Scheduling jobs for installation services entails assigning work crews to open work orders. But scheduling is seldom as easy as assigning the nearest or next-in-line crew to the work order. Too many variables and uncertainties make scheduling a complex and stressful task.

Why is crew scheduling essential?

Crew scheduling is an integral part of the field installation service. Without scheduling, the operations end up in chaos. Scheduling helps the service provider control operations. The installation jobs get done in an organized, cost-effective manner.

The scheduler has to identify the nearest crew to the location of the installation site. Otherwise, the crew travels from one end of the city to the next, wasting time and fuel. The operations become inefficient and unviable. Most schedulers schedule the next day’s job by plotting the crew’s schedule so they do not have to criss-cross the town to take up work assignments.

Also, not all installation jobs are equal. Some jobs may require special expertise. The scheduler assesses the skill sets and experience of the crew. Next, they shortlist the crew competent to execute the job from the pool.

The viability of the installation service depends on optimizing scheduling. Optimizing scheduling ensures first-time fixes, improves efficiency, and reduces operational costs. Installation is a resource-heavy and time-consuming task. Unoptimized scheduling fritters away the energy of the work crew, leading to delays and sub-quality work output. Reducing operations costs enables service providers to operate in a competitive environment. They can keep their rates competitive even when operating with tight margins.

Benefits of optimizing scheduling

Optimizing scheduling, so installation crews spend the least time traveling delivers multiple benefits.

  • Improved crew productivity. Efficient scheduling allows field technicians to complete more jobs during work hours. Productive employees get more satisfaction from their jobs and are more committed to their job. Such committed and satisfied employees are less likely to leave as a spin-off benefit. The enterprise saves HR costs owing to the resultant low turnover.
  • Improved asset utilization ratio. Streamlined, efficient scheduling improves asset utilization ratios. The service provider gets more work done during the limited working hours. Crew vehicles reduce wasteful travel and get optimal mileage. Work tools and consumables with fixed time validity get used more. The enterprise also lowers overtime costs.
  • Better customer satisfaction. Optimizing crew scheduling improves customer satisfaction. Customers get an accurate ETA of the crew’s arrival, improving the predictability of service. The time to completion of the job done reduces.

Read more: 7 Factors To Consider While Optimizing Your Field Service Scheduling

Choosing the right software!

The field service management suite improves scheduling. Scheduling installation jobs using spreadsheets, or even with basic software, has its limitations. To improve efficiency and delight customers, it is crucial to select the right software.

1. Matching crews with jobs

The latest, state-of-the-art field service software automates crew scheduling. Intelligent algorithms match open work orders with technicians. The suite maintains skills depositories detailing field crews’ skills, certifications, qualifications, and experience. The field service software refers to the skill requirement from the work order. It matches the same with the skills depository to shortlist the field crews with the requisite skills. The suite then assigns the nearest qualified field crew for the job.

2. Leaves and changes

Field service management is a dynamic exercise. The variables keep on changing by the day. A schedule, once set, can change many times before the work finally gets executed.

A good field management suite links leave processing with scheduling. One of the leading causes of scheduling conflicts is leaves. Employees take casual and annual leave. Or they may call in sick. Alternatively, customers may call in and request a change in the scheduled slot.

In field service, any change to a set schedule has a cascading effect. The scheduler will have to find a replacement to fulfill the jobs already assigned to the employee on leave. Or else, they will have to find a crew to accommodate the new slot requested by the customer. Failure to do either risk the work getting delayed, causing customer discontent. Delayed work may even have legal implications, as the service provider may not meet agreed-upon timelines. Reassigning crew as cover often requires changing the work already assigned to such replacement crews. The stakeholders, especially the reassigned crew, need notification of such changes. Often they miss such alerts. The net result is confusion. Instances of two work crew teams turning up for the same installation job are commonplace.

How ReachOut Suite makes the right partner for scheduling?

ReachOut field service software is perfect for scheduling installation jobs. The suite offers all the basic features in a standard field management suite and much more.

Native integration with the inventory management suite ensures the availability of tools and spares. The scheduler assigns the job after ensuring the availability of spares. First-time fix ratios improve.

Native integration with leave management software makes scheduling easier. Work crews may submit time-off requests through their version of the field service app. They may make edits to their requests through the same app. They also get approvals and notifications through the app itself. 

Schedulers assign jobs after considering the approved leaves and inventory availability. The scheduling dashboard offers views of assigned jobs, leaves, and other relevant information. Timely reminders to the field crew before the appointed time enables them to proceed to the work site on time.

Easy calendar views clarify the status of ongoing work and work in the pipelines. The easy drag-and-drop interface allows the scheduler to assign tasks to field crews, depending on their availability. Advanced scheduling features enable schedulers to:

  • Assign work to teams and fix responsibilities for individual team members.
  • Define work time, holidays, and other business closures, to ensure scheduling takes place only during the desired time.

Read more: 6 Ways ReachOut Route Optimization Software Helps Attain Customer Delight

The route optimization feature guides the field crew to the work site’s quickest and most cost-effective route. Integration with maps guides the crew through the best routes, considering traffic or other holds up. A shorter route may not always be the best route. On-time productivity ratios and customer satisfaction improve.

ReachOut tops off its powerful feature-set with robust back-end infrastructure. The enterprise edition provides advanced hosting options, integrated access control policies, streamlined user roles, and audit logging. ReachOut is the best field service software for installation service providers.

Why not Sign Up for Free today and see for yourself?

Digitize your field service operations from scheduling to invoicing with ReachOut. Connect your technicians with the companion mobile app to execute jobs and reduce paperwork in the field. Try ReachOut now and give your customers the fast and quality service they deserve.

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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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