Utility Construction Projects: Challenges and Solutions 

Utility Construction Projects: Challenges and Solutions

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The utility industry is essential for ensuring businesses and homeowners can access power and water. These infrastructures help enhance the quality of life for individuals and support daily tasks and operations for communities, which keeps spaces safe and accessible. However, this industry has many challenges that interfere with utility construction companies’ operations and services.

The 6 Biggest Challenges for Utility Companies

The challenges facing the utilities industry are unique and require the attention of utility organizations and decision-makers. Understanding these challenges and their impacts on employees and customers can help your utility company find effective solutions that support your organization.

1. Increase in Extreme Weather Events

Extreme weather phenomena can impact utility construction projects in many ways. They can lead to halts in projects, but they can also cause costly repairs and damages as problems become more extreme and frequent. Changes to weather patterns lead to more aggressive events that can disrupt construction project progress and the condition of existing structures.

Intense snowstorms, hurricanes and floods can cause mass shutdowns that leave utility organizations without the necessary means to respond and fix issues. Unsafe conditions can prevent utility companies from sending professionals into areas to conduct essential repairs, leaving communities without electricity and water.

The increasing frequency also creates more risks for older equipment that is more prone to damage. Companies cannot replace entire infrastructures fast enough or predict where the next natural disaster will occur, leaving communities with equipment that might not be able to withstand extreme weather events.

Using construction project management software from PenguinData can be a great solution to help work around these unpredictable factors. This cloud-based software can help project managers add buffer time to schedules to ensure everything still stays on track when weather delays on-site work. It also allows construction project managers to input backup plans so employees remain productive throughout the day. Managers can communicate these plans and status updates in the system to ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Talented Labor Shortages

Professionals working in the utility construction industry are also leaving quicker than companies can hire replacements, leaving organizations short-staffed and without the essential skills they need to optimize operations. Many utility construction employees feel underappreciated in the industry — they feel unsafe working in various conditions and underpaid for the value and diversity of their skills.

Labor shortages make it challenging for utility companies and teams. The remaining employees will have more strain at work as they have to handle more responsibilities or learn new skills. Without bettering conditions, recruiters might experience challenges getting new employees to enter the industry.

To counter these challenges, project managers can use specialized software for construction project management to reassign other employees to more urgent tasks efficiently. Project managers may even plan for unexpected events by keeping a list of alternative individuals they can call in later.

3. Transition to Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is becoming more popular, but it creates more challenges for utility construction employees and organizations. The shift to renewable energy will require organizations to change their existing processes and training to accommodate this new energy type. Many professionals find renewable energy less predictable and more irregular than other finite sources the industry is already familiar with.

Because many communities and individuals still prefer traditional energy sources, many communities would transition to renewable energy sources with a combination of traditional and renewable energy. While this can help introduce renewable energy to communities, it makes utility systems more complex. They become harder for employees to maintain and require even more specified skills. Training and certification programs would have to adapt and update to reflect the needs.

PenguinData’s project management mapping solutions allow managers to add more specific details and notes to maps so that work is easier and more efficient for employees. The map overlay technology allows construction project managers to create a separate map that includes annotations, paths, markers and shapes. They can overlap them onto the parent map for a deeper visualization of work information.

4. Shift in Customer Preferences

Many individuals feel switching to renewable energy sources allows them to do their part to protect the environment, especially with the increase in extreme weather events. However, the slow adoption by utility construction companies creates problems for individuals and employees. Companies lack the training and resources to meet renewable energy demand, causing communities and homeowners to seek competing companies that can provide these services.

Map overlay technology can help you customize projects by adding annotations to cater to your consumer’s preferences. You can overlay this map information onto the original map and update it at any time, in real time, to ensure everyone stays on track.

5. More Cybersecurity Concerns

Technology is becoming integrated into more industries, including utilities and construction operations. Virtual features and solutions can streamline operations to boost efficiency and provide insights to further improve performance. While these solutions have many benefits to utility construction customers and organizations, they can also create many challenges, like increased opportunities for data breaches and hackers.

Because digital technologies require devices to connect to the Internet to function and optimize use, this technology can increase the chance of data breaches and theft. Often, these devices have fewer cybersecurity features than other personal and professional devices, like server systems and personal laptops. Hackers can use unprotected devices to target other ones connected to the same Wi-Fi, allowing them to steal data and install malware and ransomware.

Increased risk of hacker access to devices can install malware that causes equipment to malfunction. This risk can lead to widespread issues as communities are left without power and access to energy sources. Alternatively, the malware installed on employee equipment can prevent companies from carrying out normal operations. They might be unable to access online systems to check records and processes, while others might prevent equipment from completing essential maintenance tests.

Software like PenguinData’s software puts secure measures in place to ensure cybersecurity. It allows you to safely share documents, information and broadcast updates from computers and mobile devices. Project managers may also send messages and data via an SSL v3 connection with SQL protections in place.

6. Technology Advancement

In addition to improved cybertechnology adding to the industry, advancements in the field are improving rapidly. While this improved technology can lead to better operations and services for companies and customers, it also causes existing equipment to become obsolete quicker.

As industry standards and regulations update, companies will have to roll out changes quickly to maintain compliance and remain competitive. Drastic changes and adoptions can be costly and require time-consuming training to keep processes and technology updated.

Easily counter these challenges for utility companies with PenguinData’s ever-evolving workforce management system. This software constantly adapts to changes in the industry and can include specialized functionality to meet your unique needs, allowing you to focus on your business.

Succeed in the Utility Construction Industry With PenguinData

Succeed in the Utility Construction Industry With PenguinData

When your utility construction organization wants to navigate the various problems facing the industry, you need the right tools and resources to support your employees. PenguinData is a workforce management software solution that allows companies across industries to optimize their teams and resources to overcome industry obstacles. Some features that can benefit your utility construction company include:

  • Implementing map overlays: For complex projects like utility construction and renewable energy sources, your organization can adapt and navigate spaces with map overlays. These colorful visuals help simplify complex systems, so your employees can better operate and understand their projects and spaces.
  • Tracking employees in real time: When you want to understand your employee’s movements to improve efficiency, PenguinData allows you to see how your employees move from job to job. Utility construction companies can use this data to identify weaker processes and implement more efficient solutions.
  • Reassigning tasks to other employees: For utilities and construction companies, maintaining customer service is critical. Aspects like timely and effective services can help strengthen relationships to create more loyal customers. PenguinData allows organizations to reassign tasks to other employees to prevent late or missed assignments, so you can improve efficiency and maintain strong customer service.
  • Improving communication: When employees have questions or encounter problems in the field, PenguinData can streamline and support communication efforts between your organization and employees. You can connect to PenguinData from any device, allowing you to contact your employees as needed and enable them to reach out for assistance.

PenguinData is a centralized platform that supports all resources and information in one place for simpler access and increased visibility. By gaining generalized overviews of operations and performance, your organization can identify utility problems and solutions efficiently.

Combat Challenges in Construction With PenguinData

Combat Challenges in Construction With PenguinData

Regardless of which challenges your utility company is facing, PenguinData can provide the visibility and data tracking you need to support improvement efforts. Request a demo today to discover how PenguinData can support your organization as you navigate various industry challenges.