Meet the team: Josh Wood, operations specialist

Josh Wood

We have experienced incredible demand for the FYLD digital platform as more and more businesses embrace technology to help them make real-time, data-driven decisions that enhance safety, productivity and quality.

As a result, we have expanded our team! Welcoming several industry experts and pioneers to the business to help drive growth and make exciting enhancements to our cutting-edge, AI-driven platform.

One of our latest recruits, Josh Wood joins us this month as operations specialist with a subject matter expertise in the utilities sector having spent over eight years at Thames Water in an operations focused role. We caught up with him to find out a little more about his career and what he’s most looking forward to in his new role at FYLD.

Q: Welcome to the team Josh! What attracted you to the position at FYLD?

Joining FYLD has presented the opportunity to drive change in an industry where it is long overdue. Having worked for a large utility company for many years, I’m all too familiar with the day-to-day challenges that fieldworkers face. There are a lot of pain points when on site and the root cause of those is often the systems in place to manage and track activity are not fit-for-purpose. Across the industry, paper-based tools or digitised forms are still heavily relied upon. This creates a great deal of friction, and means there is a lack of useful data and insights available to inform the decisions that managers and fieldworkers make day-to-day.

Communication can be strained at times also, with managers getting up to 30 calls a day from members of their team to provide updates on projects, with fieldworkers often waiting for confirmation to proceed, slowing down work and creating blockers. Multiple in-person site visits would also be required to check progress as well as health and safety, stretching the workload of these already busy teams. How can you be in so many places at once?!

When I was first introduced to the FYLD technology it was a little bit of a ‘eureka!’ moment. It is a tool that solves these challenges, and many others that I have personally experienced first-hand working for a large utility in an operations focused role.

It became very clear to me that FYLD is driving change in an industry that I know well, and for me that’s an incredibly exciting opportunity.

We all choose apps these days that enhance our lives, whether that’s to make life more convenient, safer or entertaining, but what’s important to us is that it is user-friendly and makes life better. FYLD is taking that same approach and applying it to the working lives of fieldworkers, offering them technology that is powerful, but at the same time is easy-to-use and can be carried around in their pocket. It becomes almost like your ‘digital buddy’ that you take with you on site, and it supports you deliver the best results possible in a safe way.

I truly believe in the benefits of the technology myself, and so I jumped at the chance to be part of this growing company.

Q: In your new role, what will be your key responsibilities?

Having worked in the utilities industry in an operations role, you could say that I’ve been in our customers shoes and so I understand how they feel, I understand their challenges and frustrations, and as a result I appreciate what they need in a technology application like FYLD.

I can share those insights with the software developers and product designers to help shape new features, and ensure they are developed with the end user in mind. Understanding the industry also allows us to predict change and future requirements whether that is driven by culture, safety or regulatory compliance.

I was involved in a planning meeting recently to explore potential new features we could add to the platform, and the team couldn’t shut me up I had so many ideas. This is because I’ve seen the need for this technology working out in the field myself for so many years, and there wasn’t anything available at this standard so it’s something I feel passionate about.

I will also be customer facing, getting out speaking to current and prospective customers to learn about their requirements, and to ensure that the tool can be smoothly rolled out to transform their operations without any disruption.

My role will be varied, and that’s exciting!

Q: Looking ahead, what are you most looking forward to?

Personally, joining FYLD offers me a huge growth opportunity. I can develop my experience working in an innovative, forward-thinking business, learning more about the AI-driven tech that underpins the platform, and how this allows businesses to harness data that can be used to define how they plan and execute site activity.

More widely, it will feel very rewarding to be part of the transformation of a sector that has been slower to embrace technology compared to others. Being able to free up underutilised time for fieldworkers, as well as arm them with data that streamlines their processes will provide huge benefits to the companies in terms of more productivity, more effective use of resource and safer operations, but also improve the lives of the hard-working personnel who work tirelessly to keep our homes heated and clean water running.

I honestly believe that we will look back in five years’ time and there will have been a significant step change across the whole of the utilities industry whereby paper-based forms and digital tick forms have been made redundant. I also think we’ll have seen a huge reduction in safety incidents, and a more productive and content workforce as a result. I believe FYLD’s technology is at the forefront of this movement and will play an influential role in driving this much needed change.

Q: What in your opinion are the biggest challenges that the utilities industry faces now and in the future?

It’s no secret that the regulators are getting stricter and utilities are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate high safety standards and compliance, which has to be carefully managed with less resource available to them.

We also know that the customers expect better service, environmental consents are getting tighter as they demand evidence of improvements in operational performance, and securing investment to embark on larger projects is more challenging.

These challenges underpin a fundamental need for utilities to better plan resource, manage activity, and use data to track and understand key safety and productivity trends across their sites. Relying on managers to assess this alone will leave these businesses at breaking point, whereas FYLD’s technology platform can unlock huge benefits and allow them to stay ahead of the expectations of the regulator.

Q: With the global Covid-19 pandemic still impacting our day-to-day lives, how important has technology and innovative applications like FYLD become to meet these growing challenges?

Hugely important! Learning about FYLD’s role in supporting workers continue to carry out critical field operations during the pandemic was very inspiring.

The technology supports remote site visibility allowing managers to get visual updates on progress and blockers from a distance, whilst drastically improving productivity, preventing projects from getting delayed and keeping people safe as it means less people on site.

There is also the environmental benefit of reducing the need for managers to travel unnecessarily to and between sites. I am proud to work for a company that has had such a profound impact, and is providing a solution to some of the greatest problems our generation has experienced.

More businesses, not just in utilities but across most industries, are becoming conscious of wasted time and their impact on the environment. Although the Covid-19 pandemic forced many to re-think how they manage and monitor project progress, with remote working technology offering a solution to enhancing productivity whilst maintaining social distance, I do think this need for smarter working is here to stay.

Find out more about our team here!