3 key takeaways on scheduling and dispatching in Field Service Lightning

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Jill Heiremans

Jill Heiremans

We’re living in exciting times for field service management. It’s important to remember the old adage of “time is money” here: no matter the type of business, dispatchers and technicians should be working closely together to complete work in a timely manner. It’s not surprising that the most successful field service businesses place a high priority on scheduling. By optimising schedules, dispatchers can improve their company’s profitability. I’ll give you 3 key takeaways on scheduling and dispatching jobs in Field Service Lightning (FSL) by Salesforce.

Know your service resources’ skills

As each service resource has specific skills, certifications and experience, each of your technicians will have unique strengths and weaknesses. It is essential to identify their skills in order to assign jobs that best fit the capabilities of each of your technicians. Some will excel in one area of expertise, whereas others have a general set of skills that they can use across different jobs. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses is key to utilising your service resources to the best of your abilities. Mapping out your technician’s abilities will help you to send your resources to job types they are most successful at. Keep an overview of each technician and their unique skills, by assigning skills to service resources in Field Service Lightning and indicate the type of work that they can perform. Add required skills to work orders and work types to ensure that the work is assigned to a service resource with the right skills. By sending the technician most suited to the task, you’ll immediately improve your first-time fix rates, both customer and technician satisfaction levels, and most importantly your overall field service efficiency.

Get smart with street level routing

Travel time can be the greatest source of productivity leakage for field service organizations. By minimising travel time for technicians, the amount of jobs completed each day will increase. A reduction in travel time per job will enable technicians to drive less, save fuel, perform additional work, reduce their carbon footprint and ensure on-time arrivals. Routing allows you to calculate the travel time and distance between two points. There are two ways of route planning in FSL: aerial routing and street level routing. Aerial routing computes the shortest distance between two locations based on a straight-line route, ignoring road information. Street level routing, in turn, computes the distance along roads or transportation routes. As we all know, service technicians can’t fly and thus you must take into account constraints such as streets, rivers, and other land features.Therefore, we strongly advise you to enable street level routing in Field Service Lightning for calculating and minimising the travel time and distance from one work order to another. Using street level routing to schedule your technician’s day will drastically improve your travel calculation as it is based on information of actual road speeds and the expected travel speed based on road type. Accurate route planning greatly contributes to a better optimisation of schedule.

Make scheduling a breeze with the Dispatcher Console

As a dispatcher you are responsible for scheduling jobs and dispatching technicians as efficiently as possible to serve your customers. It can be tedious to find a time slot that works for both the customer and the appropriate field technician and the risk exists that front time to time a double booking is made accidentally. Although, with the right tool, scheduling jobs and dispatching technicians shouldn’t be that hard. And that’s where the FSL Dispatcher Console comes in.

The Dispatcher Console gives you a choice between manual and automatic scheduling. In the latter case, your service appointments get distributed automatically among your technicians one by one like magic. Use the Dispatcher Console to adjust appointments and schedules, and to maintain an overview of the status of each job. Of course, a few things have to be set up properly for the automatic scheduling to work successfully. First of all, make sure to define skill requirements and skill levels on your work types, work orders and work order line items to ensure that work orders are assigned to service resources with the proper skills. As already mentioned above, it’s important to assign skills to your field staff as well. Secondly, keep your service resources’ timetables up to date and ask them to enter their absences in Salesforce. Don’t forget to track their locations in order to know the places where your team performs field service work. Lastly, define appropriate work rules and based on that, configure your scheduling policies, for example a standard one, and one for emergencies. Once you’ve set up your work rules and scheduling policies to define the ideal model, the scheduling engine will optimise resource assignments, taking into account your business objectives, as well as skills and locations, while you can just sit back and relax and watch the automatic scheduling engine do its magic - easy!

Now, head over to Salesforce Trailhead’s website and take the “Get on the Road with Field Service Lightning” Trail to help you understand the basics of Field Service Lightning!

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