case studies 01

Case Studies

KorTerra has helped countless damage prevention companies minimize manual processes, optimize productivity, and increase savings. The benefits of our software and services extend beyond efficiencies; they also result in heightened safety and damage prevention awareness.

Here is a sampling of the various improvements that clients immediately witnessed when partnering with KorTerra:

  • Field productivity increased over 25%
  • Reduced the number of dispatchers from 1 for every 10 locators to 1 for every 30
  • Saved 40 hours a week on manual labor related to data entry by implementing a paperless system
  • Saw up to a 50% increase in the time allotted to locate a ticket
  • Annual savings of over $900,000 by utilizing facility mapping
  • Return on investment within months of application implementation

These are just a few of the quantifiable benefits KorTerra's customers have reported with our products and services.  Read below to get the full story behind the many successes our customers have experienced.

 

Xcel Energy Case Study

Xcel Energy Case Study

Client Situation

In 2010, Xcel Energy began a multi-year project to identify and correct any situations where a natural gas line had been inadvertently installed through a sewer line (lateral). As long as a natural gas line intersecting a sewer line is not penetrated, it poses no safety hazard. However, equipment used to unclog sewer lines can penetrate natural gas lines and lead to the dangerous release of natural gas. Xcel Energy reviewed maps and records to identify and correct any conflicts between their underground natural gas distribution system and sewer lines. Based on the results of this review, some areas required additional in-sewer camera inspections. Through August 2013, Xcel Energy had inspected over 100,000 sewer lines. Managing a large volume of data, dispatching work and completing individual records related to this activity within a single platform was a unique challenge for Xcel Energy.

Solution

KorTerra customized their KorTerra Enterprise solution, similar in some respects to a workforce management ticketing system, for Xcel Energy to utilize in their Sewer Line Inspection Program. Data was uploaded from Xcel Energy into the remote portion of the KorTerra system, either electronically or manually by the user. The data was then dispatched to crews who were completing tickets in the field utilizing KorTerra’s mobile technology. The system tracked and stored all data within the database to facilitate queries and reports. As Xcel Energy continued with the effort, knowledge of previous inspections at specific addresses was invaluable, helping to avoid duplication of effort, analyze trends, plan work and ultimately manage the project effectively.

Results

This KorTerra standalone platform was effective at keeping data secure and separate from other efforts in progress at Xcel Energy. It stored all data, allowing for tracking and queries to be performed, as well as serving Xcel Energy’s future data mining needs. The advantages this system provided more than outweighed the cost, and were fundamental to the success of the Sewer Line Inspection Program.

For more information on Xcel Energy and the Sewer Line Inspection Program, please visit www.xcelenergy.com.

Southwestern Utility Case Study

Client Situation

This customer provides electric service to more than 1 million residents of New Mexico as well as wholesale customers throughout the Southwest. They deliver power from several different plants to cities and towns over a series of power lines and neighborhood substations.  Along with electric service, this utility also provides gas service to homes and businesses throughout  the state.

In October of 1999, officials at  this utility decided to increase their  focus on mobile workforce management.  Upon preliminary research, they quickly realized  they needed more than just  mobile computers to “mobilize” their workforce.  They discovered KorTerra in their search for a workforce management system that could automatically process their One Call Center locate tickets and integrate the information back into their existing Oracle database.

Solution 

The utility project team selected the KorTerra Product Suite because it promised ease of implementation with Oracle’s products.  They were also pleased with the positive reviews from other KorTerra users.  The KorTerra team worked diligently with the utility’s project team to select the most appropriate product modules for their needs:  KorTerra Dispatch and KorTerra Mobile.

KorTerra Dispatch receives all of this utility’s  locate requests electronically from  the New Mexico One Call Center.  As tickets are received, KorTerra parses the information and stores it in a central database.  The ticket information is automatically dispatched to the field based on the geographic location.  

KorTerra Mobile is a completely paperless system that allows the utility’s  locators to download their tickets electronically without having to pick-up paper tickets at the office.  In addition to being able to start work sooner, they are able to efficiently route their work for the day, better manage their workloads, and reduce vehicle wear and tear.  Operating in a paperless environment also means that paper costs, printer expenses, and paper storage costs are eliminated. 

