As field service tasks become progressively complex, the problem of scheduling technicians to resolve service tasks also becomes challenging. Several elements contribute to the challenge.
- Location: First, scheduling systems often do not have the latest (most current) location of a technician. This often results in technicians being scheduled for tasks that they are far from! Even when systems update technician schedule frequently, what’s not known to the dispatcher is how recently was the technician location updated? Additional challenges include accounting for traffic conditions, assigning technicians to tasks within their service geo, and implementing rules that can automate scheduling.
- Workflow: Second, scheduling systems do not give the technician the ability to opt out of a scheduled task and take that task back to the "pending" or "to be scheduled" state, without breaking the scheduling system. This results in schedules that are often either overly conservative, or (in case of late running tasks) significantly underestimated. Additional challenges include dynamic rescheduling of tasks when a technician is running late or is unavailable due to an emergency, or a personal conflict: often due to scheduling calendars not taking into account the technician's personal calendars.
- Matching: Third, the technician skill set often needs to be matched at a fine grain level with the skills required to complete the service task. This granularity is often coarse, resulting in technicians being sent to service tasks without having the very specific fine grained skill set.
- Personal Calendars: Fourthly, the technician's personal calendar is often not visible to the dispatcher, resulting in service tasks being scheduled at times when the technician is not really available, even though it appears that they are.
- Domain specificity: Finally, scheduling systems do not take into account the industry domain of the service tasks, leading to unnecessary intervention, and bad customer experience. For instance, a scheduling system used to schedule a field service technician to repair refrigerators, has to be fundamentally different from a system used to schedule a doctor visit for hospice care. Systems often do not recognize domain differences, such as preparation work needed prior to the doctor's visit. This results in a less than optimal customer experience.
MobileForce Software's service scheduling overcomes these limitations and more, by providing a fine grain scheduling software that not only gives the dispatcher a very fine grain and real time view of the technicians available and locations, but also provides the dispatcher with the ability to flexibly schedule and have the technician be able to change the schedule on the fly, without disrupting the system.