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ELECTRIC UTILITY / New York, New York

CHALLENGE

Underground electric transmission for the City of New York is one of the most complicated public utility systems in the world. The biggest threat to maintaining 24/7 service comes from damage to power lines by unauthorized or badly planned excavations or emergency situations. By the electric utility’s own estimates, their “Call Before You Dig” approval process took 2.5 work hours, on average, to find and review drawings of the underground labyrinth of electric transmission pipes, cabling and chambers, below the City streets, and they performed 5,000 of these reviews each year. Legacy documents and data were disorganized, often out of date and hard to find.

ACTION

DMI proposed using a visual navigation approach to improve both the turnaround time for “Call Before You Dig” approvals and the way in which documents and data were accessed by the electric utility. Using a mission critical approach to developing a document management system, DMI employed their SLM software to provide an intuitively user-friendly search application, fully integrated with the electric utility’s existing FileNet document management system. DMI studied how personnel responded to requests and identified the whereabouts and condition of thousands of drawings, index cards and reports before creating the SLM Links to mimic the electric utility’s current workflows.

RESULTS

SLM was up and running across 5 New York City Boroughs and Westchester for the electric utility in less than 24 months. User acceptance was high because the system was visual and replicated familiar work flows. The approval process became more efficient, when “Call Before You Dig” requests went from 2 days to 3 clicks (maximum of 30 minutes per search). Service interruptions from damaged electrical and communication lines were significantly reduced, because the drawing library and permit records were consolidated in one place and ConEd immediately benefited from productivity gains resulting from improved accuracy of their drawing database. Downstream value from SLM would be realized in more rapid and accurate response to emergencies, improved change management and support for predictive modeling to identify potential problem areas before they become a crisis. The electric utility estimated their payback in less than 12 months on productivity gains alone by reducing labor requirements the equivalent of five full time workers.

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 2012 Drawing Management, Inc.,
 
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