The Big Discussion: Dynamic Scheduling - Part 1.

In the Big Discussion we bring together a panel of industry experts and focus on one key topic within the field service sector. In the third of a four part series on dynamic scheduling our panellists, FieldAware’s Marc Tatarsky and Fast Lean Smart’s Chris Welsh identify the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing a scheduling system.

 

Question: Given the increasing challenges of last-mile service delivery, how crucial is optimised scheduling for field service excellence?

 

Marc Tatarsky, SVP Marketing, FieldAware

 

As markets become hyper-competitive, service delivery has become a key differentiator in winning and retaining customers.


Delivering consistent, high-quality service in the last mile is essential. New sources of competition are entering from different verticals, and service organisations are required to support a broader range of products, service offerings, and customers across both metropolitan and rural regions.

These increasing competitive pressures have service organizations turning to optimized scheduling to improve the delivery of their service commitments. Optimized scheduling now encapsulates the workflows, decision-making processes, and the criteria service providers use to execute on the customer journey and create genuine differentiation consistently.  

Key to this approach is new generation optimisation engines. These modern optimisation tools provide the ability to configure “micro scheduling.” These new tools enable providers to uniquely configure optimisation capabilities to support different team sizes, multiple product lines, as well as regional and seasonality needs.

This approach of building business policies that reflect optimisation needs at an atomic level provides the basis for rapid time to value. Micro scheduling not only facilitates efficient execution of the initial implementation, but it also helps with the introduction of new service lines, products, and regions. It enables service providers to react to and create a competitive advantage based on changes in the market and seasonal demands.

 

Chris Welsh, Director, FLS – FAST LEAN SMART

 

Last mile service delivery has always relied on good scheduling for field service excellence. With increasing pressure to achieve more with less and time-window/SLA expectations shortening, it is harder than ever to achieve this well without a schedule optimiser.

The best scheduling technology will not only plan accurately but also have ability to dynamically react in real-time to the progress of travel and work changes on the day. Engineer job allocation will re-optimise automatically to ensure priorities, including emergency jobs, are best met within available resources, highlighting SLA’s or appointments that will be missed so a Planner can override by exception.

This dynamic operation does not suit all service businesses and the technology is flexible. For example, many appointment based companies want the schedule finalised and ‘fixed’ for engineers the night before.

In this case the system will display real-time progress and give accurate prediction of when appointment windows will not be met or the engineer late home. By exception, the company may then decide to reassign using system recommendations.

The further importance for optimised scheduling is the ability to provide auto notification of arrival times and Uber-style tracking the engineer’s arrival by the customer on their phone. FLS were ahead when we launched this with FLS Portal last year and the function is increasingly an expectation for field service. 

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