Innovative Training Strategies for Utility Industries
Used with permission.
- February 11, 2019
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ARCOS products provide valuable tools that are used by utilities nationwide in their day-to-day and emergency response/emergency management operations. For over a decade ARCOS has been providing training to enable our customers to use our tools to their maximum benefit. Using our training tools, customers can run simulations on business continuity or disaster recovery testing, as well as tasks to manage routine business processes. Below I discuss ARCOS training products and strategies in greater detail.
Our software training scripts provide real world workflow sequences on which to train users. When in training mode our customers can have an alternate or similar data sites that they use. We call it user acceptance. They're able to conduct real life simulations of either incidents or events, or actually conduct call outs, which is a core part of our functionality.
API Connectivity for Customized Training Environments
ARCOS training tools provide a strong API connection layer that allows our customers to interact with many other systems such as their outage management systems (OMS), HR systems, work management systems, or a learning management systems (LMS).
The API connection between the customer and ARCOS training is accomplished in the background between systems. Once the customer has configured, set up and programmed it with any basic rules they want, the data exchange and the logic between the two systems takes place continuously in real time to make sure the trigger points for the two systems are being driven as needed.
An example would be that if a new employee got added to the HR system, they could instantaneously be put into the ARCOS system roster and relevant lists with the right security privileges.
The customer sets up the rules and configures the specific trigger points to get to the next desired action. Another example of configurable rules includes union contracts that dictate how many hours employees are allowed to work. After working a shift an employee may need to have a certain period of time before they can return to duty. Another case might involve assignment of overtime hours to employees. Some employees can only have so much overtime. If you have a rule involving 50 people how you pick them? The system does the picking based on the different criteria of overtime schedule availability shifts within a specific organization. Factoring formulas within the tools allow customers to get that perfect list of people.
Real World Training Simulations
Running simulations is similar to how firemen periodically rehearse and verify routes every once in a while. Same idea. They're driving a real truck and they're running the roads to see the time it's going to take to get to a destination, and also to verify that equipment is operating correctly.
The goal is for our customers to train and verify their operations teams have the situational awareness and the skills required to do the job. They can configure and enter information right into our software to help make decisions for crew deployment in the electric, gas or airline industries. They can simulate the environment that they work in every day. No one sits in a corporate office with only one piece of operations software. There’s seven or eight critical infrastructure pieces that are needed to get crews where they need to be deployed and working with the right skill sets and assigned the right roles and responsibilities.
Modular Training Exercises
ARCOS is aware that each customer in the various utility industries operates under different workflows and organizational environments. At a high level they're very similar, but at the detail level they have to focus and design a customized training program using the software in conjunction with their specific policies and procedures. Our product is broken up into generalized modules including crew management, workflow, callout, incident management and resource assistance. The customer takes these modules and customizes them with attributes and formulas to represent their own unique environments on the training dashboard.
Measuring Training Success
We measure the success of the training with real world metrics - by the user's availability and call out acceptance. In other words, if I offer you some crew work the system tracks and provides metrics on availability and response rates to ensure employees stay within the criteria that they're measured on within their own organization. If they have specific contracted goals or soft goals within their organization, they can look at their phone in real time to see what their response rate is to verify they're staying within a red, yellow, or green metric. Further, customers can derive CAIDI/SAIDI scores through porting modules that allow them to derive that information.
ARCOS is proud to provide industry-leading Resource Management tools and training programs to support our customers in their mission-critical tasks.