To this day, I probably owe my awareness of space-time to one thing: the calendar my mom made every month.
The monthly changing of the calendar was more rite and ritual than process. The month would turn, and out would come the ballpoint pens and stickers, ready to bedeck the dates with karate practices, ballet lessons, doctor’s appointments, and other sundry events.
Managing three overactive kids’ schedules didn’t benefit from a calendar. It required it. My mom learned this early, as does anyone running a business (which is like having children, only less stressful and you don’t have to change technicians’ diapers at 3AM. Hopefully).
If you want to bring sense to your service company, employee scheduling software is a must. Like my family’s monthly calendar, it gives you a sense of what’s coming, and what you can accomplish. Lucky for you, many field service management software vendors already offer employee scheduling as part of their package.
What specific things can you get from the scheduling function of field service management software? Check out this list of three things you’ll get from employee scheduling software below!
Employee Scheduling Software Saves Time
A bad calendar, or schedule spreadsheet, is like a sudoku designed by Satan. You have to match the right employee to the right slot. Only, you also have to take their skills into account. And their availability. And travel time. And one just got sick.
Employee scheduling software handles these headaches. It also doesn’t make your calendar look like a mad scientist’s chalkboard full of equations. Rather than having to rewrite the white board every time there’s a change, you’ll have a real-time schedule on your computer than changes with your needs.
Scheduling software removes the grunt work, and frees your staff up for other opportunities. I talked to Barry Dyke of ServiceBridge, who explained the benefits of scheduling optimization. “If you don’t have a scheduling system in place, your office staff is going to be spending a lot of time telling technicians where they need to be and figuring out their hours in a spreadsheet,” Dyke commented. In other words, playing scheduling sudoku.
Field service software automates that process. With a scheduling function, “your office team can focus their time and energy on things like marketing, customer feedback and retention, creating partnerships – things that generate more revenue.” Thus, you’re saving money by saving time, but also making money by spending that saved time on other activities. “The real value of scheduling software,” Dyke continued, “is in that time saved, freeing up your office team to work on growing the business instead of the scheduling function.”
Service scheduling cuts down on scheduling time in other ways, too. With a whiteboard or calendar, technicians would have to see it, or call the office, to be reminded of, or request, schedule changes. That step is cut out when field service technicians have a mobile app with the calendar accessible. If something changes, they can get notifications in the field, and stay agile.
Employee Scheduling Software Optimizes Your Resources
Scheduling software doesn’t just free up time, it helps you make better use of it. You have limited technicians, but you don’t have to be limited by their schedules.
“Scheduling software makes it easy for dispatchers to spot overcrowded schedules or schedules with gaps in them,” Barry Dyke noted. From there, schedulers can “re-assign existing work orders or assign new work orders to the right person so that assignments are well-balanced across the team.” Well-balanced so that you get more out of the employees you have, rather than needlessly overstressing a few. California-based Energy Datametrics found that their productivity increased by 15% after they started using scheduling software.
Good field service management software also makes scheduling into a productivity enabler in other ways. I asked Jordan Behan of Vonigo about how scheduling can improve how you use your resources. Field service management tools with scheduling optimization can “add another layer of efficiency” by accounting for factors like “geography, service offerings, skill levels, and productivity.” If you know how to set up the scheduling function’s “configurable automation,” the schedule will automatically find the right person for the right job, based on their location, experience, and speed. Configurable automation, like Vonigo’s, can make the stress of scheduling into a human resources win.
Employee Scheduling Software Prevents Unnecessary Overtime
Employee scheduling software can also save you money in the form of overtime. Scheduling software’s comprehensive view of technician assignments can inform you which employees should get overtime assignments, and which ones already have too many overtime hours.
Scheduling software can also help you deal with overtime and scheduling regulations. It’s one thing to be surprised by paying an employee an unexpected extra five dollars an hour. It’s another entirely to land a state or federal fine.
Employee scheduling software can also improve management-employee relationships: a study conducted by the City of Seattle found that employees were willing to “take a 20-percent pay cut if it would guarantee them one week’s advance notice of their schedule.” Employees, as well as managers, appreciate a more stable grasp of their schedule. Malysa O’Connor of Kronos corroborates this, noting that “being able to view schedules, request time off, or bid for open shifts via mobile devices have improved employee satisfaction.”
Sometimes, however, overtime is unavoidable. In those cases, there are still benefits to be had from software-optimized scheduling. Jordan Behan of Vonigo noted how the other, complimentary features of field service software can help reduce unnecessary overtime: “automated skills-based routing of jobs combined with geo-optimization and time tracking complete with configurable reports, benchmarking, and job costing offer an effective line of defense against cost overruns and excessive overtime.” Even if your scheduler manages to miss something, features like geo-optimization can save the fuel costs incurred getting to the site. If you make a mistake, employee scheduling software has your back.
Other Ways Employee Scheduling Software Can Help?
Interested in these benefits? Check out one of the vendors above. Better yet, check out Capterra’s field service management software directory, where you’ll be able to compare multiple programs and find the best one for your needs.
If you’re interested in other ways scheduling software can help you, check out one of these other Capterra resources:
Have you benefited from software-optimized scheduling? Let me know about it in the comments below!