Here is how United Utilities, the United Kingdom’s largest listed water company, decreased its time for reporting operational data from 720 minutes of manual daily effort to just 32 minutes a day.
England & Wales regulator Ofwat asserts that the water services sector is an analog industry operating in the digital world. United Utilities has responded emphatically to that claim by making major, strategic investments to allow it to become a leading digital company that can thrive amongst its peers.
United Utilities started its RPA journey in November 2017 after selecting Blue Prism as its connected-RPA partner since it offered enterprise strength, security, audibility, and scalability capabilities.
The first process to be automated was sending text messages to United Utilities’ customers when an engineer is due to visit them. This involves Digital Workers accessing applications and overseeing who has an appointment, then sending them a text notification. Automation has also been applied to the process where customers request to have their water usage metered. This process has spiked in demand, which makes it difficult to employ the right number of staff resources. Digital Workers accept water meter applications, do calculations, and then progress them. Reporting operational data is another area where significant efficiencies have been gained by the company through RPA. This activity was previously carried out by eight people, contributing to a report that’s produced four times a day. The company had to monitor and report on operations more often and increased the number of reports to nine per day.
“Using automation delivers many benefits for us like reducing process time from days to minutes — and being able to respond much more quickly to problems in the network that causes customer inconvenience. But the clearest measure of success is being voted number one in our industry for customer service – which is great news for the seven million people in the North West that receive our services. RPA also allows the great people we employ more time to focus on delivering great customer service too.”
GENEVIEVE WALLACE DEAN, Head of Robots at United Utilities