HOW TO DESIGN EFFICIENT DEPLOYMENT PLANNING IN FIELD SERVICE
4 min. reading time
15 December 2021 ·
hat does efficient deployment scheduling for field service involve? What is the current 'state of the art' and what are the performance features of a best-of-breed scheduling system? Here, we break down the most important points for SLA-beating field service deployment planning.
Field service employees are the direct caretakers of your customers and represent your company on the front line. They are service technicians, sales and customer consultants, delivery drivers, surveyors or experts. They are all 'out in the field' and elevate your reputation by impressing your clients with their expertise, technical skills, empathy and on-time, great service.
EFFICIENT FIELD SERVICE DEPLOYMENT FULFILLS MORE THAN YOUR CUSTOMER WISHES
In this respect, scheduling in the field has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. For example, nothing is worse than keeping an important customer waiting. It is therefore critical that field service scheduling is efficient and targeted. Field service has a huge impact on the customer experience.
However, with efficient field service scheduling, you not only ensure that your customers experience a reliable partner. You also keep an eye on your corporate goals. By optimally utilising the capacity of your employees, you can deal efficiently and fairly with your most important resource, your staff. Trackable goals, such as first-time-fix ensure the profitability of your business.
What does a good field service deployment plan look like? Below we highlight the performance characteristics of a timely and efficient software solution.
COMBINING INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
One goal of efficient scheduling in the field is to neither significantly under- nor exceed the target time of the employees. In addition to the right workload, the optimisation of driving routes and tours ensures a more efficient use of resources' time.
The better the route planning, the more seamlessly your employees use their time. One goal in the scheduling of field staff, for example, is to combine individual assignments in an efficient way. Modern software systems calculate this automatically.
EFFECTIVE SHIFT PLANNING REDUCES THE DEPLOYMENT EFFORT
How much effort does your deployment planning cause for dispatch or your call centre? The goal should be to keep the administrative effort as low as possible. With the help of software, you can minimise the manual effort of your dispatching. Suitable programmes support dispatchers with semi- or fully-automated scheduling and help to avoid scheduling errors with their built-in checking logics.
Planning ahead for deployment is one thing. The other is to be able to react quickly in urgent cases (reactive SLAs). Planning teams and their tools must be ready to adapt, with no overnight or batch results. Ideally, scheduling is adjusted in real-time as soon as serious changes occur (staff absences, appointment cancellations, emergencies, etc.). Intelligent solutions are not only tools for planning, but also for operational control in the middle of the day.
Field Service Control for an Excellent Customer Experience
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN HEAD OFFICE DEPLOYMENT AND FIELD RESOURCES
The next point ties in directly with this. If the deployment software is to do more than simply plan the day's events in advance, it must enable 'always-on' and transparent communication between the deployment desk and the field. Feedback and data from the field then flows directly into further and future planning. It makes sense, for example, to use a solution that integrates a mobile application (field service app).
INTEGRATION INTO SERVICE PROCESSES AND BACK OFFICE SYSTEMS
Efficient field service scheduling means communicating well with your back office ecosystem. To gain the most from your data, modern solutions for planning and deployment of your field service can be connected via interfaces to ERP and CRM systems. In order to be able to analyse results at the end of the day or to build upon for future organisational developments, there should be reliable documentation of assignments and orders. The exchange of data between the mobile devices of your field staff as well as the communication with your customers must be intuitive, simple and in real time.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OUTSTANDING DEPLOYMENT PLANNING
In addition to efficiency, other factors play a key role in the planning of field staff. The legal requirements for the scheduling of field staff, in particular working hours and driving times must be observed.
The day-to-day work of deploying field service assignments is also characterised by various other regulatory restrictions. Which employee is qualified for which assignment, and is a third party required to attend to sign-off the work? Are all customer requests taken into account? Are there conditions regarding routes? Which vehicle is needed? Which tools and spare parts are available? These and other questions often present dispatchers with an almost insurmountable challenge.
AUTOMATION CREATES EFFICIENCY
In order to achieve efficient scheduling in the field, all these requirements must be taken into account - and in an automated, background process. Digitalised and automated processes are - if they are set up well - THE key to increased productivity and efficiency in field service. With software solutions such as FLS VISITOUR and DISPATCH NOW for retail, our customers improve their productivity and performance metrics. For example, they reduce their travel costs and lead times, and increase customer and employee satisfaction.
SHARING THE POTENTIAL OF DIGITALISATION
The ultimate goal of a service company is to satisfy customers and grow revenue. This starts at the planning stage. The advantages of best-of-breed digital solutions are obvious: they relieve the workload of your employees through automated processes and ensure transparent planning reliability for all parties involved. And even if unforeseen challenges arise, you can react quickly thanks to smart algorithms working in the background. Choosing the right solution for your organisation is the basis for customer success and efficiency in field service deployment.
ROUTE PLANNING AND SCHEDULING SOFTWARE TO REMOVE DEPLOYMENT PRESSURES