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