Power Platform Empowers Field Work for Renewable Energy Firm with Low-Code Solutions

One of our clients, a leader in renewable natural gas for transportation, needed a streamlined mechanism to perform inspections of their fleet of vehicles regardless of their location or internet connectivity. We knew that this would be a sophisticated application that would require custom code, but it must also be maintainable by our client without extensive coding experience. Based on the business requirements, we championed the Power Platform, in particular Power Apps and Power Automate, with Azure and SharePoint assisting with data storage for this application. This combination of technologies accelerated the build, taking just weeks to develop and deploy the solution.  

The Requirements: 

For safety and security our client must maintain a consistent, accurate, and up-to-date record of the status of its fleet. At the end of each shift, each driver performs a vehicle inspection and the organization needed a system to empower them to accurately, easily, and quickly document it. This inspection includes taking multiple photographs and answering a series of questions. Often, drivers would end their shift in a location without internet access, so they also must be able to access the app, run their inspection offline, and upload the report when they returned to an area with connectivity. The solution also must record key details like when and where the photographs were taken. Accountability for this inspection also required process automation that triggers necessary reminders, notifications, and escalation protocols.  

The Solution:  

Drivers enter inspection information on their phone by launching the Power App application, where they are prompted to take specific photographs of the vehicle and answer a series of questions. This can be done online or offline and submitted once connected to the internet.  

Once the report is submitted, Power Automate triggers a series of flows so that the information from the questions, the photographs and the GPS location data, and time stamp for the photographs are stored in two SharePoint lists and then combined into a PDF using a third-party tool, for their historical records.  

Further automation occurs if the report is not submitted within the required timeframe. Once the deadline is missed a series of notifications begin starting with reminders to the field member and escalating to informing management.  

The application can also be surfaced in Microsoft Teams, allowing for collaboration, including chats and threaded conversations around vehicle inspection reports.  

We also included a feedback mechanism within the application allowing for real-time feedback from users.  

The Outcome:  

Through the power of the Power Platform, we were able to quickly build and deploy a custom solution that the client can easily maintain and update. The application empowers their field team to consistently execute inspections no matter where they are or their internet access. The solution has helped streamline and automate a vital safety and security process for their organization. With the ongoing feedback mechanism, we actively engage with our client to continue improving the solution to meet the end user’s needs.   

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