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HOW MODERN SOFTWARE FOR FIELD SERVICE DISPATCH OPTIMISES PLANNING TEAMS
4 min. reading time
02 December 2021 ·
James Alex Waldron
he work of dispatchers has a great influence on quality, cost, and customer success in field service. Specialist software for dispatchers and scheduling teams support and assist planners to increase company productivity.
When planning the deployment of field staff and service technicians, dispatchers deal with a multitude of tasks and calculations. The greater the number of job orders, addresses, and employee resources, the greater the complexity. In recent times, unpredictable events such as illness-related absences continue to thwart manual planning.
All of this makes the coordination of employees in the field increasingly demanding. Organisations discover that as soon as any of these scheduling parameters reaches a certain size, the everyday mosaic of basic tools can do more damage that good; and a purpose-built, always-on, and self-learning solution is required.
A truly assistive software for dispatchers includes tools that:
makes short and long term work easier
reduces the need to increase team headcount, especially with a reliance on local/patch knowledge
reduces any chance of human error
increases the productivity of the field force and profitability of the company
The key to this is the digital automation of dispatch processes, the correct parameterisation, and smart algorithms to determine optimal schedules and route planning.
SOFTWARE BUILT TO OPTIMISE DISPATCH TEAMS
Software for field disptach teams has two main goals: the full use of resources and high (cost) efficiency. As a result, this leads to higher customer satisfaction, less stress, and an increase in productivity.
The right software for dispatchers overcomes common stresses and challenges, and helps companies to achieve more transparency throughout their processes and workflows. It also enables better communication between the dispatch desk at head office and field service, with customers and with management. How does this work?
FLS VISITOUR - ★★★★★ SOFTWARE FOR DISPATCH PROFESSIONALS
FLS VISITOUR offers a best-of-breed solution for the dispatch of field resources. The technology works in the background to lead your scheduling and route planning for field service resources. The heart of this modern software for dispatchers is an algorithm.
This seamlessly calculates the optimal planning of field deployment; accounting for all restrictions, including your unique specifications and SLAs. An example; the respective skills and qualifications of your field employees. The algorithm finds the optimal distribution and assignment of works orders and automatically avoids conflicts.
OPTIMISED ROUTES AND TOURS MEANS MORE CUSTOMERS SERVED
The output of this optimised schedule and route planning proves to dispatch teams the great potential to increase the productivity of the field force and service. In short, the organisation can serve more customers, using the same resources, and in a less frantic manner.
With a dispatch planning solution such as FLS VISITOUR, dispatchers can choose between manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic planning. The nature of this control can be found in features. For example here, the platform provides the deployment plan with the individual works orders for each employee in a Gantt Chart. With the help of the visually transparent Gantt chart, dispatchers have an overview of all available resources at all times and can thus react to changes in real time.
Field Service Control for an Excellent Customer Experience
ROUTE PLANNING ACCURATE TO STREET AND HOUSE NUMBER
The results of the scheduling and route dispatch work only makes sense if they are realistic. A critical component of software is therefore a calculation on the basis of routes that are precise to the street, and destination addresses that are precise to house numbers. Simply planning between road junctions and 'guesstimating' driving times is not appropriate support.
FLS VISITOUR makes use of raw data from the provider TomTom as the basis for our maps. The European market leader for navigation systems does not only have navigation devices and road maps available, but also global geospatial data. We refine the raw data with further information relevant to dispatch teams, gathered for over 25 years.
ANOTHER WIN FOR DISPATCH TEAMS: REACT IN REAL TIME
It's a well known stress factor: dispatchers must face ad hoc changes. Here, too, an algorithm should be successful through its ability to react to unexpected events in real time. FLS VISITOUR software supports dispatchers in recognising changes and rescheduling them accordingly within seconds. Whether in the event of an employee absenteeism, a customer cancellation, or an emergency call, the system continuously optimises order processing. This real-time planning is another winning factor in increasing productivity and assisting the optimisation of the entire dispatch team.
SIMPLIFIED PLANNING AND FAST PROCESSES
Software for dispatchers simplifies planning considerably. The automated processes accelerate the entire schedule and route planning and reduce the susceptibility to errors. The software automatically detects conflicts and reacts precisely, removing further optimisation pressures. However, despite these many gains of efficiency, dispatch team members need not worry that the software will optimise them out of their role. This is discussed further below.
FIELD DISPATCH AT SCALE
An intelligent algorithm does not care whether it plans 20 or 200 field service resources. Together with your software provider, you adjust the system to your needs, and the computing power takes care of the rest. Suitable software for dispatch teams should be able to grow with your organisation, i.e. it is scalable.
It is also clear that a modern solution does not stand on its own; it 'talks' to the entire business via connection to an ERP and/or CRM . The integration of a customer-facing portal as well as native mobile applications for employees and field resources (technicians/engineers) are value-added methods to optimise the work of dispatchers. The team may offer customers (already cost-optimised) preferred dates and windows, and your employees are linked live through the Field service app—always supplied with all order-relevant data, past and present.
OPTIMISED DISPATCH TEAMS STAY WHERE THEY ARE
Do dispatch professionals need to fear a dimished role as a result of the comprehensive increase in efficiency? The experiences of our customers show otherwise.
Specialist software changes the task of the dispatcher. As everyday workloads become easier, space is created for strategic tasks and emergency management. Dispatchers can work on simulations (what-if scenarios) that will optimise future deployment planning, including taking on new contracts, field resources, and warehouse locations. In addition, customer case studies prove communication with customers and field staff improves. Another reported outcome: choosing modern software improves dispatch teams' job satisfaction and can make time available for upskilling to increase the overall professionalism in the department.
BY THE NUMBERS: DISPATCH TEAM OPTIMISATION
Our customer projects show again and again: The introduction of specialist software for dispatchers leads to concrete results. For example, the pay TV provider Sky has increased its productivity by 72%, reduced travel times by 41% and measurably increased its service quality. (Read the Sky case study ).
Market-leader for heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and solar, Wolf Heiztechnik, reduced its appointment time window from 4 to 2 hours and has achieved a time saving of 50% in the dispatch scheduling department. (Read the Wolf case study).