Field Service – Resource Scheduling Optimisation

The next wave of Field Service solutions is in full force – connected Field Service solutions are redefining the way we diagnose, respond and deliver customer service. However, many organisations still render services based on fixed routes, “guestimates” when it comes to incident and field worker management, and turn to the all-too-familiar white board as a primary tool to manage the allocation of Job Cards. In this blog, we’re going back to basics and homing in on the importance of scheduling efficiencies.

Your organisation might be predominantly service-orientated or perhaps services are a small extension to your mainline product offering. You might sell products or even maintain equipment that you lease. Maybe you’re investigating servitization of your business. The one constant you can count on if you have service staff: you need to ensure they are utilised at maximum capacity and that overhead costs are kept to a minimum.

Inefficiencies in resource scheduling can impact services staff productivity by as much as 40% and increase SLA non-compliance by as much as 20%. Over 40% of customers cite Service over Price as a leading motivator to change brand. Resource scheduling inefficiencies happen for a number of reasons on a daily basis: new calls come in, appointments are cancelled or postponed, some calls take longer and require follow-up, unexpected traffic and poor weather conditions delay arrivals or the wrong skill set is allocated to a customer job card/works order. We refer to these inefficiencies as the “Whiteboard” approach. How do we genuinely address this?

Firstly we need to acknowledge the fact that a good solution enables scheduling of more than just people. This becomes a pertinent factor especially if parts of your offering will be considered for servitization in the future.

Secondly we also need to cater for the possibility that it might take more than one person to be scheduled to a job, crews. Potentially pairing multiple resources with various skill sets and the possibility that groups or crews might change on the fly too!

Thirdly put yourself in your customer’s shoes: “I didn’t enjoy dealing with Bob during our previous maintenance run. John on the other hand, I was really impressed!” Customers have preferences and this needs to be catered for. In fact, something as simple as a preference could be the dividing line between securing future business or none at all. Customers might also prefer to be serviced in certain time-blocks. If your services are rendered at site locations, you might want to include the facility/retail outlet/venue to be scheduled where this engagement will take place.

Now that we have the basics covered, automation becomes key in optimising scheduling around this. If an organisational objective encourages less travel time and maximised working hours, our intelligent engine needs to assist our dispatcher to evaluate routes and automatically schedule resources accordingly.

By empowering our services staff with an optimised field service solution, we will see the following benefits:

  • Increased technician efficiencies and reduced cost
  • Improved customer satisfaction and retention
  • The ability to achieve scale with fewer limitations
  • Competitive insights into optimisation strategies and measurable objectives
  • The ability to incorporate unplanned work or emergencies as a contingency across selected resources

Customers insist on rapid and reliable service from your organisation because it directly impacts their profitability. Moving beyond the “white board” approach not only helps your customers reach their operational and financial goals, it also lowers your overhead in making it happen. Happy customers and empowered employees ultimately lead to a long and prosperous partnership.

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