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British state of the art OR software aids pipeline maintenance worldwide

STORMS helps Transco stay calm

by Nigel Cummings

STSs work management system, STORMS, has recently been implemented in four regions of the UKs largest gas supplier, Transco. The installations in the Northern, Eastern, Southern and South Eastern districts of Transco follow a successful pilot scheme run throughout last summer.

Transco purchased STORMS twelve months ago in a bid to improve the management of construction and maintenance of its 273,000 kilometres of pipe network. STORMS effectively replaces the work previously done by 12 regional systems, controlling Transcos entire work management operation, and integrating with other related computer systems.

The scope of this operation covers planned and unplanned maintenance of pipes and other network assets, and ensures compliance with the New Roads and Street Works Act, including the information requirement of Highway Authorities and other utilities. It will also provide precise and comprehensive management information and maintain Transcos asset base records.

STORMS was developed by STS especially for the utility industry. It operates within Transcos existing desktop environment, providing users with a Windows-based client/server application. It will also be integrated with other Transco systems, such as Supplies and Payroll.

Transcos Work and Asset Programme Manager, Dave Halsey, commented: It is vital that we provide a safe and reliable gas supply service to our customers, so the effective management of work is crucial to Transco.

In common with other UK utilities coping with de-regulation and Customer Charters, Transco is acutely aware of the standard of service it provides. STORMS should provide even greater flexibility and control to create prompt and accurate work scheduling information resulting in customer service improvements.

Development of programme modules continues and recently STS have announced their Crew Scheduler which has been developed following on from the STORMS development plans, which were established when Transco was evaluating STORMS prior to awarding the contract to STS. At the same time, Transco suggested that their scheduling procedures could be improved.

The Scheduler is a component that can be integrated with existing work management systems, such as STORMS. It utilises state-of-the-art constraint-based scheduling techniques to produce schedules automatically. The user specifies the work requests to be scheduled and the crews that they want the work allocated to.

STS (The Severn Trent Systems group) is a software products and services organisation providing customer information, marketing information, engineering analysis and work management software including mobile field systems, and related professional services to help clients achieve these objectives. The groups solutions are used by the electric, natural gas, water and petroleum industries world-wide. Stoner Associates provides off-line network modelling and on-line, real-time pipeline simulation software and a full range of related professional and consulting services.

For further information, please contact: Jane Edmans, Group Marketing Executive, STS (UK). Tel: 0121 717 7755. Email: Web:

First published to members of the Operational Research Society in Inside O.R. May 1999