Meet James Robbins
Employee of the Month for January
What makes Work and Asset Management Project Manager James Robbins such a worthy Employee of the Month for January? Well, it all comes down to assets!
James developed a tool that has greatly improved the PUD’s ability to identify and manage assets such as poles, wire, and equipment during the work order close-out process. Prior to development of the aptly named Asset Tool, most designers and engineers had to pull a report of all materials issued for the work order, determine what was or wasn’t an asset, then manually calculate each asset’s associated costs. This time-consuming and manual process left plenty of room for error.
The Asset Tool allows work order assets to be reported more quickly and accurately. Work order materials are copied and pasted into the tool, which automatically recognizes and indicates assets. Every asset is assigned a baseline percentage of its contributing costs for each job and a Finance asset classification (retirement unit) number is populated. All of this information combined allows Accounting to report assets properly in SAP.
Payroll Accountant and former Area Operations Accounting Analyst (AOAA) Kirsten McCarthy and AOAA April Sullivan have seen the benefits of James’s efforts first-hand.
“Prior to the Asset Tool, some assets on work orders were not being properly reported because they weren’t being recognized. This tool has led to more accurate reporting of assets in the field,” Kirsten and April wrote on James’s nomination for EOM. “This is also helpful to the PUD’s credit rating because having projects sit in a work-in-process status for long periods makes it appear that the PUD starts projects it can’t finish.”
Along with his enthusiasm for process improvements, James is appreciated for his positive attitude and generous spirit when helping co-workers.
“He always reminds us to reach out when we’re struggling. James also offers training to everyone at the PUD who would like to learn more about the work-order process,” wrote April and Kirsten. “He’s always available in spite of his demanding workload.”
That workload includes future process improvements. James is working on an automation process that would involve uploading the Asset Tool directly into SAP work orders, allowing end-users to close out their own work orders. This would most likely further speed up the closing process and enhance accuracy as work orders would be closed as soon as a project was complete.
“Part of what makes James so special is these are not isolated stories,” said Tim Epp, Work and Asset Management Senior Manager. “James is always thinking of ways to make processes easier and more efficient. He doesn’t just think about them from one group’s perspective, he reaches out to other teams to ensure improvements work better for everyone. This benefits the PUD as a whole, and our customers too."