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PROFESSIONAL ROUTE PLANNING SOFTWARE: ARE YOU READY?



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    26 July 2021 ·     Jonas Hansen
A utomation and optimisation are common terms of professional daily life. Critical KPIs involve time savings and cost reduction. In companies that operate a field service business model, said efficiency parameters will always play a big role and catch the attention of route planning software.

The type of work order is generally irrelevant. Any industry that covers long distances and service regions strives for efficiency. According to the well-known physics formula 'work = force x distance'. Does this mean that shorter distances and less effort simplify or even improve the work? A route planning platform is supposed to fix this, but is a route planning tool worthwhile for every business? And is your business ready?


ROUTE PLANNING SOFTWARE: A SIMPLE SUPPLEMENT OR A DECISIVE WORK TOOL?

When do you make the decision? Every user of our route planning software is as individual as their business case. While some focus on a manual work planning approach and use a route planning tool as a supplement, others are interested in a fully automated, system-controlled route plan. This gives the ability to take on other tasks (gaining time). Ultimately, both approaches have one thing in common; the software is used at regular intervals throughout the working day. Surely, a software such as FLS VISITOUR can be rated as a decisive work tool.

How do you recognise planning sceptics in your organisation? Is it argued that planning models are relatively static? For approaches in a software environment such as Microsoft Excel, this is absolutely true and their view of a merely useful facilitation is absolutely understandable. Route planning software stands out precisely at this point. Real-time data transfer ensures that short-term cancellations, appointments and general changes such as cancellations are immediately taken into account. With a real-time tracking feature, a tracking procedure can be used to plan precisely right up to the destination address, in addition to an actual arrival time. Excel is no match.


WHICH ISSUES DETERMINE WHETHER A ROUTE PLANNING SOFTWARE IS REALLY WORTH USING?

Deciding whether route planning software is worthwhile does not depend on the industry or the size of the company, as is often assumed. In addition to the field service, all company units that drive several miles a day benefit from a system of this kind. Service technicians, engineers, construction companies, and field sales units are field staff.

The rule of thumb is a service area of around 100 existing customers. What is relevant here is that a fleet unit drives to at least four of these customers every day. If both factors fluctuate greatly, a route planning software is worthwhile from a total daily driving time of at least two hours.

Regardless of the entry points, it's the right time to adopt route planning software when you're required to optimise the following areas:

  • Kilometer/miles vs CO2 savings
  • Time saving (travel time + planning time)
  • Cost saving
  • Dynamics of work tasks vs skills
  • Employee utilisation / employee satisfaction
  • Customer satisfaction
It becomes obvious that even young companies and start-ups can benefit from route planning software. Results of intelligently balancing employee skills, (a system determines the optimal scenario to serve all customers in a service-oriented manner) means not overloading employees, building in breaks, and returning to home/base on time.


OPTIMISED ROUTE SCHEDULING SOLVES HEAD OFFICE PRESSURES

Among the greatest stress factors in everyday working life are deadline pressure and extra work. The result of this is logically stressed personnel in scheduling and field service. The end result is not particularly surprising. No matter the size of business, without the use of a route planning software, postponed appointments equal annoyed customers. Simply put, minimal efficiency and haphazard workloads lead to short-term customer relationships and, in the worst case, an increase in sick leave due to overwork within the company. It becomes even more stressful when unforeseen events occur in day-to-day business, such as last-minute sick calls or traffic jams during the journey. This pushes a static concept to its limits. With route planning software, these factors, among others, can be improved and less stress will be generated in the long run. Even spontaneous changes can be taken into account with FLS VISITOUR and compensatory measures can be taken. In addition, not only is the customer relationship extended and strengthened, but real added value in terms of customer service is achieved through real-time appointment scheduling.


WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF ROUTE PLANNING SOFTWARE?

Are disadvantages concealed or ignored? Absolutely not. The fact is that there are no direct disadvantages in the area of software. Well-known fears such as integration with existing CRM or ERP systems have been eliminated through appropriate interfaces. It is much more crucial to prepare the affected group of people through structured change management in order to eliminate possible individual fears. The user interface is clearly structured and self-explanatory. In addition, users have a contact person with solution approaches at all times through FLS Support.

Skeptics again might say, 'That's going to cost us greatly, too'. In fact, route planning software is, strictly speaking, an investment. Assuming that scheduling and field service have a regular additional expenditure of 15-30% due to rescheduling, breakdowns and unforeseen events. By using a route planning software, our customers report savings of up to 50%.


WHERE DO I BEGIN WITH ROUTE PLANNING SOFTWARE?

To gain an understanding of tools to optimise the field experience for your workforce and customers book a short discussion or contact us at info@fastleansmart.com.


Read more:
Route scheduling: outpacing timesheets and Excel
Field service automation: next generation Field service
Field service optimisation: Software to manage in-day cancellations
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