Blog > Field service
Blog > Field service
16 February 2023 | 5 min read
The work schedule is an essential solution for smartly assigning all the tasks to be carried out in industries such as maintenance, construction and service provision. Thanks to this XXL diary, you can see at a glance the job of each technician in the field, by day, by week or by month.
However, many operators and team managers continue to use unsuitable planning tools, which waste a lot of time and energy.
These tips will help you create an effective work order schedule, optimise productivity and improve customer satisfaction.
Assigning the right task to the right technician is not easy, and from one job to another, the criteria to be taken into account are very different.
Here are the main data used in companies to organise field services and optimise resources.
This is probably the most difficult point to understand and organise. Depending on your business, the parameters to determine the order of priority are very different.
For example, a company providing maintenance services must take into account the type of work to be carried out – and therefore the skills of each technician – but also its service commitments. Is it an emergency or a preventive maintenance operation? If there is a guarantee of response or repair time, what is the contractual deadline to be respected?
Another industry, another challenge: in the building and public works sector, some work requires the use of expensive machinery or equipment, sometimes on hire. In order to optimise resources properly and avoid delay penalties, the available employees must be assigned to this type of construction site as a priority.
It’s only after you have cross-referenced all the relevant information for your company that you can draw up an effective work schedule.
The problem is that this data is sometimes “split” between different IT tools:
At this point, take a few minutes to review: what data is already organised, what data can you easily exploit?
Conversely, what information are you missing? It’s very simple to identify them: you probably spend several hours each week on the phone with your team or your customers to get them…
To manage 2 to 3 regular routes, a spreadsheet that lists the relevant data can do the trick. Tools such as Excel or Google Sheets work best if the skills within your team are fairly homogeneous.
Is some of the information useful for planning already compiled in another software? We advise you to check the documentation or contact the support team of the concerned software.
In 99% of cases, there is a way to easily retrieve this external data and “connect” it to your spreadsheet. In many cases, you can export the information from your business or accounting software in .csv or .xls format, and then link it to the relevant cell ranges in your Excel spreadsheet.
Beyond this threshold of 2 to 3 routes, you should choose a specialised software, especially if the schedule changes every day or week!
Compared to an Excel spreadsheet, the work order management solutions have many additional functionalities, which are very useful to manage and optimise the job of mobile workers:
💡 To help you, we have summarised here the 5 essential criteria for choosing your field service management software. You will also discover in this article the 4 systems that we think are most interesting.
In this video, discover the planning with a day or week view available in AntsRoute:
In addition to the web solution, the field service management software publishers offer a mobile application that can be downloaded to any device (tablet or smartphone).
Each field technician can view his/her schedule in the interface, which is updated in real time, with all the information needed to operate effectively:
In addition to the schedule, each technician has access to other useful services depending on the application: integrated GPS, photo or video, electronic signature, etc.
Some applications such as AntsRoute also include a geolocation service. Thanks to this feature, the operator or team manager can track the position of his workers in real time and manage unforeseen events more effectively: emergency work, crashes, traffic jams, etc.
For example, if the vehicle of a technician breaks down, his manager can immediately see who is nearby and make the best decision: assign the job to a colleague with the right skills or postpone it.
This functionality is also very important for transmitting reliable information to your contacts. If the after-sales service receives a call, it only takes a few clicks to find out exactly where the worker is in the route and to inform the worried customer.
The cross-validation of appointments and tasks in a single IT solution is also valuable in improving your quality of service, and therefore enhancing customer satisfaction.
The sending of a confirmation email or SMS after the appointment has been scheduled is obviously very useful to limit unexpected absences.
But beyond this service, which has become the new standard, there are other functionalities that make it possible to inform and reassure the customer effectively in real time.
With AntsRoute, you can for example set up the following automated notifications:
Would you like to know more about our field service management solution? Go to this page.