Highlighted in the Lewis booth at TechAdvantage and featured in the conference’s Technovation Session, “What To Look For In A Vegetation Management Contractor”, the company demonstrated how GPS-based mobile technology can improve accuracy, drive productivity and eliminate the need for paper maps and manual estimating tools.
“This new approach to developing cost estimates for all types of vegetation management work is just one of the ways that we are delivering technology to our field operations teams in support of our customers”, said Douglas Roof, chief operating officer of Lewis. “Utilities merely provide us with their GIS data via a secure file transfer to load onto our tablets. There’s no longer a need to print paper maps for us to do our work. Our time to estimate a customer’s circuits has been cut by 50%, and our accuracy is spot on since we are taking advantage of the benefits of GPS technology and the customer’s electronic circuit maps to direct our work.”
The system utilizes GIS data along with aerial imagery to guide the estimating process of Lewis teams as they evaluate specific circuits for bidding and proposals. The proprietary solution, which includes a web-based pricing application to augment the collection of the tablet data, was developed for Lewis by Clearion Software, the leader in GIS-based utility vegetation management solutions. After successfully piloting the system on RFP responses for multiple investor-owned utilities and co-ops, the company rolled it out for wide-scale use by Lewis field operations personnel. Instead of using paper maps supplied by utilities and manual methods of developing cost estimates, Lewis teams can now work directly with a utility’s GIS data in a secure environment to produce highly-accurate results. Elimination of the paper-based process reduces errors, saves time and money, and provides a detailed baseline of anticipated work efforts that can be refined and improved over time.
“Time and materials estimates and fixed-price bids for any type of vegetation management work can now be developed using 21st century technology,” Roof continued. “Utilities have made considerable investments in their GIS systems for use in other areas of their operations, and the time has come to leverage those investments within vegetation management operations as well. With this new capability, Lewis has a proven system that demonstrates our commitment to delivering intelligent vegetation management solutions to our customers.”