It is important to define what is meant by each of these terms to ensure that you are investing in a solution that is right for your service delivery; you need to be fully aware of what your chosen scheduling system is, and is not, capable of.
Manual planning is the most basic option when it comes to these types of solutions. It requires a worker in the back-office (a ‘Planner’) to plan jobs by having a complete view of the engineers’ diaries. This would be the lowest price option and relies on the skills of the Planner to determine who is best for the job according to criteria such as location and skills. The software can hold information to help narrow down the possibilities open to them, such as the ability to show all engineers based in South East England, but ultimately the final decision is down to the office staff.
Automated Scheduling takes a step further and provides much more functionality that for many companies would be well worth the extra investment. It is much more intuitive in its delivery and can offer a lot of complex and advanced functionality. It can provide total visibility, streamline processes and allow back-office staff to work proactively rather than reactively, meaning the ratio of back-office staff to mobile engineers can be dramatically reduced.
This type of scheduling system can book appointments and automatically select the most cost-effective option for your business. Other additional functionality can also be implemented, such as the ability to book appointments that are dependent on each other. Such as when one job needs to be completed before another can start or when a part has to be received before the engineer can attend for example. This guarantees that if the first is delayed or a part doesn’t arrive, the dependent job will also be rescheduled; ensuring that no time is wasted attending jobs that can’t be completed.
Therefore, with an automated scheduling solution businesses can ensure they are always performing at their most efficient and can offer the customer the highest quality of service. These scheduling solutions can offer a very visual and instantly understandable portrayal of the workload, including appointments booked and time available.
Carrying an excess capacity for contingencies is a luxury that cannot be afforded in the competitive, and thin-margin, marketplace of today. Reserving capacity only when necessary gives businesses the ability to properly forecast potential demand and capacity. This ensures that an engineer’s time is used efficiently and allows for a better service performance, such as more jobs per day per engineer.
Optimised Scheduling Software is la crème de la crème of scheduling solutions. It offers a fully automated system that continues, even after the original decision is made and the appointment was booked, to reassess the best option. As more work comes in to the business for scheduling it evaluates the appointments already in the diary and can “reshuffle” them all should an alternative day, time or engineer become the most efficient and therefore the cheapest option.
Read more about scheduling software.
Solarvista is the UK’s leading independent provider of cloud-based field service software and mobile apps. We develop all the products required to enable you to get the right person to the right customer at the right time. Our products are in use by some of the UK’s best known brands as well as many lesser known but high quality businesses. All our products are available as cloud based software-as-a-service with simple monthly fees.
Solarvista LIVE/X9 is software that helps people who run field service oriented businesses. It enables our customers to deliver exceptional service levels whilst increasing efficiency and driving revenue growth. It is the only complete solution that manages customer assets, service levels, contracts/agreements, job scheduling, job task control, parts, billing, and quotations. Solarvista LIVE/X9 is cloud-based so no hardware is required. It's accessible via every device type, is available in three editions to suit any business size and via simple all-inclusive per user pricing.
To find out more about scheduling options, book a demo and see the scheduling tools available within Solarvista LIVE/X9.