6 Scheduling Challenges in Mobile Workforce Management
Have you ever had to schedule a service appointment only to be contacted the next day and told they accidently overbooked the service representative? Do you remember how frustrated you felt when you were told how sorry the company was and would it be possible to reschedule for a different day or time? Or, even more embarrassing, have you ever had to make that call on behalf of your organization? Overbooking is just one of many scheduling challenges companies face when managing a mobile workforce. These challenges not only make it difficult to make your company efficient it is also bad for the organization’s reputation.
Cable companies have the reputation of being notorious for overbooking and stating times that are ridiculous. Really, who wants to wait for someone who may show up somewhere between 9 AM and 1 PM on Tuesday? Overbooking can occur for many different reasons. One reason can be because different customer service reps are placing appointments for the same field agent. It can also occur because a service call takes longer than was initially anticipated. When people in the field have a lot of appointments one misstep can cause a domino effect that will make them late or miss other appointments in the timeline.
Another challenge that occurs when trying to manage scheduling for a mobile workforce is coordinating parts or supplies. When working on site, construction workers often need supplies to arrive by specific dates so that they can begin the next phase of a project. Also, for many repair and installation organizations, certain parts and devices are needed before the agent can make their appointment. Trying to coordinate the arrival of necessary supplies from vendors to make specific appointments for project milestones can be difficult.
Cutting Gas Costs
Paying for gas, vehicle maintenance, and replacement vehicles are essential costs for any mobile workforce. Creating a schedule that will help conserve gas and make routes more efficient will help reduce the overhead of the business. This is a schedule challenge that many managers face and look for creative ways to help reduce gas costs while making sure that routes are adequately covered.
High priority appointments are another issue when it comes to scheduling challenges for mobile workforce management. Obviously they are important and need to be considered when creating a schedule for representatives. But a company cannot ignore routine appointments consistently in favor of high priority appointments. There needs to be a balance so that all customers are served and remain satisfied. Juggling these two types of appointments is not easy and if mishandled can create disgruntled or lost customers.
George called in sick today and all of his appointments need to be handled by another representative. The vendor just called and said that their shipment of parts are going to be late and that’s going to affect six of the installs in Sam’s route. These are just two of the many things that can go wrong during the day and will cause a need for scheduling changes on-the-fly. Field reps can get lost, a repairman’s truck can break down in route, or a representative can arrive at someone’s house only to find out that they aren’t there and the appointment needs to be rescheduled. When all these different things occur after your mobile workforce has left the office updating everyone and announcing the schedule changes can often be a challenge.
Reports and Analytics
The ability to create necessary reports and analytics so that a company can improve its scheduling and mobile workforce efforts is another challenge many managers face. When a company is using many different types of software and applications to run its mobile workforce, getting accurate information from each element and creating a cohesive report or analyzing the data can be difficult. But these reports are necessary to create an efficient mobile workforce.
The different challenges that management faces when scheduling a mobile workforce are not new. However, there are ways to overcome these problems. Service management software can help you solve your scheduling management problems. It can help you coordinate, update and streamline your scheduling efforts to make your company more efficient.