So what exactly is field service management software? This short video by ClickSoftware gives you a pretty good idea what a good field service management solution entails.
However, there is a misconception about what is needed in a field service management software solution, which leads organizations down disastrous routes, implementing solutions that clearly do not carry the right bang for their buck. But when buying such a solution, things can be unnecessarily complicated. Many of the vendors use the same words so all of the products appear as equals: But they are not and the buyer is often influenced by words and not functions.
Here are three field service management software myths that we are happy to play MythBusters for, to help you on your search for the right field service management solution, or an upgrade from your current solution.
1. All Routing is the Same: It Isn’t!
Street-level routing is a common term and this does exactly what it says: it calculates the routes between jobs using the actual street network. But the process for this is not the same: many vendors calculate their plan using a simpler method like a travel matrix or point-to-point and then use Google Maps later. This leads to significant inaccuracies. The best solutions consider the full street network at the time of booking an appointment and as an integral part of all optimization processes leading to higher route accuracy and reliable appointments.
2. Appointment Booking is Performed in the Same Way: It’s Not!
An appointment is an appointment, right? Yes, if you’re the customer, that is. All you want to know is when will your service tech arrive? For the business, the important part is generating the most efficiency out of the field workforce and here you will find that not all appointment-booking processes are equal. Most vendors use a bucket-type of capacity where the business can perform a set number of jobs per appointment slot. But the best solutions consider the true capacity taking into account skills, availability, job types, and routes at the time the appointment is booked. This prevents over-booking and committing to a workload that your workforce simply cannot deliver.
3. Optimization is a FANCY Term for Scheduling: It Isn’t!
This is a word that you will hear everywhere because it’s often used interchangeably with ‘scheduling’ but they are not the same: Far from it in fact. Most vendors provide a simple solution and merely automate the creation of a schedule. They then change it based on events such as customer cancellations and delays. They do this by altering the start time of the next jobs but this leads to missed appointments, overtime and inefficiency. Optimization changes the schedule by shuffling things around to find the best possible schedule, all of the time. If your tech is running late, don’t just modify the start time of their next jobs, shuffle the schedule and reallocate to someone else. That’s optimization.
The next time you go out and explore the field service management software market for a solution, challenge the vendors and when they use any of the terms above, get them to explain EXACTLY how it works. And you will soon see that not all products are created equal.