Predix Asset Performance Management
Xcel Energy (Xcel) is a major U.S. electric and natural gas company, with regulated operations across eight Midwestern and Western states. It serves over 3.5 million electricity customers and 2 million natural gas customers.
Xcel faces industry challenges head on
With the power and utilities industry facing many challenges, including meeting increased demand while keeping costs down, increased regulations, and a changing workforce, Xcel realized it needed a software solution to gather more real-time data on its assets.
Implementing, then expanding APM solution
Xcel implemented Asset Performance Management (APM) from GE Digital (formerly Meridium Enterprise APM), and while successful at gathering more real-time asset data, the industrial application was being used in siloes and was not fully integrated into Xcel’s workflow and event tracking methodology.
So the company decided to upgrade, expanding its APM users to approximately 80-100. The software and the company had come a long way in six years, and there was a great opportunity to improve productivity.
Xcel began by looking at its processes. Employees at 76 units were currently tracking data through Word documents, spreadsheets, and the APM solution. With the upgrade, Xcel soon realized it could integrate all of the information into APM easily. That meant manually updating a spreadsheet for each unit, with approximately 40 tabs, each month could become a thing of the past. Besides consolidating information, Xcel was able to utilize a dashboard to monitor more real-time data across its enterprise. Training was implemented to standardize and streamline process for event assessments, root cause analysis (RCA), and recommendations.
Enabling a continuous loop of improvement with APM
By expanding utilization of APM, Xcel was enabled a continuous loop of improvement. Xcel implemented automated tracking and alerts, so if an event assessment had not been approved within 30 days, a reminder was triggered. At 60, 90, and 120 days, those alerts escalated to higher management, if necessary. Previously, this was also tracked on a spreadsheet, which proved hard to manage and made follow-through a challenge.
In one year, Xcel was able to save over 2,000 hours of time on event assessments tracking and workflow. With users not emailing manual Word documents and spreadsheets, one source and view of its asset data has allowed Xcel to improve efficiency and accountability when it comes to asset performance. Also, by having each plant analyze mitigation actions for future events, Xcel can identify and share best practices across its enterprise.