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Crew management, or assigning people to jobs, is no easy task. It is rarely as straightforward as keeping a roster of employees and assigning tasks to them as and when work comes by.

The spread-out and uncertain nature of operations make scheduling and managing crew hard. Today’s dynamic and fast-paced work environment increases complexity.

Read more: Top 10 Tips for Effective Job Management

The rising challenges in managing field workers

Assigning and managing field crew often faces the following challenges:

  • Inequitable nature of tasks. Not all tasks are equal. Some tasks have complex requirements that only experienced or familiar crew members can execute. Some high-value clients may prefer the crew who previously fixed the equipment to come over again.
  • The nature of the work. Some work may need an immediate response. Attending such tasks may require pulling crew away from their scheduled jobs.
  • Changes in work. The details of the work may change from the work order specifications. When a work crew inspects the site, they may find the situation different from what the customer mentioned while placing the work order.
  • Unexpected changes to crew requirements. The client may cancel the work or request rescheduling. Some crew members may call in sick or request an exchange of their shift.

In such eventualities, the job in focus and the schedule of downstream job changes. Making such changes is vexatious, complex, and stressful. Moreover, manual scheduling often results in errors, which worsens the situation. Situations such as two crew members turning up to do the same job or a promised job unattended owing to some mix-up are commonplace.

Automated field crew management software pre-empts such issues. An intelligent algorithm matches open jobs to the crew. It processes all changes automatically and changes the downstream jobs affected by such changes. Notifications and alerts keep the crew and customers in the loop on all changes and upcoming schedules.

Read more: 7 Actionable Tips for Effective Inventory Management

What is crew management software?

Managers use field crew management software to assign tasks to their field employees and manage their shifts. The suite helps businesses make sure the right crew members reach the right place at the right time.

Best-in-breed software, such as ReachOut:

  • Assigns qualified crew members for any job. A skills repository stores the profile of each crew member and considers only qualified crew members for any task.
  • Tracks attendance and automates timesheets. Crew members may check in and check out of their worksites using their smartphone app. The geolocation capabilities offer an extra layer of checks.
  • Decides the best route. Makes sure the assigned crew reaches their work destination through the best route, which need not always be the shortest route.
  • Monitors work progress. The suite leverages smartphone geolocation capabilities to track crew members in real-time. Top crew management software integrates with maps. The suite offers the best routes based on real-time traffic information.
  • Ensures robust communication among team members and supervisors. All communication goes through structured channels with easy traceability.

Why invest in field crew management software?

Field crew management software is useful for any business which has field operations. Investing in such software delivers many benefits.

Work becomes easy and manageable. The software eliminates manual work in scheduling and managing crew. It reduces the stress of managers and the operations team. They may focus their energies on core tasks rather than become bogged down by routine, unproductive jobs.

Process accuracy improves. The software assigns the right crew for the job. The algorithm shortlists crew members who have the qualifications and experience to do the job. Next, it sees the crew members or team nearest to the worksite to ensure they can reach the worksite with minimal traveling. The algorithm also considers factors such as:

  • The scheduled off-time of the crew, and if assigning new work, will lead to overtime.
  • The company working hours and holidays.
  • If the crew has given leave applications for the dates in question.

In such instances, the software applies the laid down strategy fed into the algorithm, as per the company policy.

Schedules become optimized. The crew management software makes adding or removing crew members from a project easy. Supervisors may also assign specific responsibilities to each team member. Fixing hourly costs for each crew member, based on their skills and experiences, makes invoicing easy.

First-time fix ratios improve. The intelligent scheduling and dispatching capabilities of the suite ensure the crew goes with the right tools. The best suite integrates with inventory management and other software. It ensures the crew goes to the work site equipped with the right tools.

The investment in field crew management software is cost-effective compared to manual scheduling. Manual scheduling is often a full-time job for a staff member.

Read more: Top 5 Ways ReachOut Suite Helps Maintain a Skilled and Competent Field Service Workforce

How a company can identify the need for a crew management software

Field crew management software delivers several benefits. But does your company need crew management software? If you answer yes to these questions, you need crew management software straightaway.

  • Does your staff struggle with preparing schedules, generating invoices, or collecting payments?
  • Are your first-time fix rates poor? Does the crew have to visit the customer site repeatedly to get the work done?
  • Does customer care receive many complaints on service delays or incompetent technicians sent for the job?
  • Is your staff utilization rates poor? Do they spend too much time idling or traveling rather than doing their job?

If you answer no to any of the above questions, you might still need crew management software. As the business landscape changes, businesses may struggle to keep up with their service standards. A field crew management software offers a robust template for keeping up with the changes and future-proof the business.

State-of-the-art field crew management software such as ReachOut offers automated scheduling capabilities. An easy drag-and-drop calendar makes it easy to assign work to teams. The suite integrates with the wider enterprise system and takes care of all the facets of crew management. Apart from automating scheduling and dispatching, it also enables enterprises to:

  • Streamline workflows
  • Conduct audits and inspections easily
  • Generate invoices and collect payments as soon as work is over

Crew members, managers, customers, and others may access relevant resources through smartphone apps. Neat dashboards integrate information, offering everything the crew or other stakeholder needs.

To know more about how ReachOut can assist you in field crew management, reach out to our experts.

Sachin Krishna

Sachin works as a part of the digital marketing team at ReachOut Suite. He believes in a healthy and resourceful web and does his own little contributions for the purpose by creating and disseminating innovative and quality content.

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