Optimizing Field Service Dispatching and Route Management
It’s quite obvious that optimized dispatching and route planning can boost your field service business’s efficiency, profitability, and overall growth, but it’s also a very significant factor that can propel your business ahead of other competing field service companies. That’s because long wait times, delays, and inability to meet emergency service requests will drive your customers to request field service from other companies.
From your business’s point of view, your concerns center around minimizing travel time and inventory costs. On the other hand, the number one thing that customers care about is your ability to dispatch technicians that start and finish job requests quicker than your competitors – and it all starts with dispatching and field service route planning.
Optimizing Field Service Scheduling and Dispatching
When your field service business is still taking off, scheduling and dispatching technicians to the requested jobs can be done manually or with basic software. But as your business grows, there are three components of field service dispatching that you must optimize in order to retain customers and improve profitability:
1. Geographic Scheduling
It is not ideal when your technicians need to drive back and forth across town to meet their assigned jobs in order, when in reality, there may have been another technician that was closer by and more qualified to service that job. Poor scheduling results in service delays, reduced service capacity per day, extra costs, and dissatisfaction in both your customers and technicians.
With a modern field service management solution like Acumatica, the smart scheduling system will suggest technicians for jobs based on availability, qualifications for the job, and shortest travel time, while ensuring that assigned jobs never overlap. Moreover, with Google Maps integrated into the scheduling system, managers can better visualize where job locations and technicians are relative to each other, helping you plan the most ergonomic route.
2. Routing Adjustments
While dispatching is planned at least a day in advance, unexpected changes such as emergency calls or last-minute cancellations are inevitable in the field service industry.
That’s why managers need a solution that not only allows for easy rescheduling, but also assists in rescheduling. Acumatica Field Service Edition has a visual dispatch board that helps scheduling managers see the schedule as a whole and try out various different rescheduling options to find the best solution.
3. Inventory & Other Variables
One of the biggest challenges in field servicing is ensuring that your dispatched technicians have the right equipment and parts inventory for the job. When scheduling and inventory tracking are done through two disconnected systems, there are bound to be mismatches.
Acumatica Field Service Edition has interconnected scheduling, route planning, and inventory management systems that speak to each other in real-time. This helps managers directly assign inventory to job appointments or check the equipment available on a vehicle while scheduling a servicing technician, preventing cases of insufficient equipment. Moreover, Acumatica automatically records customer information, sends notifications for any changes, immediately updates any changes in job details so employees are informed and prepared.
Optimizing Field Service Route Planning
Nobody knows the perfect route better than an experienced field technician that is familiar with the city – except Acumatica Route Planning, built on GPS and AI-powered technology. Route planning should not be based on just a strong understanding of the geographic location, as the real optimal route is heavily dependent on traffic and road conditions.
Embedded with Google Maps, Acumatica’s Route Planning will automatically route technicians aiming for both shortest travel time and shortest distance, taking into account real-time road blockages and traffic congestion. The system will also automatically reroute if new road conditions are updated or if technicians accidentally drive off their path.
The Role of Cloud Mobile Technology
Of course, optimized rescheduling and rerouting would be meaningless if it cannot be easily communicated to team members on the road. The number one advantage of advanced cloud-based field service management software is the real-time data that allows all personnel to be updated with the most recent information and plan.
Field service businesses can thrive when all the same field service management systems are available through mobile devices. Acumatica Mobile App allows technicians to bring all the real-time information with them at all times, including details on the job requirements, customer, warranties, and any notes.
The Role of a Comprehensive Dashboard
For the management team, further optimization of field service dispatching and route planning can be achieved with the right data metrics at hand. Acumatica found that field service managers like their dashboard to update them on job statuses, such as number of requests pending approval, number of jobs in progress, or number of vehicles missing inventory parts.
Acumatica’s Field Service dashboard also shows performance metrics like revenue, recurring contracts, and lost contracts that can be filtered by job type or location. These KPIs help field service managers revisit why certain areas of the business are performing better or worse, and make improvements on future dispatching.
Why Choose Acumatica Field Service Management
Acumatica’s mobile accessibility, secure cloud, customizable functionalities, and intuitive dashboard are appealing to virtually every industry, but the Acumatica Field Service Edition is designed to directly optimize field service operations, like dispatching and route planning.