The Big Discussion: Dynamic Scheduling - Part 3.

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: What is the biggest mistake field service companies make when implementing scheduling solutions?


Marc Tatarsky, SVP Marketing, FieldAware


Advances in cloud computing, multi-tenant SaaS solutions, and new micro and macro optimised scheduling capabilities enable optimised scheduling to scale down. Optimization is now an effective solution for organizations of all sizes.


Micro optimisation enables service delivery firms to build a library of business policies that can be used to tune the optimiser to create a work schedule for an individual team or region. The business policy contains the rules that ensure competing business objectives are balanced appropriately. The rules ensure the right field technicians are considered for the work while managing business objectives such as limiting travel time, delivering priority work, or balancing the number of jobs across the team. 


The business policy library can cover how the team should work in various business scenarios. These can include an emergency schedule; prioritising installations at the end of the reporting period to assist in achieving revenue targets; during seasonal changes, etc.


Running the service delivery business is easier when you select the business policies you want to apply to different teams and then change them as needed to reflect the changes in their business. The benefits of accelerating time to value and reducing the cost and complexity of maintenance that a micro optimised schedule provides small and medium sized organisations equally apply to the enterprise.


Chris Welsh, Director, FLS – FAST LEAN SMART


Yes, most definitely, optimised scheduling will help even small service operations that are performing multiple jobs per day to be more efficient and deliver reliable customer service – essential in an ever more competitive industry where customer expectations are rising.


Even with a handful of engineers, there are thousands or millions of possible permutations for job assignment and most providers will resort to allocating work according to postcode patches. This makes it easy to allocate jobs but the ‘hard borders’ between resources can be the greatest inefficiency for field service delivery and you might turn down an appointment request that was actually achievable and cost effective. 


An optimised schedule considers all resources and travel time without these hard borders and, in my experience of performing scheduling tests, an optimised schedule compared to a manual schedule will typically reveal a 25%-50% reduction in mileage whilst making sure appointments agreed are achievable – that might be 1 to 2 hours saving per day for the engineer to do that extra job.Perhaps equally important, only engineers with the right skills and parts turn up and engineers get home on time! This contributes to greater employee engagement and to the success of the company.