KorTerra Mobile enables the locator to receive the locate information electronically for processing.  With this utility utilizing KorTerra Mobile, they reap the benefits of having information in the field and in the office.  In the office with electronic ticket transmission and no paper to manage, dispatchers can focus time on load leveling, effectively handling emergencies and performing other office tasks.  With KorTerra Mobile, completions are being performed electronically  in the field, which translates to dispatchers having that  completion information  in the system without data entry.  KorTerra Mobile has an automatic date/time stamp on completions, having the locators complete tickets electronically in the field creates an audit trial for management to understand how locators are spending their time.  The bottom line for this utility having KorTerra means their management is enabled to make better decisions and  better understand their operation.

Results

The KorTerra software solution has streamlined this utility’s work order process and eliminated the reams of paper that were processed in their offices.  With KorTerra there are safeguards in place which have erased the possibility of losing a ticket.  KorTerra Mobile has enabled the mobile technicians to go right to their work sites without having to go to the office each morning to pick up their work orders/locate tickets, saving time and money.

They were able to reap the benefits of ROI within the first six months, because KorTerra enabled them to eliminate the need for a full-time dispatcher.  Since the original installation, they have since expanded the system to seven additional office sites.  This utility has expanded seamlessly because the ease of system use makes training time minimal and installation a snap.

Pipeline and Mapping Case Study

Client Situation

Our client, a large pipeline company, receives tickets from 11 different One Call Centers. Because of the nature of their  business, 80% of their tickets are screened in the  dispatch  office.  All tickets were previously received via fax and an office staff of 4 employees screened  the tickets using  paper  map books.  Those tickets requiring a locate were then dispatched to the field via fax.

Solution

The KorTerra software suite was installed in their office headquarters.   Now, all tickets are received via modem and email.  A mapping function was added to KorTerra utilizing  Microsoft  MapPoint.  The added functionality allows a dispatcher to double click on a ticket by state and an electronic map is brought up.  All of their pipelines are mapped via latitude and longitude inputs.  KorTerra also has a custom update functionality where they can self-update all of their map files by simply importing a text file and MapPoint is updated in the system.  KorTerra has the ability to sort and group cleared tickets for positive response notification.  Along with the added functionality of mapping and sorting, they also have many reports and information at their fingertips.

Results

As a result of the new system, they have seen multiple positive changes in their daily operations.  There has been a major reduction in paper work and data entry processing by the office staff.  They have one system managing their screening and dispatching, no longer are all the different paper maps needed to screen tickets.  Using the KorTerra solution with enhanced mapping capabilities, this organization has almost totally eliminated the use of paper maps in their office.  Through grouping and sorting the tickets alphabetically by contractor, the dispatcher is able to take the cleared tickets for a contract or and make one call to clear multiple tickets, instead of making a call for each ticket, as the legacy method required.  Overall, the implementation of KorTerra has streamlined their operating procedures, resulting in a more efficient office.

Minnesota Power Case Study

Minnesota Power Case Study

Client Situation

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, provides electricity in a 26,000-square-mile electric service territory located in northeastern Minnesota.  When KorTerra was first introduced to Minnesota Power’s locating operation they were renting teletype printers from Gopher State One Call and had a printer in each of their 12 office sites.  These printers printed tickets which were given to locators to locate and complete.  Minnesota Power stored these paper tickets for record keeping for one year.  Anytime someone needed information on a past locate, Minnesota Power staff were required to file through reams of paper to find the necessary information.

Minnesota Power had a need for a centralized solution and to eliminate some of the paper that was being shuffled through their organization.  They discovered that KorTerra could not only meet their needs, but provide additional functionality to streamline their operations. 

Solution 

In 1999, KorTerra delivered their KorTerra Dispatch software.  KorTerra Dispatch has enabled Minnesota Power to eliminate the rental printers in 12 offices and receive each locate electronically into KorTerra Dispatch at their Duluth office location.  From there, each ticket is dispatched to the appropriate site where the information is printed out and located.

