The Big Discussion: Dynamic Scheduling - Part 3.

Sep 17, 2019 • FeaturesFleet Technologydynamic schedulingfast lean smartFieldAwarefleetThe Big Discussion

In the Big Discussion we bring together a panel of industry experts and focus on one key topic within the field service sector.
In the third of a four part series on dynamic scheduling our panellists, FieldAware's Mark Tatarsky and Fast Lean Smart's Chris Welsh identify the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing a scheduling system.

What is the biggest mistake field service companies make when implementing scheduling solutions?

Marc Tatarsky, SVP Marketing, FieldAware
Companies often expect a ‘silver bullet.’ They aren’t prepared for the challenges that come with a successful implementation. One problem is capturing the implicit decision-making processes used by dispatchers today. Another is looking at how those processes can be enhanced to take advantage of new optimisation capabilities.

These tasks can seem daunting but are essential to define the rules and objectives of the optimisation engine and give valuable results. However, by phasing the implementation initially with manual or semi-automated scheduling, service organizations can achieve faster adoption while simultaneously creating a positive environment.

The company can define what it wants to accomplish by implementing schedule optimization so that it can give appropriate weighting to seeminglyconflicting objectives. FSM vendors have a parallel role to play here. To minimize friction during adoption, vendors should create intuitive workflows.

These workflows include setting up rules, objectives, working time, etc. Vendors can also help instil confidence in the solution by providing feedback and visualisation of optimization results. These metrics allow dispatchers to compare manual and optimized schedules.

Chris Welsh, Director, FLS – FAST LEAN SMART
The biggest mistake is not managing the ‘rate of change’. A company decides it’s objectives for performance improvement, chooses a new technology to enable automation and new processes. However, it is important to understand and manage the perception, challenges and priorities of all the stakeholders: the customer, the management team, the back office and the field force.

Introducing a scheduling solution is best considered as a journey with continuous improvement, ensuring the entire service team are engaged and ‘bought in’ along the way and change taken in steps that the business can consume. It is also important to have a system with transparent visibility of how scheduling decisions were made so users will understand and have confidence in the results.

With system design, focus on the fundamentals with a pilot area to begin with and then listen and learn from feedback. At FLS we offer this stage ‘precontract’ so there is no doubt in the technology, the business case, and what is required for deployment.

Next you refine/improve based on these learnings, show you take feedback onboard, and expand the use. Sometimes company improvements are not obvious for individuals who only see their own workload. Measuring and reporting overall statistics is therefore important not only for ROI calculation but also for positivity across the service team.

The final part of the big discussion will be published next week, when the panel are asked if SMEs can also benefit from optimised scheduling. You can read the first part of the discussion here and the second part here