Magazine Article | November 20, 2013

How To Optimize Field Worker Scheduling

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Brian Albright, Field Technologies magazine

Scheduling and routing technology has become an advanced, must-have tool for field service.

Scheduling and routing optimization solutions have gone from being a “nice to have” feature to a business necessity over the past several years. That transition has been driven by a number of factors such as the increasing importance of the service department as a revenue center, and the introduction of smart mobile devices that make it easier to interact with technicians in the field.

Scheduling and routing technology has also matured, making it easier for companies to deploy and cost-justify these solutions. “These days, it is recognized as being a stable and scalable enterprise software solution, whereas, in the recent past, service businesses often viewed an investment here as being a technological risk; it was an early adopter market,” says Jason Krohn, director of presales engineering at IFS North America. “Scheduling and routing solutions are therefore becoming the norm.”

There are other reasons that scheduling optimization has become a must-have. More effectively utilizing employee schedules can reduce overtime and help manage employee leave. That not only saves money, but also helps meet an increasing number of regulatory requirements. For example, under the Affordable Care Act, there are specific measurements that determine how many full-time or full-time-equivalent employees a company has. Using spreadsheets or paper-based scheduling solutions can lead to errors that have significant financial consequences.