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5 Reasons to Move to Optimized Field Service Scheduling

Field Service Scheduling can be a complicated challenge and require much thought. The approach you take to scheduling your field service resources has a significant effect on your business’ profitability and efficiency. Poor scheduling can lead to losing a day's productivity due to scheduling mistakes resulting in playing catch-up to get your bottom line back on track. Given the varying types of work performed, from installation to recurring maintenance to emergency repair, each day in the life of a scheduler can be different from the next. Each new customer or project may require specific skills or equipment, which means rules and workflows must always be adapted for the whole team to complete the job successfully.

1) You Can’t Nimbly Adapt When You’re Working Manually

Daily emergency repair jobs are inevitable, resulting in changes to daily planning, impacting decisions on jobs and team resources. To complicate things more, jobs may take longer than expected due to unforeseen complexities of the job or restricted access to facilities, or your basic traffic jam keeping your technicians stuck on the road. When scheduling on paper and whiteboards, it’s difficult to make real-time changes to adapt to all the possible disruptions to the plan. As such, even the most experienced schedulers cannot anticipate the unexpected.

2) Keeping Track Of Technicians And How They Are Assigned To Jobs Is Overwhelming

The sheer number of variables that can impact the effectiveness of your schedule is immense. From a resource perspective, things like technician specialty (skills, training, certifications), technician type (full time, part-time, subcontractor), technician availability (working hours, time-off for vacation, breaks or training, maximum work hours per day/week), technician location (in terms of proximity to customer location as well as start and end locations), technician scope (a single technician or a crew will perform the job) all impact the schedule.

3) Prioritizing and Adhering To Customer Requests

Then there are the requirements and attributes of your customer to take into consideration.  Factors such as their locations, facility access restrictions (permits, times of day, days of week), asset locations within facilities, types of jobs being performed (installation, recurring maintenance, emergency repair), customer prioritization (not all customer may be equal) and technician restrictions (some may not allowed to perform work for certain customers). Each adds a level of complexity for the scheduler to manage.

4) Maximizing Decision Impact Based On What’s Best For The Business

You need to consider your business objectives.  For example, is the best objective to evenly spread the workload across your technician/crew teams or maximize full-time technicians’ schedules before using subcontractors or part-time?  Job and customer types are another factor to consider versus meeting customer SLAs. Other objectives may include balancing treating emergency repairs differently than recurring maintenance jobs.  Or another may be reducing drive time to maximize the number of jobs per technician/crew per day while reducing fuel costs.  Yet another factor to consider is weighing the length of each job depending on the type of job to be performed versus how far out into the future you want to or can plan your schedule. All of these competing business objectives add complexity to the scheduling process.

5) The Benefits Of Moving To Optimized Field Service Scheduling Are Endless

With all these variables and the dynamic nature of performing field services, utilizing a system such as FieldAware’s Smart Scheduler helps simplify the process.  The system enables rules to be set, with built-in intelligence that enforces your business objectives, drives optimum schedules and workflows, maximizes your team productivity, and ultimately, the profitability of your business.

With Smart Scheduler, companies enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Automated scheduling

    By having the system provide a scheduling plan that takes into consideration most, if not all these variables, schedulers save time and are empowered to more effectively manage exceptions and emergencies.

  • Improve customer satisfaction and retention

    More efficient schedules drive more predictable technician/crew arrival and job completion times.  As urgent changes occur, you can effectively schedule alternate technicians or crews while still meeting customer expectations.  Also, by giving preference to higher-priority jobs, service level agreement (SLA) penalties are easily avoided and customer service commitments are met.

  • Cost reduction and revenue maximization

    Starting and completing more jobs within your team’s available working hours drives revenue and reduces technician payroll costs.  Furthermore, by ensuring your technicians are taking the shortest possible route with turn-by-turn directions, travel time between jobs is reduced as well as fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance costs.

  • Real-time information and tracking

    Advanced, real-time tracking of jobs, technicians, tasks and assets so planners and schedulers know when jobs are completed, or better yet, when they are not completed in the time expected. This gives schedulers more time to react to disruptions and helps them “keep their finger on the pulse” of the jobs that are planned and being executed in the field.

  • Improve job completion time

    Matching job types with technician skills, certifications, and permits results in improved technician utilization, on-time job completion and first-time fix rates.

  • More effectively deal with plan disruptions

    Perform analysis in “Planning Mode” to determine the most optimum changes to the schedule needed to accommodate emergencies and delays.

  • Better plan “job dependencies”

    Ability to schedule interdependent jobs taking into consideration the sequence each job must be completed as well as the requirements for parts, skills, job time window, etc. for each task.

  • Employee satisfaction

    An optimized schedule is one that is as perfect and cost-effective as possible while achieving the highest levels of performance. A well-planned and optimized schedule provides technicians with shifts that work best for them and for your business, resulting in happier, more productive employees

Success in the field-service industry relies heavily on maximize technician productivity and meeting customer expectations. Despite the difficulties inherent in maintaining a working schedule in a constantly shifting environment, customers expect jobs to be completed on-time, every time. Without the right tools, accurate technician scheduling and planning, is at best difficult, if not impossible to achieve. Your customers want a field service experience they can be excited about, and that requires total connectivity, knowledgeable and effective technicians, as well as an advanced scheduling solution that provides fast, efficient service.

Automating your service delivery with optimized scheduling and routing on its own won’t transform your organization. Significant service operational change requires a holistic approach. But field service scheduling represents a significant part of the puzzle in creating an optimized service.  Many of the processes that take up much of your administrative time are solved through automation. FieldAware’s Smart Scheduler provides an advanced, effective route and schedule optimization solution that is both usable and cost effective for business of all size from small to medium size businesses all the way to emerging enterprises. Using FieldAware’s Smart Scheduler enables you to increase efficiency, productivity, and satisfaction for your organization.

Interested in learning more about field service scheduling and FieldAware’s Smart Scheduler?

Get a demo today to find out how FieldAware can streamline your scheduling capabilities.