Route optimization helps identify the best route for field agents to reach their work sites. It allows field agents to arrive at their worksites without wasting time.
Routing field agents is a complex exercise for field service enterprises. The dispatcher has to consider several factors such as the current location of the field agent, whether the field agent has the spares needed to execute the work order, live traffic conditions, and other information. It requires software to consider all these factors in real-time. Not optimizing the route for the field agent adds to the operational costs, retards field agent productivity, and creates inefficiencies.
Automated field management software considers various factors and shows the best routes for field agents to reach their destination.
When field agents spend longer than necessary to reach a client location, it increases the time to start a resolution. Downstream jobs also delay. Sometimes, such delays lead to missed service level agreement (SLA) standards.
Delays in resolution frustrate customers. They keep calling up the customer support agent, which adds to the workload. Waiting customers, in frustration, may write poor reviews or even search for alternate providers.
Finding the most efficient route decreases field agents’ travel time and improves their productivity. It also enables businesses to make precise commitments to customers.
The primary considerations for route optimization are the day-to-day routine of the field agent, the number of open jobs in the area, transportation considerations, spares availability, and commitments made to the customer.
Such considerations aside, real-time traffic information is the gold standard to achieve route optimization. Many of the traditional scheduling applications plot job locations in a straight line. But the shortest route may not always be the best route. Such applications fail to factor in the terrain, topography, road layouts, and other natural considerations, let alone real-time traffic information. ReachOut goes a step ahead and interlays historic traffic patterns and real-time traffic data. Such information identifies the best routes among the different viable routes and delivers precise travel estimates.
Read more: ReachOut’s advanced route optimization capability
Route optimization improves fuel efficiency. A survey by Nissan and the University of California, Riverside, reveals that field service systems using traffic data help reduce average travel time by 16.2%. This saves 10 minutes of travel time and improves fuel economy by 7.8%. The savings are humongous when extrapolated for the year. As a result, field service enterprises can save time for both customers and themselves and improve their competitiveness.
Route optimization also improves utilization ratios. With inefficient dispatching, field agents spend more time behind the wheel than at customer premises. This leads to low utilization rates for technicians and equipment. The average cost to service a customer increases, affecting the competitiveness of the business.
Route optimization improves scheduling accuracy and improves predictability. In addition, the software considers traffic jams and other obstacles to make accurate ETA predictions. Customers may track the GPS-enabled field agent through a customer-facing app.
Read more: Top 5 Ways ReachOut Suite Helps Maintain a Skilled and Competent Field Service Workforce
ReachOut enables enterprises to optimize schedules based on business-driven constraints. The route planning software assigns each job in order of importance. ReachOut’s automated system:
ReachOut’s intelligent route optimization software combines turn-by-turn directions with predictive and real-time traffic. This saves time and unnecessary costs while boosting employee and customer satisfaction.
AI-based route optimization improves employee productivity by 68%. In addition, it reduces overheads related to scheduling by 15%.
Delays frustrate both customers and employees. When field agents travel through non-optimized routes, they spend more time on the road than servicing clients. This affects their productivity and morale. Frustrated employees change jobs, increasing the HR costs for the enterprise. The enterprise incurs extra costs of recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees. As the new employee goes through the learning curve, efficiency takes a back seat. The departing employee may leave with a corpus of innate knowledge regarding the customer or the machinery. It is challenging to capture or transfer such knowledge.
Read more: Top 10 Tips for Effective Job Management
Route optimization improves the control, accountability, and traceability of field agents. Route planning software helps supervisors maintain control in the spread-out stage of field operations.
ReachOut field service software helps improve time management. Its GPS-enabled system keeps track of travel time, time spent at the client premises, and the time taken from starting the work to generating the invoice. Managers and supervisors get such information at their fingertips. These insights improve the quality of supervision. Better supervision means better compliance with service standards.
Read more: 4 Ways a Field Service Software Simplifies Team Routing
Scheduling and dispatching in field service are never static. A new emergency job request may need immediate attention. A field agent may call in sick or arrive late. Some work extends way beyond the expected resolution time, delaying next-in-line jobs.
Consider a water pipe burst, which requires immediate resolution. The automated system searches for the nearest qualified field technician competent to do the job. For example, one technician could be five kilometers away, whereas another technician could be ten kilometers away. But the technician ten kilometers away may have direct signal-free highway access to the worksite. The technician five kilometers away may have to navigate three traffic signals and peak hour traffic to reach the worksite. The technician, ten kilometers away, though physically further, would arrive at the worksite faster.
ReachOut automated route optimization makes such last-minute changes effortless. The scheduling software identifies the best available field agent to rush to the site. Real-time alerts keep every stakeholder in the loop. When a job is at risk of missing Service Agreement timeframes because the assigned technician has to resolve an emergency elsewhere, the system reassigns the work order to the next available field agent.
Read more: How ReachOut Suite Streamlines Work Order Management in 2021
Route optimization improves safety during the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. A route planning software ensures the field agent transverses through safe routes, avoiding COVID-19 hotspots, containment zones, and other high-risk areas.
Field service providers have to meet customer expectations while keeping costs in check. Success depends on balancing costs and other business considerations with customer expectations. ReachOut route optimization software delivers routing efficiency while ensuring customer satisfaction.
Watch video: ReachOut Plan my Route
Get the shortest and cost-efficient route option to chosen job locations and minimize travel time by adopting ReachOut field service software. Contact us to learn more.
Aarathy is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at ReachOut Suite. She is majorly into content marketing and focuses on getting the messaging right across a host of marketing collaterals. While not working on content, you can find her juggling SEO, social media, branding and more. She enjoys exploring new frontiers in digital marketing and the associated challenges keep her going.
More posts by Aarathy