RIGHT TECHNICIAN, RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME, SO WHAT? A Mobile Workforce Management ebook

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1 RIGHT TECHNICIAN, RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME, SO WHAT? A Mobile Workforce Management ebook

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Why Schedule Optimization Should Be Your Most Important Field Service Project This Year How Does Schedule Optimization Work? Spotlight On Intelligent Real-Time Scheduling Business Challenges And Opportunities Created By Optimized Scheduling Some Dimensions Of Dynamic Scheduling Constraints Within Optimized Scheduling Continual Optimization Introducing IFS Mobile Workforce Management A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 2

3 Why Schedule Optimization Should Be Your Most Important Field Service Project This Year What is it? Schedule optimization is the process of creating highly efficient plans for your mobile workforce while considering business goals, priorities, constraints, value, and constantly changing conditions. What does schedule optimization achieve? HAPPIER CUSTOMERS MORE REVENUE BETTER SLA COMPLIANCE HIGHER SERVICE MARGINS REDUCED OPERATIONAL COSTS A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 3

4 How Does Schedule Optimization Work? SCHEDULE QUALITY CONTINUOUS SCHEDULE OPTIMIZATION Multiple algorithms (artificial intelligence) constantly search for the best possible schedule in real-time and react to new data received every second. Reacts in real-time to changes in the schedule ensuring that efficiency is maximized and goals are continually met throughout the day even when faced with stresses such as call-outs, emergencies, traffic, etc. Ensures business goals are being met without any guesswork. RULES-BASED SCHEDULING (Rules also known as Constraints) Rules-based scheduling involves an automated element to the schedule - computerized logic automatically builds out the schedule based on basic factors like skill sets and availability. The schedule is not shuffled once a job or work-order has been set in place - leaving white space and underutilized technicians and opportunities. This does not achieve the highest level of efficiency or effectiveness possible. Rules may seem sensible but rigid rules constrain the performance of the schedule too much to make it effective. MANUAL SCHEDULING A user builds and manages the field service schedule manually. Typically done using Microsoft Outlook or a similar interface - or even a whiteboard. Is also referred to as drag-anddrop scheduling. Affected by human capacity and emotions (human error). Gives the dispatcher too much power and control without them necessarily having an holistic view of the entire schedule (decisions tend to be very localized). Doesn t take into account travel (and if so this is also manual) and iis too complicated to manage with higher work volume and complexities. A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 4

5 Spotlight on Intelligent Real-Time Scheduling (also known as Dynamic Scheduling) An intelligent dynamic schedule engine works on maximizing the plans net value to your business based on company objectives (service levels, contracts, etc.), customer requirements (appointment times, location, etc.) and field resources (skills, shifts, etc.) which results in the best possible schedule at that moment in time. Whether technicians call in sick, an emergency occurs (like a downed power line, a commercial refrigerator breaks in the middle of summer, etc.), there is unpredictable traffic, or a customer cancels their appointment, the schedule consistently and constantly shifts to ensure that technician utilization is maximized and the most number of customer commitments are met. This is decision-support at its finest. The best schedule is produced and then continually enhanced in the most efficient and costeffective manner, without the need for manual (human) intervention. A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 5

6 Business Challenges and Opportunities Created by Optimized Scheduling CHALLENGES Meeting on-time arrival goals OPPORTUNITIES A promise made, a promise kept Rising fuel costs Improve SLA compliance Low workforce visibility Lack of control over workforce Time taken to respond to emergencies Contractual SLA penalties Balancing planned and reactive work effectively Cumbersome manual processes Providing inconsistent service to customers Poor data from the field Improve workforce productivity Run service business as a profit center Offer different levels of service Gain competitive advantage Reduce Travel Costs Reduce environmental impact Impress your customers Uber-ize your service A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 6

7 Some Dimensions of Dynamic Scheduling GEOGRAPHY Where is the job located? The geography dictates who is going to work on what open activity. It is important to know where a technician starts and ends their day relative to their primary work zone. Are they close to where their service activities occur or do they have excessive drive time or even flying time? This could cause excessive overtime, or very unproductive windshield time. TIME How long will the job take? All scheduling decisions are weighted against time. For instance, where a technician is currently located, who is on time and who is running late, how far do they have to travel to their next job, etc.? The same can said about the value of a service call to your business. The customer s happiness is not static. There is some amount of time when your response is adequate, and after that it because less than adequate, or it becomes more expensive for you to deliver. This is sliding curve that not even the brightest dispatcher can evaluate in real-time. A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 7

8 CAPACITY WORK Who is available to take the job? Capacity is the number of resources needed to address the anticipated workload. This could also include contractors or authorized service partners. This capacity needs to address emergency work, appointed work, and planned work. It also addresses how work rosters are planned so that you have adequate coverage. Parts come into play here because parts availability has to match up with the resource to deliver the work. What does the job entail? The work itself is defined when the job is created. It could be an urgent job that requires immediate attention, or it could be a PM job that would be inserted given proximity or availability of a technician to perform that work. These factors make sure you have the right person at the right time. REQUIREMENTS What is required to complete the job? Rules usually define who you can send to job. Do they have the skills, certifications or even travel visas? Are they qualified to do the task they are being asked to perform? Are they close enough to justify being sent to a service call, or is the drive or travel time prohibitive? Do they have the right parts to complete the job? A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 8

