United Utilities turns on £30m workforce management system

United Utilities has gone live with a £30 million workforce management system, based on SAP and IBM software.

In July, the water and electricity operator first announced the project, which is aimed at cutting repair times and increasing the company's efficiency.

"The workforce management project has now gone live and is expected to be a key initiative in delivering future efficiencies," United Utilities said in a statement, announcing its financial results for the six months to 30 September. Operating profits increased by 4 percent year-on-year to £253 million, but the company warned of potential difficulties raising finance in the current economic climate.

The system has been designed so that customers only need to contact United Utilities once to organise a repair, the company explained. "The call handler has access to detailed information enabling more effective work scheduling and accurate, real time data on work status. The system should provide the dual benefits of reducing the cost to serve and improving customer satisfaction."

The system links the different operational arms of United Utilities and connects to repair workers out in the field, as well as alerting the head office to any projects slipping behind schedule, and scheduling future work.

United Utilities is also working on other efficiency programmes, with the aim of improving operation efficiency by 1.5 percent per year from 2009. These include installing an integrated performance management system, in order to improve remote site management and improve the company's use of chemicals and power.