Since 1939, Dietal has focused on providing safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy and services that improve the quality of life of members. The electric utility company is a cooperative corporation with 158 employees serving more than 55,000 members across Northwest Colorado.
With nearly 50 linemen working in the field on everything from installing meters to ensuring the safety of transformers, streamlined communication and data collection is a must for this busy utility company.
In 2017, Dietal decided it was time to eliminate outdated and inefficient paper processes for their linemen. After some extensive research by software and systems specialist Lori Welch, they turned to Radium to improve communication, speed, data collection, and efficiency of their daily projects.
Linemen at Dietal perform an array of different jobs, from installing power lines to fixing transformers. Worksites are spread across commercial and residential facilities, and many don’t provide a stable internet connection. Oftentimes, the linemen are working from a basement or concrete bunker where there’s no internet at all.
Performing large projects across five counties without internet created massive challenges for Dietal. They were using paper forms to collect and share data, which complicated already stressful jobs, like installing upwards of 100 meters at a time.
For these types of projects, the linemen would have to find or create a form that fit exactly the amount of meters they were installing, by columns and rows. They would then take the paper form to the site, hand write in all the meter codes, and bring the paper form to the office. Employees would then have to manually enter all the data into their system and route it to the GIS department.
This process wasted time, created barriers to communication, and caused errors in Dietal’s data. There also wasn't an easy way to include photos of the newly installed meters for auditing purposes. When it came time to share reports, it was difficult for them to produce clean, organized documents for employees and customers. Welch knew there had to be a better way for the linemen to complete this incredibly important process.
Dietal needed a data collection solution that worked offline. Because the linemen work in the field across multiple work sites in various counties, their data collection solution also needed to be mobile, flexible, and user-friendly. Welch wanted her linemen to be able to focus on their work, not on creating, managing, and submitting complicated forms and workflows.
Welch decided to use Radium because it was easy to use and offers an offline data collection solution through the Radium Go app. Linemen at Dietal were able to learn how to use the technology quickly, which was exactly what Welch was looking for.
“Radium is a great interface for the non-computer-savvy person,” Welch said. “The Radium Go app has eased functionality for everybody so much. It was easy for the linemen to use and start developing.”
Dietal provided all of their linemen with iPads to make on-site data collection faster, easier, and more precise. When paired with the Radium Go app, linemen were able to utilize their forms from anywhere, at anytime, without worrying about an internet connection.
“Radium was able to work on all mobile devices and scale. It works flawlessly,” Welch stated.