FIELD SERVICE OPTIMISATION: SOFTWARE TO MANAGE IN-DAY CANCELLATIONS
5 min. reading time
9 July 2021 ·
James Alex Waldron
hether maintenance, inspection, certification, or emergency repair, a dispatch desk responsible for scheduling jobs for field operatives will at some point face unexpected delays and cancellations. Whilst the definition of these setbacks means they’re unplanned, how an organisation responds is entirely within its control. Inefficient scheduling might move up the day's appointments, ignoring the creation of idle time at the end of the working day. Organisations may send the 'now available' operative to a job on a different patch, generating a wasteful use of time and CO2 emissions, and most importantly, erasing revenue.
Field service optimisation balances proactive and reactive scheduling factors for the best value outcome. Companies have come to rely upon software’s balancing calculation as their operating framework for responding to unplanned events. In this blog, we’ll introduce how modern field optimisation software handles reactive scheduling through parameters. By choosing best-of-breed field optimisation software, it’s possible to manage in-day cancellations for an outcome that complements your KPIs.
VALUABLE PARAMETERS TO OPTIMISE FIELD SERVICE RESCHEDULING
Whether you use software or not, if the sole factor considered in rescheduling is how close the next engineer is on the map, then you're already missing countless threat parameters, and destroying value. By using digital tools when the in-day appointment cancellation is logged, a rescheduling function will examine and appraise parameter data automatically.
Such data includes,
appointment type and length
company rules such as SLAs, field force working hours, and engineer/operative/fuel costs
For field service optimisation, FLS VISITOUR also equates value-added parameters. Examples include,
existing restrictions such as available skills, geocoded location, and parts available
It's therefore obvious that field service optimisation is not possible when value-added parameter data is absent.
HOW FAST IS OPTIMISED RESCHEDULING?
In truth, best-of-breed field service optimisation software must compute a complex array of parameters whether out-of-the box, or unique to your operations. Organisations who've clarified their field force management know the shortest or quickest routes do not result in the best value. Again, managing cancellations goes above and beyond driving time and driving distance.
Take an example home boiler installation company. The works requires a plumber and an electrician; unique skills for a first-time-fix and both with different schedules for the day. FLS VISITOUR will automatically recognise that the jobs are linked and reschedules the cancelled appointment for both engineers into a new, parameter-reviewed, optimised window.
For these complex tasks to work in the background, remove human error and vast administrative/time demands from the dispatch desk, it is only possible to address these with an algorithm. Digital FSM tools built on the PowerOpt algorithm replace 'batch' rescheduling with dynamic, in-day appointment management. Within under 1 second, FLS VISITOUR, built on the PowerOpt platform responds to changing parameter conditions, no matter how extensive these become. This is known as real-time scheduling.
NEXT LEVEL FIELD SERVICE OPTIMISATION
We've so-far looked at software that reacts and removes the pressures associated with rescheduling, following in-day cancellation. How can scheduling software elevate appointment booking to minimise future risk?
Firstly, to adopt the PowerOpt algorithm to intelligently predict future appointment durations based on intelligent values. FLS VISITOUR automatically uses predictive durations for job/works tickets whose duration is kept empty during creation. A company might require a placeholder function when a crucial part has been delayed; or when a specific skill held by an engineer is needed but the engineer cannot tell you when they’re likely to return from illness.
PowerOpt will make individual calculations that directly impact scheduling. It will account for historic 'learned' data (such as geolocation-dependent factors) and adapt the provisional window accordingly. In case of numerous calls with predictive durations, the entirety of the individual predictions results in an accurate scheduling situation. Your company achieves a high level of scheduling reliability and your customers benefit from a greatly increased chance of first-time-fix.
Secondly, the first appointment windows offered to customers should be optimised. Customers are less likely to cancel appointments when they’ve chosen from a menu of windows themselves, are kept up-to-date with texts and email reminders, and can track the progress of their visit on a portal.