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Blog March 2023

5 Reasons Manual Data Collection for Water Utilities is Risky

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Nicole Kelly

Director of Marketing North America (Utilities)

Many water utilities still rely on paper forms and manual processes for management of assets for compliance and maintenance purposes.

The reasoning is that the technician is right there on-site. He or she can write down the pertinent information and enter it into a system back at the office. It’s the way that utilities have been tracking and logging information for decades. So what is the problem with this process?

Utility Management Systems 

Manual processes tend to be inefficient, can lead to inaccuracies, and put utilities at risk of non-compliance. Utility management software solutions can automate processes and improve the way you collect data, report, and manage your utilities.

Here are five reasons that wet utility asset management via paper and pencil is risky.

5 reasons manual wet utility asset management processes are risky

1. Lack of quality control

While data may be recorded correctly, it may not be clear who performed the work or if a work order was submitted. In fact, there may not be evidence that work was performed at all.

Given the nature of penmanship, there’s also the very real possibility that a 6 could be mistaken for a sloppy 0. Rain and wind can turn crisp, clean form into a soggy and illegible mess. On rare occasions, the initial data could be misplaced or lost from site to truck to office. Improper data input can lead to faulty conclusions and possibly compliance issues.

2. Time delays

Work may be completed and data logged on site, but it may take hours or even days for that data to be officially entered into the master file on your utility management system back at the office.

Time can also be lost if the CMMS system doesn’t show specific analytics. Admin staff often must take extra time to manipulate the data in a way to view trends. Precious time can be lost if emergency work needs to be performed on an asset.

3. Time lost in retrieving historical data

Videos and other historic files usually need to be saved separately in a database or stored in a server. Collecting data from different applications and paper records can be time-consuming and frustrating.

4. Inefficient teamwork

Typically, paper maps and work order lists are given to crews to complete. Consultants often supply a binder that outlines needed sequences such as flushing. Binders are needed for different assets or processes. Bringing a portable binder library plus paper maps and work orders is not a practical solution for the teams in the field. Plus, binder assets are likely to return in less than complete or pristine condition.

5. Redundant efforts

Even after the information has been entered into a work order, it has to be entered again, separately, into GIS to update asset data. Think how often that has to be done per day, by how many techs and in how many locations.

Stay on top of your assets by automating your utility management system

If you’re still using paper forms and manual data entry processes, consider utilizing a utility asset management tool to automate data collection and reporting. Solutions such as AMCS Field Services ensure data is accurate as it is collected in the field and keeps a single up-to-date record for historical information. Gone are paper forms and lost or inaccurate data, redundant data entry and wasted time. A solution like AMCS Field Services can also help users track, monitor, initiate, and manage work—as well as report and predict asset health—using real-time or manually-entered data.

Want to see a demonstration of AMCS Field Services in action? Request a demo below and we’ll show you how to quickly automate your utility asset management processes and provide transparency to your critical infrastructure health.

Ready to see what AMCS Field Services can do for you?

Let us show you how AMCS Field Services can help you improve operational transparency, manage assets and work orders, and streamline compliance reporting.

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