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VEHICLE INSPECTION SERVICE TRANSFORMED WITH ADVANCED SCHEDULING SOFTWARE


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F reight Transport Association (FTA) is transforming its Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) by deploying FAST LEAN SMART (FLS) real-time automated software to introduce a new, more efficient work scheduling process in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

FTA is the only organisation in the UK to represent the entire logistics industry, with more than 17,000 member organisations across all modes of transport. It represents the interests of its members on all matters that affect the sector, from Brexit to rail freight costs to UK fuel duty. It also provides training and business services to members, and vehicle inspections and compliance are a key part of this offering.

Until now, coordinating these inspections has been entirely manual. “There was no centralised system so engineers had to schedule their own work,” says Matt Doherty, Head of Technology at FTA. “This was a protracted process and their time was not being used efficiently. A long chain of phone calls and emails between administrators, engineers and customers, also meant communication lines were not as clear as they could be. We needed a system that could book inspections centrally and automatically, shorten travel times and empower our engineers to be more productive.”

FTA looked at four providers of scheduling and route optimisation software before deciding on FAST LEAN SMART. FLS VISITOUR automatically schedules FTA’s vehicle inspection appointments in real-time in the most optimal and efficient way possible, matching the right engineer with the right job according to multiple variables. These include job duration and prioritisation, engineer location, availability and skill set, and speed profiles for accurate journey time with predicted traffic. FTA will also be implementing FLS MOBILE, which will facilitate communication between FTA’s engineers and back office staff and provide automated warnings if an appointment might be missed.

Matt continued “FLS VISITOUR will reduce overhead for our engineers, allowing them to get more jobs done in the same amount of time, but not compromise the service we provide to our members. FLS enables us to be more flexible and offer end-customers a reliable, efficient and timely service along with a wider array of service options. Everybody wins!”

Another important benefit for FTA is that FLS software is fully configurable and capable of adapting to fast-changing end-customer needs without assistance from FLS. This enables FTA to offer a continually evolving and improving level of service to members with relative ease and independence. Matt says, “Part of our roadmap for the future will be to enable customers to book their own inspections via a self-service portal, which FLS makes possible. This will give them more control and more visibility.”

However, while important, FTA ultimately chose FLS for a different reason. Matt explains, “FLS offered exactly what we needed in terms of scheduling optimisation. But the real reason we chose them was that we knew, with FLS, we wouldn’t just be getting software. We’d be getting a partnership. We interviewed their clients and could see that FLS continues to work closely with them post-deployment to ensure that the software has a positive impact on their business. Their approach is very collaborative and we liked that.”

FTA will incorporate FLS VISITOUR within its forthcoming Microsoft Dynamics 365 deployment and Matt is feeling very positive about the transformative change to their vehicle inspections operation. He says, “Right from when we met FLS at the Copperberg Field Service Summit, we’ve always found the team to be very friendly, amenable and helpful. Their workshops have been professional, detailed and very clear as to everybody’s roles and expectations. This implementation is a big change for FTA and its members but with FLS’s customer-centric approach we know we are in good hands.”