ServiceMax Blog

Intelligent Schedule Optimization Maximizes Business Outcomes

The Maxpert series from the ServiceMax team provides a better understanding of significant and evolving product areas at ServiceMax. In this issue, we discuss the business benefits of ServiceMax’s schedule optimization and dispatch functionality. Check out our first post on installed base management.

Scheduling and dispatching is at the core of field service.

One of any field service organization’s goals is to keep its workforce utilization rate up while also fostering happy customers. Daily success depends on optimally mapping technicians towards the ever-mounting and dynamic customer demands while incorporating variables like drive time, skill level, availability windows and request urgency. Also crucial is ensuring that no customer gets left behind. Customer service requests can come from anywhere – at anytime – including from planned maintenance, customer requests, product recalls and/or smart devices connected through the Internet of Things. Accurately minimizing service costs while scheduling your skilled workforce is key to the success of your field service organization.

But scheduling can get very complex – very quickly – if not managed, tracked and modified properly.

Manual dispatch processes are the norm for many organizations managing schedules, but it has practical limitations. For one, it can be time consuming, doesn’t continually evaluate business constraints in the background, and just isn’t scalable. For example, for sixty work orders and technicians, the total number of scheduling combinations works out to be 8.32 x 1081, which is more than the total number of atoms in the visible universe!

As demand rises and complexity increases, field service teams need more intelligent, automated tools to make effective scheduling decisions fast at the lowest cost to the business.

For sixty work orders and technicians, the total number of scheduling combinations works out to be 8.32 x 1081, which is more than the total number of atoms in the visible universe!

Enter ServiceMax Schedule Optimization, which takes scheduling and dispatching to the next level by applying an intelligent layer. Our Schedule Optimization solution provides complete flexibility to configure objectives like overall costs, service levels and drive times, and assign each a priority on a sliding scale based on its relative importance. The intelligent engine then creates the most effective schedule, automatically and in real time, while taking into account multiple rules around eligibility, availability and skills.

Because scheduling is automated, dispatchers can focus on the real-time view of service operations and manage exceptions accordingly. It is, therefore, not surprising that service leaders are realizing that intelligent, automated scheduling can empower dispatchers to focus on higher-value tasks more strategic in nature.

And despite the best planning, emergency work orders and unplanned technician unavailability do need to be accounted for.

To handle this, ServiceMax’s real-time optimization not only prioritizes emergency work order but also dynamically handles the change in working capacity to negate reacting manually to changed business conditions. Real-time optimization also constantly keeps working on your behalf to optimize schedules for all jobs outside the dispatch threshold window, which is a way to prevent rescheduling engineers who are already on the way to their appointments (i.e. three hours from now).

To bring all this to life, take a look at this overview video featuring our schedule optimization product expert Dan Bennett where he explains the technology and algorithms behind ServiceMax Schedule Optimization.

Also, be sure to register for our upcoming live webinar on Schedule Optimization slated for 10 a.m. PT May 4, 2017. You’ll not only get a deeper dive into the product and see a demo, but also get your questions answered. See you there!