The future of dispatch is not replacing the dispatchers with automated algorithms. It’s about giving them the tools that assist with everyday decisions that are integral to their work. With these capabilities, dispatchers will spend their time on high value work such as customer interactions and activities that require a human touch rather than on mundane labor-intensive tasks.

Optimizing service delivery is to a large part about resource utilization and efficiency. That is why reducing any unproductive time such as drive time or white calendar space is one of the primary value propositions of field service management. Schedule optimization software available today can completely automate the scheduling and dispatch process to achieve a high degree of efficiency. But does this mean that dispatchers are no longer required?

Absolutely not!

For most of our customers, dispatchers are not just in charge of scheduling work. They deal closely with customers, and build vital relationships, as they handle exceptions, escalations, and unexpected issues. With an increased focus on the customer experience, these tasks are often given higher priority than minimizing the amount of drive time. Sure, there are some high-volume use cases where complete scheduling automation is the way to go but the vast majority of service organizations need their dispatchers.

All service organizations fall on the normal distribution curve somewhere between manual scheduling all the way to a completely automated process. As with any normal distribution, only a few organizations are outliers at one of the extremes. Most service organizations need a combination of human scheduling and some automation. What they need is not to displace their dispatchers by automation but rather to make them more effective, so they can spend most of their time on customer experience-related tasks rather than on administrative ones.

Enter assisted dispatch. This approach provides dispatchers with data-informed assistance at each decision point within the scheduling and dispatch process. Where many dispatchers used to rely on their years of experience and sometimes intuition, assisted dispatch employs data analytics to help dispatchers make their decisions with a greater confidence and accuracy.

There are many decisions in the scheduling and dispatch process such as recommending the best possible service engineer for a given job based on expertise, track record, availability, location, required certifications and permits, and many other rules. Other examples include accurate estimate of drive time, job duration, and required equipment and parts. Assisted dispatch evaluates and then makes the data-informed recommendations and the dispatcher makes the final call.

The guiding principle of assisted dispatch is behind the design of the new Service Board, the planner and dispatcher tool for ServiceMax customers. To see the future, please go here:

ABOUT Lubor Ptacek

Avatar photoLubor Ptacek is a former SVP of product & solution marketing at ServiceMax, the leader in Service Execution Management.