9 Constraints Within Optimized Scheduling While rules (or constraints) provide a strong guidance to the optimization algorithms so they can produce and maintain the most efficient and effective schedule (for example, you or your customers wouldn t want you to schedule a technician who doesn t have the skills to get the job done), such constraints can be too inflexible. Only the best optimized scheduling will act in the following (optimal) way: CONSTRAINT SCENARIO 1 Limit the travel distance from home to a maximum of two hours INFLEXIBLE CONSTRAINT With a hard (inflexible) travel constraint, the schedule wouldn t send a technician with the right skills to a job two hours and five minutes away, even if he was able to meet the SLA and the technician in the closer region didn t have the skill set - because the constraint has been set at a maximum of two hours. THE OPTIMAL WAY Instead of sending the technician in the closer region to the job (the one with lower skills) and rigidly enforcing the constraining drivetime limit, it is most pragmatic to allow this limit to apply a degree of (pre-determined) flexibility and be exceeded up to another given level. This creates a more efficient schedule which contains a higher degree of schedule optimization. A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 9

10 Constraints Within Optimized Scheduling CONSTRAINT SCENARIO 2 Schedule a technician to arrive within the agreed Service Level window thus meeting any contractual SLA INFLEXIBLE CONSTRAINT A hard constraint wouldn t schedule a nearby technician who would arrive one minute late for a job (that violates the SLA without a penalty) - but instead might send a technician that could meet the SLA time wise but with a much greater travel distance. This could be a costly decision for such a marginal SLAbased decision. THE OPTIMAL WAY Due to the fact that SLAachievement performance is usually measured as the average response over the measurement period (such as a week or a month), it is more pragmatic and flexible to send the technician that would be one minute late by allowing the optimization to apply a degree of flexibility above this limit. This creates a more efficient schedule which contains a higher degree of schedule optimization at no real detriment to customer satisfaction. There are many other examples of where the rigid enforcement of some constraints can be detrimental to the overall optimization of the schedule. Limiting overtime to, say, 60 minutes is another one where a technician who needs just 62 minutes would be overridden by a technician who may need to travel much further just for the sake of a few minutes of overtime. Just because the rule applies a standard constraint, it doesn t mean that this always makes sense. A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 10

11 Constraints Within Optimized Scheduling CAPACITY 3 x 10 = 30 JOBS ACTUAL = 25 JOBS LOST PRODUCTIVITY 16% FIXED BOUNDARIES A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 11

12 Constraints Within Optimized Scheduling CAPACITY 3 x 10 = 30 JOBS ACTUAL = 30 JOBS LOST PRODUCTIVITY 0% IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY FLEXIBLE BOUNDARIES A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 12

13 Continual Optimization Reacting to real world events New Jobs Called in sick Travel Delays Changing Priorities Follow up Required REAL WORLD EVENTS Extreme Weather Events Jobs Overrun Internal Work The faster you can react to events The better your schedule is! A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 13

14 SO RIGHT PERSON RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME RIGHT TOOLS RIGHT SKILLS RIGHT PARTS But this is only one piece of the field service scheduling puzzle A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 14

15 Optimized Scheduling of a Mobile Workforce SHOULD Give You Complete Visibility of the Field - On Three Levels. VISION EXECUTIVES STRATEGY SERVICE MANAGERS EXECUTION CUSTOMER SUPPORT/FIELD SERVICE Business analytics give visibility into past, present and future field performance Field resource forecasting and scenario planning helps prepare for future Guidance in setting future business goals related to field service Managers can use data from existing schedule to plan for future resource needs Business goals can be executed using forecasting tools to plan resources, alter constraints, and add rules Jobs pushed to mobile devices Technicians have access to time sheets, invoicing, schematics, picture & video capabilities, etc. Dispatchers can see where technicians are and active status of their jobs Visibility of constraints & dimensions A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 15

16 Introducing IFS Mobile Workforce Management Improve your mobile workforce performance, increase productivity, and impress you customers. Optimized end-to-end service delivery with: A dynamic scheduling engine that continuously optimizes in real-time Forecasting and planning tools that help you prepare for the future and capitalize on the present Agile Enterprise Service Management software that changes to fit your business, not the other way around Predictive intelligence based on real-time updates and embedded analytics Flexible, powerful mobile applications that run on Android, ios and Windows - on your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. MOBILE WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT A Mobile Workforce Management ebook 16

17 LEARN MORE... ABOUT IFS MOBILE WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT Schedule your demo of the fastest scheduling optimization solution on the market today. Visit us online at or us at About IFS IFS is a globally recognized leader in developing and delivering business software for enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) and enterprise service management (ESM). IFS brings customers in targeted sectors closer to their business, helps them be more agile and enables them to profit from change. IFS is a public company (XSTO: IFS) founded in 1983 and currently has over 2,700 employees. IFS supports more than 2,400 customers worldwide from its network of local offices and through a growing ecosystem of partners. For more information visit: Follow us on Visit the IFS Blogs on technology, innovation and creativity: blogs.ifsworld.com

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