The collaboration challenge for transmission and distribution (T&D) businesses
Flat electricity demand. Rising operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. Intensifying regulatory scrutiny. These forces and more are causing T&D utilities to seek new ways to manage O&M growth. They’re also grappling with rising distributed generation, increasing customer expectations and the proliferation of renewable sources—plus a generational change in their workforce.
Against this background, power distribution projects are becoming ever more complex. As a result, utilities need an end-to-end collaboration environment for design and construction. But their design models and data are mostly stranded in silos, unable to deliver their full potential as interactive resources.
To break out of this logjam, electric T&D utilities need collaborative project delivery, based on a set of coherent technology-enabled processes integrated across all project participants. The place to start is with Building Information Model (BIM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).
The opportunities presented by BIM and PLM
Pioneered in facilities management, BIM is built around design authoring capabilities that facilitate collaborative workflows, supplemented with project management tools and digital worker solutions. By integrating these components, utilities can create connected workflows between project participants, better designs, and more informed project management.
PLM is a technology-enabled way of managing products through the stages of their life cycles, from concept through retirement. It’s been adopted readily by high-tech manufacturers—and has huge potential for T&D utilities. Why? Because utilities and high-tech manufacturers share similar capability needs—designing and building assets using standard parts and components, leveraging established sourcing relationships, and maintaining end-assets in the field.
The optimal solution: Implement BIM and PLM together
On their own, both BIM and PLM offer T&D utilities significant benefits. But implementing them together creates a transformational, integrated solution that acts as the core of end-of-end collaborative project delivery and asset management. PLM can manage the standard parts, assemblies, component designs, complete template designs and final full designs of constructed assets. And BIM can serve as the environment of authoring, analysis, visualization and coordination tools for in-process projects.