Efficient Job Scheduling Made Simple: 5 Easy Steps
14 March 2023
Field services have seen a major spike in the use of job scheduling software – see exactly how they are using them for efficient job scheduling.
Every business wants to maximise productivity and profitability. But knowing how you can squeeze margins without cutting corners – with compliance or winging hitting client SLAs – isn’t straightforward.
The good news is, there is an easier way to manage business operations to optimise the use of time and resources, and that’s with job scheduling technology.
In fact, 48%1 of field service businesses now say they use tech specifically built for field service management and 40% say it has boosted business growth.
Let’s delve into why job scheduling tools are proving popular, and then we’ll go through the exact steps that leading field service businesses follow for efficient job scheduling.
Facts to prove the ROI on job scheduling tools
First, we’ll look at why so many businesses are making the move from manual to paperless workload automation tools…
Given the rise in popularity, studies have actually been done to assess the impact of digital transformation in field services. Here are just a handful of the results from one study1 that honed in on how field service management tech enables businesses to meet their goals:
- 50% improved routing
- 62% improved customer service
- 49% improved productivity
- 53% decreased fuel consumption
- 10% decrease in labour costs
Ultimately, research has found that with more efficient job management and job scheduling, field service businesses improve operations costs and service delivery across the entire business.
5 steps to efficient job scheduling
As time is now such a valuable commodity, the pressure is on for field services to maximise the use of time and resources. And that’s why efficient job scheduling is a must.
Here’s how leading businesses are optimising resources and improving productivity 👇
Step 1: Understand the workload 📥
A key part of project management is knowing how many tasks need to be completed for each individual job, and the overall job workload – as this determines resource allocation and planning timelines.
This is a big one, so we’ll cover this step in more detail. In particular, we’ll focus on the four key ways field service businesses schedule jobs efficiently:
Allocate the right resources
Sending the right engineer, with the required skills and expertise, is a big part of this and something a lot of field service businesses lean on tech for. With some job scheduling tech, you can create constraints against jobs so that the scheduling assistant will only allocate work to those with the correct skills and qualifications.
Working with contractors
When you need specific skills, you might outsource to a third-party contractor. And the right tech allows you to easily manage the right resources again here too. For example, you can give contractors limited access to tools like BigChange and set the same skills rules. This means you can take on jobs that require specific expertise, occur in a remote area or need alternative equipment. You can even find these experts within BigChange’s Network (more on this here).
Meet SLAs and regulations
Getting this right the first time not only makes for smoother job completion and more cost-effective operations, but it’s also essential for things like meeting SLAs, specifications, and compliance requirements. Of course, the ability to meet these can have major impacts on invoice payments if a client deems the terms not met.
For certain jobs, specific training is essential to ensure you carry out the work legally and safely. With some clever job scheduling tech, you can also create customisable worksheets that allow you to mandate specific behaviour such as reading a customer’s specific health and safety guidelines before you send an engineer to a job.
Step 2: Flag discrepancies and constraints ⚠
And whilst the right tech allows you to easily plan out many months’ worth of jobs in advance, it also makes it easier to overcome any blips – which, unfortunately, and despite the best planning, are inevitable.
Let’s look at an example.
Stock and supply availability
With shortages and delays, this is a common constraint for field services right now. Luckily, tech comes to the rescue here too and can allow you to set minimum stock level alerts, for a start. Plus, it can allow you to see where stock is – including on a specific vehicle, at a customer’s site or in a warehouse.
Other constraints cover logistical, resource availability and access needs. Essentially, anything that can create a blocker to the workflow… Unless, of course, you had access to job scheduling tools that allow you to flag and mitigate all this early on.
Step 3: Prioritise workload 🔼
You know, the key to effective job management is to allocate resources by job priority. What you deem high priority most likely comes down to factors such as higher invoice value contracts, emergencies, or contractual and scheduled maintenance agreements.
So, how are leading field service businesses tackling this?
You guessed it: job scheduling software.
Real-time business intelligence
With advanced field engineer scheduling software, businesses can literally see an overview of the entire business’s operations in one visual dashboard. These business intelligence dashboards also laser in on granular detail covering everything from Work in Progress (WIP) to top performers.
Plus, it provides profit forecasting and allows you to identify, both at a high or detailed level, what is making you money. For example, you can use it to identify unprofitable routes so that you can choose to increase the price, drop it entirely, or use it as a loss leader in negotiations.
Step 4: Allocate resources to jobs 🛠
The biggest benefit of this easy and thorough planning is that you can:
- Allocate jobs to engineers with sufficient notice – to manage welfare and morale.
- Allocate the right engineer with the right skills – to boost first-time fixes and customer experiences.
- Ensure stock is available and only order what you need – so you have what you need to complete jobs that are booked in, and prevent you from tying cash up in unused stock.
- Optimise routes, labour and fuel – based on an engineer’s home location or jobs that they are already attending that day. This includes re-routing engineers to emergencies or adding a quick job to their return route.
With the right job scheduling tech, it’s simply a case of dragging and dropping jobs onto a single calendar view. From here, project managers get alerted of upcoming jobs so you can ensure you order the right parts and notify engineers too.
Ultimately, this workload automation allows you to be cost-efficient but also enables you to reduce response times to meet SLAs – whilst also ensuring jobs meet specifications, like compliance needs.
Step 5: Ongoing job schedule monitoring 📈
Things change within field service businesses despite thorough planning and it’s often no one’s fault. For example, you’ll encounter engineers needing time off sick, vehicle faults/breakdowns, equipment supply issues, and job issues like faults and snags.
Through continually monitoring an active schedule, you can keep up with an ever-changing environment and work around all this.
Here are just a handful of reasons why leading field service businesses lean on tech:
- Real-time scheduling: Reporting dashboards provide an overview of the status of all jobs (including any issues that need attention) in real-time. You can even sort this by status or priority to get an instant snapshot of your workload.
- Mapped calendar view: You can see a graphical representation of your job schedule and what’s booked in and filtered for any time period so you can reorganise jobs or send alternative and nearby engineers.
- Instant alerts: You can also get alerted as soon as a job is started, if any issues are flagged or if it is completed. Meaning that you can react in real time – whether that be fixing issues or sending invoices.
Maximise your profit margins today with job scheduling software
So, to sum up, with these job scheduling steps and the help of job scheduling tech, field service businesses can maximise productivity and profitability – and essentially get more done each day with the same resources… Without compromising service quality.
Through understanding things like constraints, businesses can avoid typical snags and drive toward meeting their business goals.
Not sure if tech is worth the investment? Take a look at exactly how it saves money in this blog.
Ready to find the right job management and job scheduling software? Read this: Top 5 must-haves when choosing job management software [Quick checklist]
Or, you can dive straight in and book a personalised demo and our field service business pros can talk you through the top features for better job scheduling.
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