How increasing routing efficiency can both improve customer satisfaction and save you money!

The main entity that can make a field service organisation fail or succeed is the techniques it implements for the utilization of its field resources. These resources can be the technicians/plumbers/fitters/delivery men or as a matter of fact any person/thing working in the field. For example, one of the main reasons for a customer to abandon a cart on any e-commerce website is either huge shipping charges or extensive delivery days, which is the result of bad scheduling of their deliveries. It isn’t that those companies do not use any route planning techniques in their business, but in this ever-growing demand of the abundant customers, is only route planning sufficient for best and maximum efficiency? 

Yes route planning does provide the best way to reach from point A to point B, but at the same time this solution leaves a lot of decisions in the hands of the field service agents. Also, route planning would perform a static scheduling which would not take into consideration the dynamic variables that affect the efficiency of the agent like – change in estimated time due to the technician’s on-site diagnosis, the on-road traffic, requirement of other skills, prioritization of other service work. This self-scheduling method can lay a huge impact on the productive-time, drive-time, fuel consumption, SLA compliance and customer satisfaction. 

Hence, what is really essential for these field service based organisation is a tool that would include travel calculations, skills of the technicians, nearest technician and many such other factor related to their business as a part of the schedule. This tool is what we call in simple terms as a Schedule Optimization Software. These Schedule Optimization Software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, can take into account many such variables based on the companies targets and priorities, but today lets focus on two of the main metrics for improvement. 

Increasing Scheduling efficiency -  This focuses on managing work orders with dependencies, managing work orders with SLAs and managing the mix of resource based on cost. For example, efficiency is lost if a worker shows to collect a product from the warehouse, but the product hasn’t been packed to be delivered by then.   

Increasing Routing Efficiency – This is to optimize the routes of your mobile device to save time, fuel and vehicle wear and tear. It is measured by the total distance driven and total time travelled per schedule. Less efficient techniques assign the jobs first before calculating the assumed travel times. According to a study conducted by Oracle utilities, The travel cost for 150 crews driving 40,000 km each per year @ 50 cents per mile = $1,875,000, Increasing routing efficiency by 10 percent (each crew driving 2,500 less miles per year) would result in $187,500 in savings. 

Hence, like I said before route planning can provide a way to approach this problem at the beginning of a day, the scheduling software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field service becomes the driver in what work is assigned to who, and when. This is where the field service organisations can start to see a real payback.