Equipment dealers who want to maximize the productivity of their service technicians, use a field service planning tool. But what requirements should a planning tool meet so that it makes your service department more efficient and profitable?
Easy to use
The (field) service planner wants to work efficiently and pleasantly. That becomes easy with a graphical dispatch board. This immediately shows a complete overview of scheduled work orders and to whom they have been assigned. And of course, which work orders still need to be assigned. The service planner is helped even better when the presentation of the graphical dispatch board can be changed and personalized. And when work orders can easily be assigned and adjusted with "drag & drop".
Real-time connection with technicians
A real-time connection between back office and technicians means that the planner always knows where technicians are located and what they are doing. Vice versa, the technician always consults the most recent service planning and has up-to-date and correct information with regard to work orders. The service planner can, for example, see which technician is closest to an emergency job and assign the emergency job to him/her. Technicians are notified of newly assigned work orders or changes to their schedules and they can check the parts availability.
Planning becomes easier when several parameters are taken into account by the planning tool.
- Preferred technician: Some customers want to have a familiar face to visit them for service and maintenance work.
- Skills: Technicians differ in knowledge, education and experience. When a work order requires specific skills, it is desirable that only the appropriately skilled technicians can be selected.
- Distance: Especially in the case of emergency work orders, the distance from the technicians to the service location is important. Perhaps you only want to choose out of engineers within a certain range.
"Your planning tool is preferably not a separate application, but part of the complete ERP system."
Nowadays there are numerous possibilities for information flow automation. The location of a service object can be shared with the back office. Or when an object gives an alarm or fault code, the system may immediately be able to select the corresponding job code and generate the work order. More and more manufacturers of machines and installations are able to read information about objects remotely. This allows them to intervene remotely, take preventive measures or give instructions.
Part of your ERP solution
Your planning tool is preferably not a separate application, but part of the complete ERP system. The service planning impacts many other processes in the organization, such as parts ordering, parts distribution, time administration of service technicians and the invoicing and administration by the financial department. If you opt for an integrated planning tool, communication with other departments and processes will be a lot easier than with a separate tool.