5 key benefits of Automated Field Service Scheduling

Posted on 20 Nov 2018 by The Manufacturer

Few companies can remain competitive in today’s field service environment without effective management of time, costs and resources.

Stock Engineering Automated Field Service Scheduling - AdobeStock
More than 50% of field service companies still coordinate work and perform functions manually.

Despite this, a staggering 52% of field service companies still coordinate work and perform functions manually.

The adoption of dynamic, automated scheduling software can free up time to concentrate on team development and maximising revenue.

In this article, we share the benefits of, and the pain points eradicated by using automated field service scheduling tools.

1. Management of unexpected changes

No matter how carefully a schedule is planned, unexpected and last-minute changes can occur.

Automated software solutions can minimise these risks while maximising efficiencies. Re-optimisation happens in real time when changes occur, giving both the employee and customer an immediate update, even down to a specific time slot for an engineer’s arrival.

With 89% of customers preferring an ‘Uber like” service for tracking technician arrivals, it’s something that will delight customers and increase brand perception.

2. Utilising Graphical User Interfaces (GUI’s)

GUI’s are a popular way to manage resources for the field service industry, not least because it’s a quick and easy way to deal with large amounts of data.

Using Microsoft Dynamics 365, team managers can use a calendar style view, showing each technician’s day, jobs and skill set, along with a map view for both staff and call out locations.

It’s predicted that by 2020, more than 75% of field service organisations with over 50 users will deploy mobile apps that go beyond simplified data collection and add capabilities that help technicians succeed. These field operatives can benefit from a mobile app showing location and fastest route, customer assets and service history of the equipment needing attention.

3. Automating decisions using parameters

As well as helping to efficiently book service calls to your customers, automated scheduling software also knows when not to book an appointment.

Customer satisfaction can quickly evaporate if technicians don’t have either the skill set or parts required to complete the job. Harnessing data on part availability and employee skills can ensure the right person with the right skill set and equipment is in place at your customer’s site, first time.

This also translates into a reduction in repeat call outs and a much improved customer experience.

> Download our infographic ‘A day in the life of a Field Service Engineer’

4. Effective reduction of waste

Time spent by employees travelling to customer sites comes at a cost to your business. They are on the clock during this time and yet it’s not a billable event for your customers.

That’s where automated route and traffic mapping can help, like Microsoft’s Resource Scheduling Optimisation. Instant calculations occur, allowing the best available engineer to be selected and routed directly to the customer site – assisted by a simple drag and drop interface for work orders.

This not only saves employees’ time but also wear and tear on a fleet of vehicles and gives a measurable reduction in fuel costs.

5. Improving staff morale

Many Engineers like driving, but they all know it is inherently unproductive. What they really want to do is spend their time working on customer-sites. The reduction in the travel-to-work time ratio achieved by a well optimised schedule increases job-satisfaction levels for field personnel

As the global field service market is expected to reach $4.45bn by 2020, companies that adopt automation will reap the rewards.

From filling shifts in the event of unplanned absences to managing budgets, anticipating scheduling needs to maximising productivity; embracing the right solutions can reduce costs and mitigate lost revenues; while enhancing worker mobility and improving organisational performance.

For more information about the benefits of automated field service scheduling please contact HSO.