Raw talent has never been such an in-demand commodity in the tech, science and engineering sectors. According to STEM Learning, the current shortage of qualified workers is already costing UK businesses £1.5 billion annually in recruitment, temporary staffing, extra training and inflated salaries to fill roles. And as STEM Learning also suggests, the engineering sector needs to attract around 186,000 recruits each year until 2024.
This talent gap is particularly acute in the utilities industry, where operations managers are reporting today recruiting and retaining engineers with the appropriate skill set and practical experience is tough. It’s a worrying picture, set to be exacerbated further in the short-term by Brexit putting the brakes on freedom of movement for workers.
Distribution Network Operators (DNO) will be making the transition to Distribution System Operators (DSO) during the RIIO 2 and RIIO 3 price controls. Across that same period 20% of their workforce will be retiring. And that will leave DNOs competing for a share of the same talent pool – just at the time that the last-mile distribution landscape becomes more complex, dynamic and harder to manage.
As they transform, operators will need to manage their networks more effectively by making better use of their field-based engineering resources. That means thinking smarter. And this is where network automation and augmented intelligence can help operators gain actionable insights about data from their networks, channelling this into proactive fault prediction and remediation rather than relying on today’s largely reactive strategies.
Greater automation and visibility of networks at the low voltage (LV) level allows more remote switching actions to be taken to resolve faults or event prevent large faults. When faults do occur, the wealth of data collected across network end points allows for enhanced fault location. As well as making more efficient use of skilled field-based teams, this enables greater automation of switching tasks, managed – in an ideal world – by the press of a button at a central control centre. And when that field force does attend customer premises, they’ll be armed with a full picture of what’s happening on the network in real time, allowing them to deliver a consistently high-quality customer service.
At Kelvatek we’ve been leveraging advances in data analytics and automation to make LV field teams more effective since 2008—preventing customer interruptions on the UK distribution network with intelligent solutions like our SAPIENT enabled devices. Want to find out more about what we’re up to? Get In Touch if you’d like to hear more about our solutions to minimise customer interruptions and lost minutes.
GB Account Director, Kelvatek