Market disruption and how SAGE is working through it

With many around the world now working in a new virtual environment, there have been plenty of challenges to the way we do things.

At SAGE, we’ve always been about bringing the best thinking to everything we do. That’s never been more important than now.

Our teams have been working with clients to find ways to upgrade and support their systems during this period, and to ensure their operations can continue. This has seen SAGE not only open our technology offering in new ways, but also provide advice and support to businesses adapting to a new normal. It is this drive to ensure our client’s needs are met that I am incredibly proud of. 

In the midst of this time of isolation, we are learning and transferring this new knowledge to our clients. I wanted to share some insight into the new ways our team are making things work at SAGE.

Remote commissioning/support

For those businesses providing essential services, such as water authorities, business continuity is critical.

SAGE is working on multiple projects within the water sector and responded to a change in project delivery requirements, particularly for those projects that were nearing completion. 

In the last week, our Victorian team successfully completed a fully remote factory acceptance test (FAT) with our client. To carry this out, the team setup a video call where they could feed in live footage of the PLC hardware and share screens of the live SCADA and PLC platforms.

Remote-Factory-Acceptance-TestingSAGE worked with South East Water's engineering team to complete a fully remote FAT. 

"The Mount Martha WRP Sludge Holding Tank Upgrade project addresses the current limited sludge holding capacity of the plant and as such is a critical project for SEW. SAGE worked with SEW’s engineering team to get this job to the FAT stage despite all the challenges created by COVID-19. Regarding the FAT itself, we all quickly adjusted to the remote setup. We were impressed with the team that SAGE had made available for the FAT; this included the Project Manager, the Technical Lead, a senior engineer and the development engineer. Well done!" — Nic Baptiste, Acting SCADA Manager, South East Water. 

Tip from our engineering team:

When completing a remote FAT, consider how changes in network reliability will impact the process, as it’s not always noticeable when your development team is on the same network. During the remote FAT with our client, at times there was a bit of lag in the network, causing a delay in what the client saw on their end — noticeable when the screens changed. Having one of the SAGE engineers logged into the session remotely allowed him to see the delays and signal when to slow down and wait for the shared screens to update, to allow the display for the rest of the stakeholders to catch up.

What’s next?

Fully remote factory acceptance and site acceptance testing will continue to be part of SAGE’s offering moving forward. As the business responds to higher levels of remote work, the continued resilience of our systems is a key focus area. Coupled with our remote and live support services, our team are well-placed to service all stages of a project lifecycle.

A number of customers across different sectors have enquired about automated testing for their systems, something SAGE has completed for a number of projects in utilities and life sciences. We are planning to share some of these success stories soon, so keep your eye out for upcoming newsletters.

Support through immediate resourcing

As restrictions on travel took place, we saw increased pressure on businesses who rely on interstate technical teams for project work. SAGE Group company, Embedded Expertise, immediately worked to connect these businesses with engineering contractors who were available for short-term projects, ensuring that delivery dates could be met. 

The Embedded Wellness Program launched earlier this year also speaks volumes about the support that Embedded provides to both experts and clients. At a time when we are focused on the health and wellbeing of our team and the wider community, ensuring our teams have access to these types of resources is incredibly important.

Delivering smarter training options

The current conditions have managers under pressure to be smart with resources, and the Government has encouraged more businesses to upskill their workforce during this time. Since the Higher Education Support Package was announced earlier this month, SAGE Group company Skills Lab has seen an increase in enquiries about training availability.

The flexible training delivery models Skills Lab use to deliver workplace training have become more important than ever. To support businesses during this time, the approach has been redesigned to enable virtual and workplace-based training during COVID-19 to continue for more than 80% of the customised courses.

Skills Lab have been running virtual training to ensure skill development is still available
for workplaces and individuals.

Participants in a recent virtual Introduction to Automation course were taking this opportunity to focus on skill development.

“We’re upgrading systems, getting brand new trains in, robots and new machines within the next year, so I want to be up-to-date with technology.” Industrial Maintenance Technician, resources sector.

Seeing the way our teams have mobilised under trying conditions is a testament to their ability to collaborate and to move quickly. Finding new methods — or refining what were previously short-term solutions — has seen us continue to deliver for our clients.

As many of these processes become our ‘new normal’, the resolve I see to adapt to this new environment will lead to great efficiencies and stronger outcomes for us and our clients.

Do you need remote solutions for upcoming projects? Speak with us about adjusting your current processes.


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