How an FSM Software Optimizes Team Routing
Success in field service operations depends on several variables. Central to the requirements is a team of skilled and resourceful field technicians reaching the right place at the right time. Effective team routing brings together the required variables to achieve this.
The basic approach to team routing is listing down the open work orders and assigning a technician to each order. The most simple way is to assign a fixed number of orders to each technician, categorized by an area.
But complexities are more the norm than the exception.
Complexities with team routing
- Work orders that demand technicians with special skills or experience
- Certain jobs may require more time than the others
- Customer needs and preferences, such as customers only being available after working hours in the evening
- Planned maintenance schedules, deviations from which will have a costly spillover effect
- Leave schedules of each technician
- A customer may experience an unexpected downtime requiring immediate resolution.
- A technician may fall sick and need unexpected time-off.
- A scheduled repair may exceed the estimated time, causing upstream delays.
Many planners rely on basic spreadsheets and Google Maps but soon find themselves overwhelmed and out of control. A customizable field service management software developed with the right technology can factor in the complexities to deliver prompt and reliable service.
Here is how technology innovation and customized FSM suite enable effective team routing in the field service industry:
1. Automated Scheduling
An automated team routing scheduler suggests the best slots for fresh jobs. It takes into account factors such as availability of technicians, skillsets required, nature of the job (urgent or not), and other relevant considerations.
Automated software allows you to:
- Make a trade-off on costs versus promptness, or any other factor, as specified.
- Create rules to prioritize or de-emphasize factors such as customer preferences.
- Train the algorithm to identify contingencies and exemptions. For instance, arranging repairs in commercial spaces after office-hours avoid disruption.
An intelligent scheduler integrated with the field service management suite caters to contingencies. When a technician becomes unavailable because of an emergency, the algorithm tweaks upcoming jobs. Or else, the supervisor may override the schedule to make ad hoc adjustments for the rest of the day.
2. Route Planning
The most critical component of team routing is route planning. Intelligent route planning schedules site visits in a logical order. The algorithm considers the distance of the technician, accessibility, and other considerations. It creates work rules based on the scheduling priorities laid down by the business.
Advanced navigation systems interacting with real-time traffic services suggest the best journey route. It also navigates last-minute schedule disruptions by optimizing the schedule for the rest of the team. For instance, it may reassign the work of a delayed technician to another technician who has completed a task earlier than scheduled.
Tech-enabled intelligent route planning allows technicians to complete more jobs in less time. It can:
- Minimize the time spent by a technician on the road. Technicians do not have to waste time crisscrossing the town. With their travel time optimized, they complete more work during the day and save on transportation costs.
- Eliminate delays. The algorithm assigns a slot factoring in the customer’s preference and availability. The technicians do not have to wait at the client premises to get the work done.
- Improve technicians’ productivity. Technicians can reduce stress and improve job satisfaction by being able to achieve more work.
3. Tracking and Alerts
Co-opting mapping tools and schedulers to the team routing suite enables better tracking. For example, Google Maps plots the day’s routes, complete with turn-by-turn indications on how to reach the destination. Supervisors and customers get the exact location of the technician and an accurate ETA, factoring in traffic. Managers can compare plans against what happens on the ground.
Gaining real-time visibility into the technician’s movement makes exception management easy. Supervisors and managers can identify any trouble spots in real-time, which enables them to make prompt interventions. Timely alerts to the customer support team allow reaching out to customers on delays and missed appointments.
Though tools like Google Calendar allow technicians and supervisors to keep track of upcoming jobs, deploying an optimized Field Service Management suite like ReachOut helps you overcome the limitations of using separate tools such as Google Maps and Calendar. It ensures effortless scale-up and aligns information as per requirements.
4. Comprehensive Real-Time Insights
An FSM software integrates scheduler and maps with customer data, work orders, inventory, invoicing system, and other resources. You can see all these in ReachOut’s field service management suite. Technicians and field agents get a 360° view of the customer, including their preferences, previous interactions, and special instructions. It is easy to scale up a cloud-based custom-built solution when the number of work orders increases.
Managers may subject operational data to analytics, to review team performance. The insights improve estimating the time taken to complete tasks and help measure other KPIs.
An automated team routing suite (FSM) moves your people in the best path, to match customer demands. The resultant cost, efficiency, and customer satisfaction make your field service business more competitive. Delighted customers spread favorable word-of-mouth referrals, leading to an upward spiral in orders. Talk to us to learn more about how ReachOut helps optimize your work order management.
ReachOut: Inspection & Work Order Management Software
Do you still use paper or Excel spreadsheets to manage your service business? ReachOut is a web and mobile solution for companies to schedule, dispatch and deliver inspections, work orders, ticketing and more. Get started for FREE.