Blog > Field service
Blog > Field service
2 November 2021 | 6 min read
The press reminds us every day that fuel prices are soaring, with no hope of a long-term decrease in the future. The managers and operations managers are therefore seeking to optimize the planning of field service operations to limit the number of kilometers driven.
But at the same time, recruitment in technical and logistical fields is becoming increasingly challenging. It is impossible to overload schedules, at the risk of seeing technicians leave for other companies, and of no longer providing some services.
Fortunately, artificial intelligence and new communication tools offer interesting solutions to improve the planning of the operations, while developing customer and employee loyalty.
Detailed review of these different resources, very efficient to optimize schedules while observing your work organization.
Controllers, dispatchers and other operations managers know that the number of settings to be taken into account is constantly increasing. Planning maintenance or repair routes requires the integration of multiple constraints, such as :
With so many factors to consider, traditional route planning solutions quickly reach their limits. Unless you are managing a small area or a very small team, these multiple unknowns equations make you dizzy. Human intelligence is no longer enough to effectively optimize the business, even with the help of tools like Excel, Google Calendar or Google Maps.
In the best case, manual management of schedules will “only” waste valuable time. In the worst case, tensions will quickly appear on the field, until the point of rupture: exhausted or demotivated technicians, delays, missed appointments, unhappy customers, etc.
Designed to meet these issues, a solution like AntsRoute allows you to determine optimized routes in a very intuitive way, thanks to the resources of artificial intelligence. In order to adapt to very different working methods from one company to another, AntsRoute offers at least 5 field service planning features. All you have to do is to choose the one that suits you best… or combine several of them!
This scheduling mode meets very well the needs of teams who make their field service appointments on incoming calls.
The operator first searches for the customer’s file, or creates it directly if it is a new customer. If the customer is already listed, the search can be done by name, address or phone number.
Once all the constraints have been entered, the software automatically suggests 3 appointment time slots, classified according to the other appointments already made. The idea is of course to limit the duration and cost of the field service as much as possible, while respecting the company’s service commitments.
When the customer has made his choice, the operator registers him in the software, and the operation is immediately integrated into the schedule of one of the available technicians, taking into account the constraints and the distance to be covered. The operator can also send a confirmation of the appointment by email or SMS in one click.
This solution can be used for field service operations planned several days in advance or for urgent repairs.
A second method that is very popular with our customers is to import the information needed to schedule appointments via an Excel file. You can create this document directly in the famous spreadsheet, or export it from a third-party software. Our support team will help you to create the import file, which must contain at least 4 columns with essential data:
From these 4 data, the software will automatically calculate all the possibilities of routes, to retain only the best.
Of course, you can also enter optional information in this Excel file, intended to facilitate the processing of requests by the various departments (telephone number, e-mail, latitude, longitude, comments for the technician, etc.).
Do you use another CRM like Odoo or a software suite like Google Workspace to make the management of your business easier? Here again, you can automatically import the information needed to optimize your field service routes into our software. To take advantage of these features, simply:
This feature meets the needs of companies that have to plan both urgent tasks and recurring maintenance missions. Depending on the needs, the scheduler can integrate all kinds of deadlines:
This feature is perfect for optimizing the planning of operations by managing different time constraints. To keep travel and mileage to a minimum, the tool will consider thousands of scenarios, some of which you would never have thought of! Over time, planners and technicians in the field acquire habits for the assignment of missions, which are sometimes neither very logical nor very relevant…
On the other hand, with our tool, you can be sure that you are taking into account all the information that is useful to achieve your objectives. This can be data related to the technician, the mission, or the vehicle used for the operation.
Thanks to this feature, each operation is definitively registered on the schedule after confirmation by the customer, in order to avoid as much as possible the oversights and the absences. The process consists of 5 steps:
Even without discussing your work methods, you may be concerned about the prospect of letting algorithms run your team’s activity. No matter which technique you choose, you always keep the upper hand. Our software is an extremely effective decision support tool. But if the suggested solution does not suit you, you can :
Thanks to the GPS included in the mobile application, you also have a real-time view on the progress of your technicians in the field, so that you can quickly react in case of emergency or unforeseen events.
Would you like to try our field service operation planning tool in a real situation? See this page for a 7-day free trial without commitment!