Do you operate a centrally controlled field service, with technicians or field experts, or serve the last mile of the supply chain? Do you have highly dynamic and complex scheduling and routing requirements? Do your dispatchers need several hours a day to plan field routes and tours? Do some of these still require manual planning?
If you recognise these practices are hindering your efficiency and growth, we are pleased to present software solutions from FLS for service and field service. FLS – FAST LEAN SMART is a sister company of portatour® within the Solvares Group, and the technology leader in the field of fully automated appointment and tour planning of centrally planned field service resources. This article illustrates why companies should optimise field service resource planning with FLS and the long-term untapped potential you can realise.
Reason 1: World-leading software technology
At the heart of FLS route and tour planning is the PowerOpt planning algorithm, which pulls all the strings for you in a matter of seconds – regardless of whether you have 20 or 10,000 field service resources to plan. In practice, this works as follows:
Before every tour driven by a service technician, good planning is essential. FLS VISITOUR considers a wide range of planning parameters that are easily configurable to mirror your unique operations. This allows you to meet the objectives of each customer with the best outcome for each type of job—between cost efficiency, customer satisfaction and employee well-being. This is always done with an eye on the KPIs that matter most to you and without being slowed down by loss of speed or performance in the planning department.
Road-accurate speed limits and predictive driving times can help you meet deadlines with commitment, increase employee and customer satisfaction, and save kilometres and time. Efficient order processing is ensured through intelligent resource allocation, in line with the location and skills of your technicians, and not simply postcodes.
The FLS real-time appointment optimisation takes all important specifications into account when offering appointment windows. It simultaneously optimises all existing, binding appointments and makes it possible to propose the most cost-effective appointment windows for new work orders. In doing so, the software always keeps an eye on the resulting total costs.
Reason 2: Complex situations require intuitive software solutions
There are many factors that must be considered in centralised scheduling and route planning for field service: Appointment specifications and response times, qualification of service technicians, required materials and dependence on orders, vehicle type restrictions (such as size and weight) result in limitations as to which roads and routes can be used. This is a challenging task for customer service teams, which must plan with these many elements. Especially in the case of ad-hoc requests, appointment cancellations or sudden staff absences, maximum agility and dynamic route planning is required. The fully automated planning of appointments – in real time – with FLS VISITOUR removes pressures from a call centre and allows it to devote itself to its role as the central communicator in customer relationship management. More time is now available for the targeted exchange of information between field staff and customers. Results show that organisations that use FLS VISITOUR reduce their planning effort in scheduling by up to 50%.
Reason 3: Customer and employee-oriented Smart Service Automation
Deploying the FLS VISITOUR software solution means your dispatchers can create optimal route and tour plans fully automatically. Tours are planned according to defined requirements and parameters and automatically distributed to the responsible technicians.
Thanks to the FLS MOBILE app, employees receive all order-related information directly on their mobile devices. They can transparently see which jobs are pending and in which order, and are informed in good time should a reprioritisation or emergency occur. All orders are then rescheduled in a matter of seconds. Customers can learn of their service status, the current location of the assigned field service, and are advised of an arrival time by means of a direct message or within the FLS Self-Service Portal – this is an essential requirement of modern customer-oriented Smart Service Automation.
Reason 4: An optimised digital strategy for a holistic customer journey
For the customer, the field service technician is often the first human contact with your company and so is a chance to leave a positive, personal first impression. It’s advisable to take advantage of this opportunity. Support your service technicians in their administrative tasks and relieve them of planning requirements so that they may concentrate fully on their customers. The punctual arrival of field service at the customer site is particularly crucial. This can be ensured by optimally planned routes and tours. A strong culture of preparation is important. The field service touchpoints (a call centre or digitised ticket system) should have considered and accepted with the customer’s requirement before arriving at the works site. This way, technicians should arrive equipped with all spare parts and tools to achieve the highest possible first-time-fix rate. Well-prepared staff will present to the customer a feeling that they have been listened to. By using route planning software and paperless digital document management complemented by digitised material handling, your service technicians will become key brand ambassadors.
Reason 5: Intelligent combination of digital tools
If you combine the above with the following points, nothing stands in the way of optimised, cost- and time-efficient dispatch. FLS VISITOUR provides more than 100 optional modules that you can activate specifically to suit your business case and requirements. This way, you can easily include preferred skill levels, multi-day projects or very complex scenarios in your route and tour planning.
Both the everyday and back-office user interfaces are clear and intuitively designed. Users find their way around the software with minimal training. Integrating the software solution for scheduling and route planning is also described as ‘hassle-free’. Most organisations feel the full benefits of optimisation within a few days. Through well-designed training and prior test runs, your employees will be optimally prepared before the go-live of the route and tour planning software.
FLS is happy to introduce the diverse possibilities of the FLS VISITOUR software solution through a discussion or a discovery demo. Now is the time to get ahead of your competitors and make gains with intelligent real-time appointment and route and tour planning. Send us a question by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +49 431 239710.