By Kyle VanLandingham
Director of Customized Solutions for Texas811

The damage prevention industry is constantly evolving and trying to find new ways to reduce line strikes. Safety meetings, damage prevention councils, marketing and outreach initiatives, state-of-the-art excavation equipment, locating technologies, and even legislation changes have always been the tools of choice to reduce damages to the nation’s underground infrastructure. Most have proven to be effective in moving things in the right direction, but damage rates only move small percentage points at a time. Everyone has been searching for the silver bullet to drastically reduce damage rates, and finally the industry has a tool with proven results that can do just that.

Predictive Analytics has created quite a buzz across many industries. Whether its baseball teams trying to find the perfect minor-leaguer to fit into their system, or a large retailer discovering the best way to market to their target customer – analytics is everywhere, and it’s being used by most successful companies across the globe.

Texas811 processed over 3.4million tickets in 2018. That’s quite a bit of data when you consider all of the information captured on each ticket. In fact, Texas811 houses more state-specific one-call data than anyone else in the nation, and it’s now being put to good use. In 2018, Texas811 partnered with Opvantek – a company that specializes in integrity management software and now predictive analytics with their Optimain xDR program. Our Texas811 Customized Solutions group has been working with Opvantek over the past few years to turn that data into an effective damage prevention tool. One that gives members valuable insight into the risk involved with their one-call tickets.

Currently, the data shows over 50% of all damages occur on the top 10%-15% highest risk tickets. If we know where damages are most likely to occur, additional resources can be allocated to those tickets in order to prevent that damage from ever occurring. Studies show that just a call or electronic notice to alert the excavator of the high risk is enough to influence them into taking additional precautions. Along with providing the risk score, we have also built an intervention program that can provide those call outs and electronic notifications to the excavator on a member’s behalf. We also partnered with Texas811 Damage Prevention Managers across the state to provide targeted outreach to high risk excavators. Participating member’s risk reports will be evaluated regularly in order to identify where outreach can be most effective.

Texas811 is the first one call center in the nation to offer a predictive analytics program in this capacity. Members can expect not just a risk score from Texas811, but a full-fledged partnership that includes data evaluation, process consultation, excavator intervention, and access to our award-winning damage prevention program.

Currently, users of the xDR system are seeing a 30% reduction in damages, year over year. With the total cost of damages skyrocketing, and with the spotlight on the industry to reduce damages and create a safer environment for the public, it’s so important now more than ever that we make big strides in the damage prevention community. A “business as usual” approach just doesn’t work when consequences can be so catastrophic. It’s up to all of us to push forward toward the next generation of damage prevention.