KorTerra Dispatch allows Minnesota Power to rid themselves of the paper locate audit trail.  There is a detailed audit trail, because each locate ticket is electronically recorded within KorTerra Dispatch.  Now when Minnesota Power needs to find a past locate, they are able to perform a simple ticket search within the software and pull up the information they need without shuffling through files of paper. 

With KorTerra, Minnesota Power has a different way of handling their emergency tickets.  With their old method of receiving tickets via the teletype printer, a staff member was required at each of their 12 office sites to receive those tickets and take appropriate action if an emergency ticket was received.  Now with KorTerra,  they have a person at their Duluth office running and managing all emergencies for the 12 sites.  Via the Herald, KorTerra’s monitoring application, an audible and visual alarm occurs with each emergency ticket.  The dispatcher receives the emergency and makes calls to the locators in the field for immediate response. 

Minnesota Power is utilizing KorTerra Reports to ensure all tickets are received.  No tickets are lost when using KorTerra because of the electronic receiving.  KorTerra also has audit discrepancy reports to be run daily to ensure all tickets have been received from the One Call Center.  They also are reaping the benefits of access to other reports such as the Monthly and Area Office ticket counts for management reporting, budgeting and forecasting.

Results

The number one benefit from the KorTerra software is described by Terry Salo, dispatcher.  He says the entire process is faster and easier.  From not having to manage drawers of paper, to easy look-up of ticket information, Minnesota Power is pleased to have centralized their locating operations with KorTerra.

KorTerra has saved Minnesota Power many expenses which were associated with their legacy model such as paper and printer costs and employee headcount in each office.  KorTerra is also allowing Minnesota Power locating employees to better spend their time because they are not wrapped up in processing so much paper.

Georgia Power Case Study

Georgia Power Case Study

Client Situation

Georgia Power is the largest of five electric utilities that make up the Southern Company.  It is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility that serves customers in 57,000 of the state's 59,000 square miles. The company's 2 million customers are in all but six of Georgia's 159 counties.  They have nearly 8,800 employees throughout the state, of which 50 employees are Locators.  They perform locates through a combination of in-house and contractor locators.  In 2001, Georgia Power received almost 1 million locate requests, of those, 650,000 were located in house with the balance of locates contracted out.

Prior to the KorTerra solution, Georgia Power had a complicated dispatch process that was very paper intensive.  They were manually performing all ticket completion and manually performing positive response.  They had virtually no measurement tools to see how efficient they were but knew that their Locators were not locating at optimum levels, due to the amount of drive time required to and from office to pick up their daily tickets.  They also were using paper maps, which in the field were cumbersome, easily damaged, and expensive.  Because of this, the paper maps were not utilized as much as they should have been.

Solution

With the KorTerra Product Suite installed, Georgia Power now receives all their tickets electronically and is able to dispatch tickets wirelessly in real-time to locators in the field.  This not only eliminates wasted drive time the locators had driving to and from the office to pick-up each day’s paper tickets, but also allows them  to have more time to work on their  tickets.  Before KorTerra, locators were picking up tickets that were already sitting in the office for up to 24 hours, leaving them only 24 hours to perform the locate.  Now, they receive the tickets in real-time allowing them the full 48 hours to complete the ticket.  Locators are also able to easily complete the tickets electronically on mobile laptops which then triggers automatic electronic Positive Response.  

Georgia Power also installed the ability to view electronic maps though KorTerra using an interface to MapFrame.  The interface allows locators to go directly to  a  desired  facility  map without changing applications; “at a click of a button” they can pull up the facility map to aid in their locating.

Results

As a result of the KorTerra software, Georgia Power has noticed sizable increases in their dispatch and locator productivity.  They are able to measure efficiencies and report tracking data through KorTerra’s reporting functions.  Their offices have eliminated the costs and inconveniences associated with the paper tickets and paper processes.  They have also virtually eliminated the fees they incurred for late positive response.  Data is quickly and easily retrievable for management processing.  With more time being given to the locators to locate tickets combined with easy access to electronic maps, Georgia Power has reported more accurate locating with the KorTerra solution.   

