Essex & Suffolk Water is to implement a new automated planning system

Essex & Suffolk Water is to implement a new automated planning system to improve the speed with which it responds to customers’ call-outs relating to meters.

The company is part of Northumbrian Water Group, which conducted a trial in the North East that saw an average 30% increase in the number of jobs the team could complete each day, meaning customers’ queries were resolved more quickly.

From an average of nine jobs per day, per person, the team is now achieving 13, with one month seeing that daily figure reach 19.

Following these impressive results, the company is launching the same system in its Essex & Suffolk Water operations in the South East at the start of 2018.

The pilot also had the added benefit of reducing journey times between jobs, through smarter automated planning. Additionally, the per-trip travel time has dropped from a 16 minute average to 13 minutes, while journeys of more than 30 minutes have been reduced by 15%.

The company’s 11 North East-based meter technicians, who investigate customer billing enquiries, and carry out a range of other jobs in the field, such as exchanging and testing meters, carry out between 1,800 and 2,000 jobs per month, a figure that is mirrored by the nine team members in Essex and Suffolk.

The trial also saw the average number of jobs waiting to be completed reduced from between 1,000 and 1,500 to just 60.

The potential to expand to other parts of the business is now being investigated.

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