How a European Utilities Company Makes Maintenance More Efficient, Transparent, and Cost-Effective


The Italian natural gas and electricity provider RetiPiù S.r.l. is in charge of 2,900 kilometers of gas and electricity networks that serve homes, businesses, and public spaces in 25 towns across the northern Italian province of Monza and Brianza.

Managing Ever Complex Asset Networks at Minimum Cost

As these networks grow and become more complex, RetiPiù must ensure safety and reliability through daily maintenance performed by its field workers. It is also crucial for them to quickly identify critical network events and efficiently prioritize, schedule, and track field-service assignments and maintenance activities.

But disparate asset management systems made it hard to prioritize and schedule maintenance calls. In addition, they were not integrated with the company’s core enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Moving from Reactive to Predictive Maintenance

To increase efficiency and optimize resources, RetiPiù looked to move from a reactive to a predictive maintenance model. The goal was to understand critical events as early as possible, track and trace issues from alert to resolution, get better visibility into maintenance schedules and work-order status, and use that information to better manage maintenance across the network.

To meet these goals, RetiPiù required a unified intelligent asset maintenance system that workers could access from the field and that was integrated with its intelligent ERP software.

One Central Asset Intelligence System to Speed up Maintenance Cycles and Lower Costs

As its utilities networks continue to grow, RetiPiù S.r.l. deployed SAP S/4HANA to help improve data quality and access for engineers and back-office teams. Building on that digital transformation, it then added the SAP Enterprise Asset Management solution to help configure digital twins for equipment and activate predictive models respectively. These algorithms help assess and prioritize maintenance requirements and optimize resources. The company leverages the SAP Internet of Things (SAP IoT) solution to gather detailed sensor data from across the network assets to share information via mobile applications with field technicians, who get information and update the status of work orders in real time.

Increasing Productivity and Improving Customer Service with Smarter Asset Maintenance

The system currently supports thousands of pieces of equipment. In addition to making maintenance simpler and more efficient, asset and maintenance data – including cost data – are immediately available for analysis in SAP S/4HANA. As a public utility, the real beneficiaries are RetiPiù customers that now have faster activation service. And in addition, RetiPiù benefits by being rewarded by the Italian government for its continually reliable service.

The most striking benefits the utilities company gained are:

  • 100% increase in assets that can be managed on the network – from 12,000 to 24,000 pieces of equipment
  • 50% reduction in maintenance cost
  • 15%-20% less time needed to activate new gas customers
  • Increased efficiency and resource optimization
  • Improved prioritization of field-service assignments and maintenance tasks
  • Improved field operations effectiveness through mobile system access to maintenance staff
  • One single platform to manage data and analytics for all assets – creating a fully integrated and transparent maintenance process from order to the field and back

Real-Time Data Transfer from Technician Mobile Apps to Back-End ERP Systems

“In choosing an intelligent, predictive maintenance solution, integration with our core ERP systems was key. With SAP S/4HANA and SAP Intelligent Asset Management, we have one unified system that provides everyone the visibility they need to work efficiently and effectively,” says Massimo De Filippi, director of Technical and Information Services and Design at RetiPiù S.r.l.

He continues: “This project has allowed RetiPiù to ensure service continuity and avoid shutdowns. We can provide quality service while also reducing costs. We are a public company, so the ultimate benefit is for the citizens.”

“By being able to access data and reports in real time, field engineers can intervene promptly whenever issues arise, improving the customer experience and strengthening our reputation as a trusted energy provider,” says Mario Carlo Borgotti, managing director of RetiPiù.

In regard to future plans and after being live with the gas network, RetiPiù now has a template for rolling out intelligent asset management and predictive maintenance to its electricity and public lighting networks. As the next step, it will enable simulation of maintenance requirements for new assets that have yet to be added and include geolocation services for route optimization.

To learn more about how to enable intelligent asset management processes, download the report, “The Building Blocks of Industry 4.0 with Intelligent Assets.”

Karin Fent is senior director of Global Customer Success Digital Supply Chain at SAP.