If you are part of a field service organization, then you know that assigning field technicians to work orders is a core process that happens every day. There is a chance that you might even be the one doing the scheduling. If you are, I hope you aren’t using an Excel spreadsheet, or worse: paper.
People can make mistakes.
When planning a work schedule, dispatchers might assign work orders to technicians based on factors such as the shortest travel distance to cover as many tasks during the day as possible. You might expect that scheduling method to save some money, but there are many other factors that shouldn’t be overlooked. Maybe the skills or parts required for the job weren’t taken into consideration, resulting in more time required to complete that work order, multiple trips, and additional costs.
Having a person calculate all the factors to manually optimize scheduling for even one technician can take a significant amount of time, which makes the Scheduling Assistant in Dynamics 365 for Field Service an invaluable tool for planning a schedule. If you’re already using Dynamics 365 for Field Service, you are likely familiar with the Scheduling Assistant which allows you to filter resources by travel range, skills, dates, roles, and more. It even recommends available resources to make planning your schedule less of a hassle. But why not take the extra step and let the application do the planning for you?
Save time and automate with Resource Scheduling Optimization.
Along with the Scheduling Assistant, Resource Scheduling Optimization (RSO) is one of the many features offered in Dynamics 365 for Field Service. The RSO add-on takes the data provided by the Scheduling Assistant and increases efficiency and effectiveness by creating a schedule based on your configured objectives. RSO can match resource skills with service demands, while also considering travel time and distance to produce an accurate job duration. There is also the ability to track inventory management down to the truck level with real-time visibility. The outcome: the right person in the right place at the right time, and with the right equipment.
Automated scheduling: Automatically scheduling the majority of requirements saves time and empowers dispatchers to focus on exceptions and billing.
Achieve scale: Allows dispatchers to manage more resources, enabling the business to scale.
Customer satisfaction: Improved efficiency drives more predictable arrival and completion times and seamlessly schedules alternate technicians for urgent situations.
Technician efficiencies and reduced cost:
- Fitting more appointments into working hours drives revenue and reduces overtime costs.
- Matching work orders and technician skillsets reduces the cost of lost appointments.
Reduced travel time means reduced fuel consumption and less vehicle maintenance:
- Ensuring your technicians are taking the shortest possible route with turn-by-turn directions from Bing Maps or your custom mapping provider reduces fuel consumption and wear and tear on vehicles.
- If each field technician saves one tank of gas a month, the savings generally will surpass the cost of RSO.
Improved customer retention: Giving preference to higher-priority work orders helps avoid service level agreement (SLA) penalties and helps you meet customer service commitments.
One common scheduling mistake: not preparing for the unexpected
Organizations usually allocate work orders to technicians on a daily basis, but many of them are making one common mistake: not preparing for the unexpected. We might have IoT and AI to help us out with predictive maintenance, but we can’t predict all the unplanned obstacles and interruptions that might happen during a single day. Traffic delays, customer cancellations, and high-priority emergency jobs are just a few occurrences that can create delays.
We expect these interruptions to happen throughout the day. Why is it that many of us do nothing to prepare for them? My recommendation is to consider creating a few empty timeslots inside your schedule. If an unplanned event does occur, those timeslots will create some wiggle room to prevent substantial consequences from affecting the rest of the day.
Delays aren’t always the issue. Maybe there was a cancellation or a technician is making good time and running ahead of schedule. Take a couple of minutes from the time RSO saves and re-optimize the schedule during the day. Re-optimizing helps ensure resources will continue to have optimal schedules without reducing productivity, profitability, or customer satisfaction.
Want to see the Scheduling Assistant and RSO in action? Check out this short video from Microsoft Dynamics 365,
If you are interested in learning more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service and Sopris, send us a message and we can schedule a chat.