Marne Martin, CEO, ServicePower talks us through a variety of different scheduling solutions and how they can turbo charge service delivery…
When I think of a ‘turbo boost’, a few images pop into my head. From Superman to a luxury car that eats up the track, a turbo boost ‘supercharges’ an action, with apparent ease, whether that’s saving the innocents or posting the fastest lap times.
In relation to mobile workforce management, a turbo boost to scheduling operations can be just what’s required to achieve the next level performance to drive customer satisfaction, retention and future sales and that turbo boost can only be found in true optimisation that places the power of cognitive computing and big data at your fingertips.
There are generally 3 kinds of scheduling solutions available which offer varying degrees of benefits
Despite stories from the industry about prolonged deployments, platforms which require heavy development and customisation, engines which can’t process large volumes of work without failing or batching unprocessed job, real AI based schedule optimisation can boost your operation, and it does so with ease.
What does Scheduling Mean?
Mobile workforce management solutions (MWFM), have at their core typically ‘scheduling’, functionality which is used to manage mobile workers and at its most basic includes job scheduling, job dispatch and mobility software.
There are generally 3 kinds of scheduling solutions available which offer varying degrees of benefits, from white board / no optimisation solutions to the real, intra-day AI optimisation that enable your business to be much more productive and scalable.
Types of Scheduling
Basic scheduling software requires building and managing a schedule manually. It’s labourintensive, doesn’t consider travel time, and doesn’t apply any computer logic to scheduling decisions, exception handling or schedule changes.
Most of these vendors offer something similar to Microsoft Outlook with drag-and-schedule functionality. Basic scheduling isn’t scalable, and doesn’t support any kind of complexity or manage large volumes of work well.
There is no turbo boost in this option; it’s more like a bicycle.
Automated, Rules-Based Scheduling
Larger volumes and complexity can’t be handled by basic scheduling. It’s too much and too hard for manual processes. It’s inefficient, costly and inaccurate.
Software which offers simple computer logic is the next option. Vendors often call these rules based computer programs ‘optimised scheduling’, but they aren’t.
Some of them do automatically build a schedule using technician skills, availability, and service level agreements, so these are a better option than basic manual scheduling. However, if these packages can’t use a simple rule based on the skill, availability, and SLA, they can’t schedule the jobs.
These really only fill white spaces. Filling a white spot on a schedule is not optimisation.
There’s no real turbo boost here either. This is like a scooter; there’s some power, but you’re not going very far or very fast.
Artificial Intelligence based Intelligent Scheduling
True route and schedule optimisation, such as ServiceScheduling from ServicePower, uses artificial intelligence algorithms, like Simulated Annealing, and our latest algorithm, Quantum Annealing, to intelligently schedule jobs using hard and soft rules in conjunction with configurable parameters to minimise overall costs, maximise service delivery margins, and reduce response times.
Real schedule optimisation packages select the best mobile worker for each job based on skills, geography, and existing jobs
Scheduling optimisation isn’t about manually scheduling jobs, or filling white space based on some basic, hard rules. Real-time or intraday schedule optimisation is about intelligent automation and is absolutely necessary for complex field service operations.
ServiceScheduling, and our Optimisation on DemandTM product, have been proven by our customers to yield:
- 15-50% productivity improvement of mobile workers based on intelligently, continuously optimising the schedule for decreased response times to customers
- Up to 45% increase in SLA compliance because the optimisation algorithms can account for required response time in the scheduling decision in real time
- Between 25-50% increase in mobile worker efficiency, including decreased cycle time and reduced travel time yielding improved customer satisfaction and service delivery margins
Ability to process IoT alerts without manual intervention
What’s more important to understand about real algorithm based schedule optimisation?
The algorithms give your team the power of ‘big data analytics’. It’s using your data, creating schedules and learning throughout the process, continuously re-crunching the data, continuously re-optimising, continuously improving the schedules, productivity and efficiency, without your team spending hours manually analysing and manually decided how the data impacts your operations.
Artificial intelligence based schedule optimisation is the turbo boost that your organisation needs to get around that curve fastest, at the least cost, to win, for your customer!
See Through the Smoke Though
Given the obvious benefits to artificial intelligence based schedule optimisation, like ServiceScheduling, why aren’t all organisations, no matter the size or complexity, using the technology?
There are several misconceptions worth addressing. Schedule Optimisation is hard to implement. No, schedule optimisation is not hard to implement. It can absolutely be deployed on time and on budget and maintain a long term return on investment.
What’s critical is working with a vendor that understands your operations, as well as what it takes to manage a mobile workforce themselves.
Development is required to support you unique business requirements.
Development is expensive and take a long time. The software should be configurable; it shouldn’t require development to deploy and it absolutely shouldn’t require IT resources to maintain basic changes in the business going forward.
The software should be available in the cloud, to reduce costs and streamline security, or on premise if your security and privacy policies dictate an on premise deployment.
No software is future proof.
Software should support the evolution of your business
It should integrate the latest technologies like the Internet of Things (IOT) and M2M, to support new business opportunities such as proactive or outcomes based service offerings. ServicePower combined out entire platform in one easy to deploy, easy to pay for model, ServicePower Unity, for exactly this reason. It enables your team to use functionality as and when it’s needed by the business.
It’s hard to change vendors.
It doesn’t matter if you already use software to manage your mobile workforce. Safe passage programs exist, and schedule optimisation should be capable of being used in a plug and play model, to provide that turbo boost missing from existing software systems such as ServiceMax, Salesforce, MS Dynamics or SAP.
ServiceScheduling and Optimisation on DemandTM can be used in conjunction with these software packages to improve the schedule optimisation (or lack thereof) of what your team has already deployed.
A complete change out isn’t required.
ServicePower has architected its platform so that it can be deployed alongside industry standard CRM and ERP packages, improving the schedules generated such that you, too, can supercharge your field operations.
As an example, one of our clients, already on another FSM platform, was able to generate a 24% increase in productivity and a 29% return on investment by implementing ServiceScheduling. Our team at ServicePower has worked tirelessly to create a mobile workforce management software platform which ‘turbo boosts’ our client’s mobile workforce operations- maximising productivity and customer satisfaction, and achieving real ROI, easily, and quickly. It produces real results regardless of what other software our product must work in conjunction with to achieve those ]results.
We guarantee it.