicing cost (based on historical data over a 12-month period). 

 

Ventia employee inspecting a water asset

An innovative project by our water team has demonstrated how we can reduce the number of after-hours call outs by harnessing technology and data.

 

The challenge

Responding to every to 'critical' SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) alarms after-hours comes with a financial cost as well as a downstream impact to resourcing the following day. In a number of cases these SCADA alarms end up being for issues that are not urgent and can be managed through regular maintenance activities during the workday. 

Wanting to investigate this further, our water team in Melbourne assessed historical data associated with after-hours SCADA alarm call outs. The team assessed the benefits of changing SCADA alarm priorities where critical call outs were deemed not necessary with the goal to determine the volume and cost of unnecessary after-hours work due to alarming priorities.

The outcome of the project has provided a great example of how by taking a different approach to reading data, new insights can be generated that can have a profound impact on how a team approaches its work. 

The data showed that that 32% of servicing cost was found to be from alarms that do not need immediate attention and that 365 hours of rostered shifts that were cancelled due to late night call outs could have been saved. 

 

Ventia vehicle attending to a water site

Ventia vehicle attending to a water site.

 

The solution

The project involved taking data that was already being captured through existing systems but then applying a new way of analysing it and determining if there was a better way to respond to 'critical' SCADA alarms after-hours. Activities included filtering and validating the data, linking records based on the Work Orders (WO), matching contractor data to the timesheets and then consolidating and presenting data in Power BI for review and analysis.

 

Outcome

The project found both financial and wellbeing benefits as highlighted above. 

Ensuring that unnecessary or additional maintenance costs associated with SCADA alarms can be minimised also allows for the continued focus and priority on tasks that are critical to the sustainable management of water infrastructure and assets. 

The impact of less late-night call outs on personnel is also critical to ensuring the workforce is able to work at their optimal level at all times, whilst ensuring they are spending less time on after-hours callouts which is beneficial to mental health and wellbeing.