8 Scheduling & Dispatch Benefits of Automated Field Service Scheduling

Job scheduling and dispatch inefficiencies (38%) are one of the top four biggest challenges for field service operations. When it comes to scheduling and dispatching field workers, there are two main challenges that field service managers face;

  1. Quick and easy access to technician and job data
  2. Real-time overview of operations

To combat these challenges, organisations are looking to utilise more interconnected technologies such as IoT and digital solutions such as Field Service Management Software. This also meets the demand of customers, with 89% wanting to see modern technology applied to technician scheduling.

Although 52% of businesses still opt for more manual approaches to tasks, the adoption rate of field service technology is rising rapidly. And with that, comes several benefits for particular operations, including technician scheduling and dispatch processes.

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What Type of Field Jobs Do You Do?

8 Benefits of Automating Field Service Scheduling Tasks

1. Live GPS and Route Optimisation

GPS trackers are used for identifying the location of a mobile workforce. Knowing a worker’s location is essential for assigning jobs and optimising driving routes to reduce the cost of travel. Helping to reduce travel time between jobs and customers equates to 50% of lost servicing hours.

2. Real-Time Inventory Management

Real-time stock management is key to ensuring jobs are completed without delays. Inventory management plays an important role in field service scheduling. It displays the equipment, tools, and spare parts available either with technicians or in a warehouse meaning jobs can be planned for and workers can be scheduled with inventory in mind.

Alerts and notifications can also be set up to alert inventory managers when stock availability is low and replacements need purchasing.

3. One Place For All Essential Data

A key part of automated field service scheduling is being able to make quick decisions based on data. A field service management solution will store data such as technician skills, locations, inventory, work order details, and customer knowledge in one place.

This allows back-office teams and field service managers to easily analyse data and make decisions when scheduling workers, like what technician is best assigned to a job which helps improve customer service and increases the likelihood of a first-time fix.

4. See an Overview of the Entire Job Cycle

Job management features provide visibility for everyone involved in the job cycle, including tracking the progress and status of a work order. Available in one platform, managers can gain visibility of a technician’s entire job process and know how long workers are taking on a particular job whilst also being aware of areas that are taking too long. This can help schedule workers in the future, as well as react to changes.

5. Manage On-the-Go With Mobile Apps

With modernised tools and technology, job scheduling and dispatch tasks are accessible on mobile devices. These are used with cloud-based FSM solutions that allow managers to access data via an app. The main function of a dedicated scheduling app is to access data from anywhere at any time and reduce the need for workers to return to the office in-between jobs, eliminating processes such as using paper rotas. Having mobile access allows you to:

  • Check technician availability and location
  • Access job checklists
  • Update job progress and job status
  • Track spare parts and inventory
  • Visualise work order progress

6. Speed-Up Technician Dispatch

Typically suited to larger management operations, automated tools enable quicker dispatch for a large number of job assignments. This mode allows for bulk automation when scheduling technicians. When an incoming request is received, an instant decision is made based on the available data. This is also a key part of resource scheduling in project management to improve employee time efficiency.

7. Reactive Scheduling

Continuous field service scheduling modes are used to initiate a more reactive approach to activities. All decisions taken are based on real-time events in the field such as delays to technicians when en route to a job. Or the unavailability of spare parts needed for a repair.

8. AI-Assisted Field Service Scheduling

Recommended, or AI-assisted, scheduling is based on the initial requirements of a field service manager. A tool is used to analyse data and provide recommendations to optimise tasks. But, it provides the option to manually override these recommendations, allowing office staff to use a shared calendar or drag-and-drop tools to schedule technicians.

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What Type of Field Jobs Do You Do?

How to Properly Utilise Automation and Improve Your Job Scheduling

Field service scheduling tools are a key feature of any FSM Software product. They give managers the ability to automate scheduling tasks and improve the overall management of their workforce. A more precise governing of the scheduling process ensures that field workers are planned for and dispatched as efficiently as possible.

With the introduction of automated tools, field service operations can thrive. They allow you to

  • Increase the number of bookings
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Quickly adjust job schedules on the go
  • Route technicians to the nearest job

Without access to a field service scheduling system, the routine procedure is to plan jobs manually via whiteboards, spreadsheets, or paper-based rotas. However, having a manual approach to scheduling tasks can pose various challenges. Automating the scheduling process helps to reduce risks that impact the delivery of service to clients. It helps to:

Connecting Jobs and Technicians

The success of a job is typically measured by completion time and customer satisfaction metrics, as well as the first-time fix rate (FTFR). Best-performing field service providers boast an average FTFR of 88%. To achieve a good FTFR, field service managers must ensure the best technician is dispatched to the right job.

Why a high FTFR is important for improving field service scheduling

A field service scheduling system collects data regarding a technician’s skill set and job history. As well as considering schedules, workload, and location. This helps to automate the process of assigning and dispatching the most qualified workers. As well as providing back-office staff with the data to manually assign the most suited workers.

Timely Ordering and Availability of Parts

When the scheduling process becomes automated, there are multiple factors to be considered. One key consideration is the availability of inventory such as equipment and tools needed to complete a job. As well as having the right parts available to complete repairs, installations, and services. This helps to avoid delays to jobs and increases the likelihood of a first-time fix.

Most software works in sync with inventory management tools. So, when a job is requested, the inventory needed to complete that job is identified. This is then checked against the availability of inventory.

Alternatively, this can also speed up an operation’s assignment and dispatch processes. If a technician has the right tools needed for a job, they will automatically be scheduled.

Improving Worker Dispatch Times

Field service scheduling tools provide managers with different ways to schedule their workers. One of which is complete automation. This works by giving a system control to automatically assign incoming requests. Meaning, that as soon as a client request is raised, it is assigned to a worker.

A scheduling system will consider various data sets, which help schedule qualified service technicians who’re nearest to a customer’s location. This mode of automation helps to optimise a business’s scheduling tasks. Leading to improved time efficiency, better productivity, and a higher job completion rate.

FAQs

What Is Field Service Scheduling?

Field service scheduling is the process of assigning and dispatching field workers to off-site jobs. When a job request is raised, a technician is either manually or automatically assigned. That worker is provided with all relevant information regarding the job and is dispatched to the job site.

Is Job Scheduling a Feature of Field Service Management Software?

Yes. Job scheduling features are prominent in most field service management solutions as it is a core part of the field service scheduling process. These features make it easier for field managers to assign and dispatch technicians, while also using IoT technology to generate AI-assisted scheduling.