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Intelligent Scheduling

Instant job management & intelligent scheduling

21st April, 2017

The problem & solution of job management & intelligent scheduling within field service management 

The majority of scheduling systems are too inflexible to deal with constant changes, e.g. customer requests; delays; overruns; etc. The consequence of this is that jobs are often pushed to the next day or back-logged even further.

Additionally, service desk staff will usually end up spending considerable time managing such exceptions; seeing the company work to a ratio of 1:20, whereby one service desk member of staff will be managing twenty field based technicians. However, if the system intelligently responded to such exceptions in real-time, they would be able to help many more and therefore improve efficiency rates by working to a preferred ratio of 1:50, or even 1:80. This could also result in reducing the number of staff required to manage exceptions and reallocating them to more value adding tasks.

In order to get the most from the field based team then, companies need to have a mobile software solution that is intelligent and flexible, while also able to automatically respond to new customer queries or emergency work orders.

Setting and altering appointments for field technicians, can be done using a series of customised rules; live feeds and complex algorithms including a range of factors; e.g. traffic; boot stock; postcode region or staff skills. The software pulls in data, such as location and status, directly from technicians in the field, and optimises their schedules according to the specified rules. Updates are then fed directly back out to field technicians, informing them of their updated appointments in real time to ensure the most effective handling.

Accurate, intelligent scheduling and the ability to manage real-time requests, form the basis of efficient service management. Through real-time scheduling and GPS tracking, progress can be monitored throughout the day. For example; if a technician is stuck in traffic; over-running on a job; caught in a weather incident or detoured by large events and road closures, all of this information will be available without them having to actively notify the customer. Instead, an automatic SMS, or proactive outbound call will be enabled to inform the customer, who will then also be able to plan their day accordingly. Changes to job details or appointment times are also instantly uploaded, so that field service time is not wasted with cancelled appointments.

Constantly optimised schedules help to avoid major delays so that the company can meet the customer’s SLA requirements, while ensuring continual improvement in their customer service. Presenting the field technicians with detailed information about the distance between jobs, travel time and the best route to take, can save up to 80% of time spent scheduling jobs on the service desk. Furthermore, this method of working can help technicians get to jobs almost twice as quick as before.

To read more on managing mobility and intelligent scheduling in Field Service Management, download our whitepaper; Mobile App Features that will Transform the Efficiency of your Field Based Workforce

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