Saturday, November 10, 2012

Top Tips for Choosing a Task Scheduling Partner

Effective task scheduling is a complicated process for many businesses with a mobile workforce no matter how many engineers or field based staff they employ. When scheduling tasks for field based employees there are so many parameters to consider such as: skills; parts; location; travelling time; time to complete previous jobs; traffic; road closures; customer service level agreements; planned and reactive tasks; holiday; medical appointments and more, making the life of a planner a daily challenge. Automating task scheduling is the best possible way of ensuring that all of your customer jobs are completed in the most efficient manner for your business. Developments in task scheduling software mean that there are a wide variety of options when it comes to selecting the best possible solution for your organisation. By evaluating potential partners thoroughly and following a few top tips you could transform your task scheduling, make your planners life a lot easier and uncover a technology partner for life.

First of all you need to decide as an organisation what you are hoping to achieve by implementing task scheduling technology. By communicating your objectives to potential vendors they will be able to tailor their demonstration to show you how their task scheduling would help your business.

Potential partners should always dig down to understand in detail how your business works. This level of evaluation will enable them to draw on previous experience in similar organisations and offer alternatives to the way you currently operate. Keep an open mind, vendors will often offer a fresh set of eyes when it comes to streamlining your processes and making your business more efficient as a result.

Get your engineers or field based staff involved early, not only will it help with implementation at a later date by reducing resistance they will also be a source of great ideas. Your field based staff will prove invaluable when discussing amending processes and with their first hand experience they can tell you what will work and what won't. Task scheduling is about making things easier for your field based teams so be sure to ask them for their suggestions and ensure that you have their buy in before rolling out new technology.

Don't tie yourselves in to an inflexible solution. Your business will evolve and you want to be sure that your task scheduling solution is agile enough to evolve with your business. Try to find a provider who can offer a range of scheduling software, from simple drag and drop solutions to fully automated and dynamic scheduling. Even the very basic task scheduling software will offer significant benefits in terms of return on investment (ROI), however in the future you may want to increase the functionality to increase your ROI. Get this right and you will never need to change your task scheduling provider again.

Find out what support is available to you and your teams and make sure support is accessible when you need it. Is the support UK based? Is it available around the clock? If your teams are responding to emergency call outs 24/7 then you want a partner who is available at all times. Are there different levels of support available? For example, who will complete training prior to implementing task scheduling? Who should you contact should your requirements change? Get the information upfront and make sure it meets your needs.

Reference calls and/or visits are always a good idea. Ask to speak to a company already using the vendors task scheduling solution and find out about their experience with both the technology and the support. Bear in mind that some customers who operate within your market may not want you to see what they're doing to improve their task scheduling for fear of losing out to the competition.

Ensure that the vendor will work with you to develop a detailed plan of action and allocate a project manager to oversee the scheduling implementation. You should be assigned a project manager from the vendor too as a point of contact to ensure that the project runs smoothly and all your requirements are met.

Aeromark are specialists in job scheduling, able to supply a complete range of job scheduling software, configurable to your business requirements.

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