The utility industry has experienced disruption due to:
- Increasing inflation: Electricity alone is expected to rise more than 10% this year since 2021.
Process mining can tackle utility retailers’ challenges by facilitating their digital transformation journeys and improving processes. In academic research, process mining applications in utility count for 8% of the total case studies the researchers gathered.1 Relatively low adoption rates imply that utility business leaders might need to understand how they can leverage process mining.
To remedy that, this article lists 10 process mining utility industry-specific use cases.
1. Identify and optimize process inefficiencies
Utility companies have complex processes and a high number of transactions, creating vulnerabilities for inefficiency. Some of these issues can be higher response time, costs of operation, and efforts, wasting valuable time of employees.
By discovering and mapping operational workflow, process mining can point out errors and loops that cause such inefficiencies. Analysts who leverage these insights can implement changes to optimize these processes and activities.
For example, a utility firm 2 applied process mining to their purchase-to-order processes and identified that 80% of the executions did not follow the happy path. Due to these inefficient process executions, the company was spending more time on invoice matching and order reworking, prolonging order lead time by 30%.
Moreover, process mining allowed utility service providers to map the optimal process model for their service procurement and downsize 30 steps to 10 for more than half of the process practices.
2. Facilitate automation and digital transformation
Utility providers can automate and transform their logistics, asset management, maintenance, back-office operations, energy distribution, and customer interactions by
- Implementing automation
- Adopting AI and IoT by 54 and 65%
- Investing in edge computing by 54%.
With a smart meter-reading system or an automated billing process, utility service providers can save their accounting expenses by 30%. However, digital transformation and automation can be difficult due to several RPA pitfalls and challenges.
- Identifying automation opportunities
- Develop data-driven transformation strategies and automation projects
- Ensuring easy deployment of RPA bots
Also, some process mining platforms can generate a digital twin of an organization (DTO), allowing utilities to
- Simulate their automation or transformation projects
- Measure the expected ROI.
Based on these, they can prioritize the right strategy and choose the correct action. The entire project can be analyzed with process mining and a DTO to predict and avoid upcoming issues.
3. Evaluate process performance
Like any other business, utility companies must closely watch and optimize process KPIs, such as lead time and cost structure.
Process mining tools automatically provide dashboards with easy analytics and KPIs to evaluate process performance. Utility companies can use these analytics to get insights and develop improvement strategies.
For example, Wien energy in Austria deployed process mining to measure their P2P performance. The process mining software enabled the firm to obtain transparent KPIs and fast analytics reports. The team discovered their personnel was insufficient and needed to hire data engineers.
4. Ensure accurate meter reading
The meter-to-cash process refers to measuring user consumption and creating accurate bills to collect payments. Since the process is closely connected to the customer, failure can have a direct negative impact on customer satisfaction. Some of these failures include:
- Inaccurate measurement
- Incorrect billing
- Lack of multi-channel bill delivery, such as email and user portals
- Inflexible payment options.
Process mining gathers data generated by smart metering and customer information systems (CIS) to
- Identify such pain points
- Ensure the well-functioning of the meter to cash process.
5. Innovate and redesign processes
Recent trends in the utility industry, such as investments in clean energies and replacing traditional cost-to-serve business models with non-commodity products, threaten existing operations. These changes require firms to redesign their processes.
Process mining is a useful tool to redesign and plan existing processes since it can compare the actual process execution against the idealized models.
In a process mining case studies, Berliner Wasserbetriebe deployed process mining to develop a controlling system. Process mining allowed the German firm to standardize their controlling systems across systems and departments, increasing data consistency.
6. Ease auditing and compliance
Utility providers have to:
- Comply with local and national regulations
- ollow ideal models
- Follow procedures and emergency work orders
Any lack of compliance can have detrimental results, harming the people, the environment, and the budget of the company.
In process mining trends, compliance and audit are listed as the top 5 use cases of the tool last year by 17%. Process mining offers conformance checks, and automated root cause analysis capabilities to:
- Seamlessly assess the compliance levels between discovered processes against rules, regulations and orders
- Locate variations and identify root-causes behind them.
7. Manage inventories and materials
Utilities providers may experience higher costs and lower productivity due to material and inventory management failures, originating from the lack of full transparency and complexity of supply chain processes.
Process mining visualizations enable utilities to monitor logistics operations. This way, utilities can ensure optimal material quality, effective inventory management, and supply chain optimization.
8. Stay on alert by predicting potential issues
Predictive maintenance addresses problems in utility systems before they happen, informs customers inadvance, and helps avoid downtime, resulting in:
- Boosted efficiency
- Increased customer experience
- Reduced costs
- Mitigated risks.
Process mining can serve as a predictive maintenance tool. Predictive and proactive process mining capabilities allow utility firms to estimate potential issues and send alerts to responsible teams. This way, utility firms can take precautions, resolve problems and inform the customers.
9. Achieve sustainability
Utility companies encounter customer demand and pressure from public authorities (see Figure 2) to demonstrate a commitment to decarbonization, investing in renewable energy, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting.
Process mining can help utility firms to estimate their commitment levels by uploading and comparing environmental metrics, such as:
10. Ensure Cybersecurity
Adopting tools like smart meters and connected assets lead to better data privacy and helps resolve cyber security concerns.
Process mining can identify user-behavior anomalies and fraudulent activities by analyzing systems data. With process mining, utilities can secure smart grids, smartphones, and IoT.
Discover more on process mining cybersecurity use cases.
Discover all process mining use cases and case studies:
- Top 44 Process Mining Use Cases & Applications
- 51 Process mining case studies & project results
- Unlock 11 Process Mining Benefits
Compare different tools through our comprehensive and data-driven process mining vendor lists.
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