Shashi Gupta, CEOThe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was put to action when the U.S. was hit by financial crises in 2008, to create employment opportunities for the economy. ARRA had allocated $4 Bn around the smart grid arena, which stimulated the Cofounder and CEO of Apex CoVantage, Shashi Gupta, to start a new ERP activity in smart grid. “We had been working in the utilities industry for 25 years by then and starting a business around smart grid solutions would create a lot of jobs.” Since then, their smart grid division fundamentally changed the way meter replacement business was done. “Our focus has been on making the best ERP for mass meter deployments,” he adds.
The company’s ERP solution, ProFieldMETER, consists of modules to manage the entire business process. “ProFieldMETER’s aim is to bring the field into the office providing project status visibility in real time,” explains Gupta. Once users log in through their portal, they can access the modules starting with OpsCenter, which is the brain of the software where the work is assigned and managed. For the smooth functioning of the process, organizations can train their workers for the project to avoid any mistakes using TrainingPlus. Users can even track if work is performed strictly according to a precise sequence using forced-march workflows on handheld devices through the OnSite module. The staff can work safely owing to its robust SafetyFirst safety management system that includes daily safety meeting and vehicle inspections. Along with the workforce, users can easily manage assets through AssetManager that allows them to know the exact location of every asset. Adjacently, to ensure superior quality of work, the LiveQuality module checks critical aspects of data in the back office. Next, the CustomerCare module is devised to bring in more customers and interact with them. Further, the routing tool, DayRoute, optimizes routes for installation crews, taking into account blackout dates, work types, and travel times.
Our focus has been on making the best ERP for mass meter deployments
Additionally, utilities can manage and maintain the network of their smart meters through the company’s newest product, ProFieldENCORE, as well as reduce energy thefts using ProFieldREADER.
Essentially, Smart Grid Solutions’ ProFieldMETER offers a single platform giving the abilities from start to finish including training workers, checking back office data, managing assets and completing the work. Utilities don’t need to hunt for various solutions to fulfill each step. “We realized that one integrated ERP system is better than lots of pieces bundled together,” asserts Gupta. In addition, he incorporated the three basic principles of integrity, human dignity, and excellence into the organization. “For us business is all about doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons and our goal is to provide good results.”
In an instance, one of Smart Grid Solutions’ utility clients wanted to deploy AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) across 2 Mn meters. The client was looking for a tool that could boost their current pace of installations to seven AMI installs from six installs per day. They deployed ProField for a two-week trial period that surpassed seven installations per day within four days and reached 18 installs per day towards the end of the trial.
In the days to come, the company plans to release a SaaS version for smaller utilities that can use the solution through a monthly subscription fee. “Presently, all our customers are larger utility companies, so our roadmap is to concentrate on smaller utilities,” concludes Gupta.