Intelligent Scheduling and Dispatching

Finding more efficient ways to conduct business has increased “the push toward intelligent, scheduling and dispatching (ISD)”. ISD attempts to predict what will happen in the near future, adjusting to change as more information becomes known, to help companies find solutions to rising costs while maximizing overall profit.

Field service management in medium- to large-sized companies often means multiple dispatchers have to plan the most efficient schedules for 50 or more technicians, causing them to sometimes work late into the night so the next day’s work can be carried out with the best balance between the lowest cost and the highest degree of customer service. Every day, jobs need technicians with (1) the right skills and parts, (2) on-time arrivals, (3) the shortest drive time from the previous location, and (4) fully billable hours for the maximum amount of time while avoiding overtime.

With careful planning and long hours, there is a high probability that the first job of each technician’s day will meet these expectations. After that, the unexpected happens, with work taking longer or shorter than planned, customers or technicians not available, traffic delays, etc. As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com said, “No plan survives its first encounter with reality.” ISD is an attempt—using the best computer algorithms and most current data—to make reality as painless and profitable as possible.

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