Georgia Power is extremely impressed with the positive impact KorTerra has brought to their organization and they are reaping the benefits of running a proficient operation.

City of Minneapolis

City of Minneapolis

Client Situation

The City of Minneapolis Public Works Department, a long-term KorTerra client serving approximately 390,000 city residents, is always looking for ways to increase department efficiencies and save money on improved processes.  Like many municipalities, the City of Minneapolis has three departments that perform locates: water, sewer and traffic.  Each of these three departments needs their own copy of the ticket to send to a locator.  Rather than being sent three One Call tickets and billed three One Call ticket charges, the City of Minneapolis deployed an enterprise solution.

Solution

In 1998, the City of Minneapolis chose to implement KorTerra’s KorTerra Enterprise software, which included Ticket Splitting functionality.  When a ticket is received into KorTerra Enterprise or KorWeb, the system splits the ticket as many ways as necessary, sending one ticket to each department that needs to locate a facility.  The split tickets retain their original ticket number, but a suffix is added to the end of each copy to represent the department it was sent to.  Each department individually performs their locate, tracks results autonomously, and provides separate statuses for their individual ticket.

Results

Instead of paying for multiple copies of a ticket from the One Call Center, the City of Minneapolis uses KorTerra’s ticket management software to receive each single ticket and split it within the software system for each department.  Their annual ticket reception cost would be tripled if tickets were not split in this manner. 

In 2005, the City of Minneapolis’ One Call Center implemented mandatory positive response.  The City of Minneapolis already had KorTerra’s Ticket Splitting technology in place, which allowed them to be instantly compliant by using the system to respond to each ticket sent by the One Call Center.  When a ticket is split amongst multiple departments, KorTerra's Ticket Splitting feature waits until all positive response and completion information has been collected from each department. The system then automatically sends a single positive response message to the One Call Center, excavator or both, depending on the municipality's preference.  This automated process saves time and manual labor costs on the city’s behalf, while providing an easy way to follow state One Call laws.

ARKUPS Case Study

ARKUPS Case Study

Client Situation

The ARKUPS organization was created in late 1998 as a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of Arkansas One-Call System, Inc. (AOC) whose purpose is to provide contract locating services for the AOC’s member utilities. ARKUPS is committed to damage prevention.  It is their goal when damages do occur to identify the problem and address it so the problem does not reoccur.   

ARKUPS is a strong advocate for using technology to automate processes and to supply information which enables their organization to provide high quality services to their customers.  Their business requires a competent solution to transmit locate ticket and locating information to and from their 110 locators in the field who are spread throughout the state’s 75 counties. 

KorTerra partnered with ARKUPS in 1999,  at which time ARKUPS was dissatisfied with a competitor’s solution.  The service and support of  their existing solution was sub-par and  the vendor was not working proactively with ARKUPS to meet their needs.   When KorTerra was introduced to ARKUPS, KorTerra worked with them to deliver  a solution to meet those needs in regards to tracking damages, mapping and payroll.

Solution

The KorTerra Team  worked with ARKUPS to  deliver the  KorTerra Product Suite modules to fit their  specific  needs.  KorTerra delivered KorTerra® Dispatch, KorTerra® Mobile, KorTerra® Payroll and KorTerra® Claims Management.   

KorTerra Dispatch is automating the receipt and dispatch of all their tickets.   KorTerra worked with ARKUPS and AOC to develop an interface to their ESRI mapping  software.  KorTerra pulls latitude and longitude information from the mapping software to determine  the mapping coordinates for each ARKUPS ticket.  KorTerra then uses the lat/long information  to route the incoming locate tickets to the appropriate mobile locator in the field.

