SA Water has unveiled a project to equip its field force with upgraded technology in an effort to enhance data collection and improve efficiency.
The state-owned utility delivers water and wastewater services to some 1.4 million South Australians. SA Water has more than 1,300 staff located around the state, including some 450 located outside the capital city Adelaide.
Last week the utility went to market for hardware, software and telecommunications suppliers to equip its field workers with new technology, under a project dubbed the "Mobile Field Force Solution".
The move is part of SA Water's Towards 2010 program -- an initiative designed to make sure the utility's technology infrastructure would meet the demands of the coming years.
"This initiative will improve the mobility and utilisation of the SA Water Workforce as well as enhance the quality of data available to other business processes and systems," the utility wrote in tender documents.
The project will see staff equipped with "Field Data Units" -- mobile devices designed for data input and routing back to back-end systems. The units will also provide access to some of those systems on the road, in addition to SA Water's Intranet and e-mail systems, and Global Positioning System (GPS) data.
The data from the units will feed back into systems used by SA Water's customer call centre, for example.
One example of a potential workforce management benefit to flow from the project is to ingrain the practice of staff going straight from their home to a remote job in the morning, instead of visiting their SA Water depot first.
SA Water has issued registration of interest documents for the project, and will move to a formal tender process in April this year, with a shortlist of suppliers notified. Vendors for the project will be selected from mid-May through June.