Through KorTerra Dispatch, ARKUPS is maintaining an electronic database of all ticket and completion information, and is benefiting from receiving and viewing tickets electronically.  This allows them to manage their emergencies in a timely manner, perform load leveling  since they can see  the workloads of  their  locators and re-assign tickets to evenly distribute work.  Dispatchers are also able to easily identify the priority levels of the tickets through  color coding that designates different priority levels and highlights tickets that are coming due or are past due.  This allows the user to have a visual representation of current work and prioritize it more efficiently. 

 

KorTerra Mobile enables ARKUPS locators to obtain their tickets on their laptops which are used in the field.  Locators are no longer required to travel to and from the office each day to pick-up and drop-off their paper tickets, yielding more time to per form productive work in the field.  Each locator is able to complete each ticket electronically in the system without shuffling through paper in the  field or bringing paper back to the office for data-entry.  ARKUPS locators are able to respond appropriately to emergencies because emergencies are received in a timely manner.  With KorTerra Mobile’s  date / time stamp, ARKUPS knows their staff’s location at all times; this fosters accountability which further  increases productivity.

KorTerra developed an interface to MapFrame’s map viewer software for their mobile locators to view facility maps in the field.  By housing all facility maps electronically, locators are no longer hauling and shuffling through paper map books.  KorTerra was able to integrate  the maps  into the KorTerra Mobile software, which allows the locators to effortlessly, at the click of a button, pull up the appropriate facility map for the ticket location.

ARKUPS has KorTerra Payroll which is configured based on their different work tasks. Workers using the KorTerra system put their time against these  various work tasks,  allowing for more accurate breakdown and analysis of how staff members spend their time each day.  ARKUPS also uses Mobile Payroll which allows their mobile workers to enter their timesheets and expenses as they occur  in the field.  This provides management with  timely payroll information to generate reports for tracking how employees’ time is spent  and the expenses they incur .  The KorTerra Payroll system also tracks mileage; enabling ARKUPS to better track and predict vehicle maintenance cycles.  KorTerra worked with ARKUPS to interface the KorTerra Payroll system with their 3rd party payroll system. Seamlessly data is communicated from KorTerra Payroll to their payroll system for creating payroll checks without data-entry. 

When damages occur,  ARKUPS needs  to be able to  identify the reason for each damage so they may address potential problem areas and prevent a reoccurrence.  With KorTerra Claims Management, they are now able to track each damage claim electronically in a centralized system.  All damage costs can be captured in the system and tracked for cost analysis.  ARKUPS uses this information to identify potential training problems, faulty equipment, specific locator/employee issues, etc. The goal being that through trend identification, problem areas can be corrected and the number of excavator damages lowered. 

  

Each of the KorTerra modules offers robust reporting on the data in the system. Organized in broad categories such as Audit Reports, Ticket Reports, Locator Reports and Maintenance Reports, ARKUPS has access to over 30 pre-programmed reports for operation management and analysis. 

It should also be noted that ARKUPS is a unique customer for KorTerra in that they are also a beta site.  This means that as each new KorTerra release is developed, it is sent to ARKUPS first for them to review the release and provide input for changes and improvements.  ARKUPS has been a key contributor  to the shaping of the KorTerra product to date.  

Results

KorTerra software is an integral part of ARKUPS ’ operational success.  It has automated many of their former manual processes and by housing all information electronically in a centralized system, the opportunities for reporting and analysis are  endless.  The data collected allows ARKUPS to manage the time spent per locate, accrue real cost analysis for budgeting, track vehicle mileage, hours spent locating versus travel time, and numerous types of other data which yields a highly efficient organization.

They are no longer held captive by disappearing paperwork and inefficient dispatching processes.  Their operational processes have taken full advantage of technology to streamline the entire operations from ticket receipt a nd dispatch, to payroll, to managing damage claims and management reporting.

ARKUPS is very pleased with the results their organization has seen as a result of their KorTerra solution.  To sum it up, Roger Cox, Former CEO said, “I would like to commend the KorTerra Team for their willingness to help provide solutions to the new challenges that face us in our  quest to provide a more cost effective damage prevention program for Arkansas.  What matters most is how you are treated as a customer.  KorTerra has the best service and support of any company out there, they also just happen to have the best software too!”

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