Why use Mobile Apps & Workforce Scheduling together? Is it because £1 + £1 = £3?

By Laraine Geddes

Why do organisations buy workforce scheduling software and workforce mobile applications together?

Actually, lets phrase the question differently. Why do organisations that intend to implement just one of those solutions, nearly always decide to implement both?

 

Greater Return on Investment (ROI)

The simple answer is Synergy; the concept that the combination of both is greater than the individual software systems in isolation. In the field service environment, it means organisations achieve greater Return on Investment; greater productivity, better customer service and reduced costs.

From Kirona’s perspective, its why many organisation looking at either our Job Manager mobile application or our  DRS Scheduler optimised workforce scheduling software, end up considering both in unison. Putting it into a simple equation for those organisations; Job Manager may save you £1, and DRS may save you £1, but together they save you £3.

So how is this synergy created? How can 1+1=3? And how can our businesses benefit from it?

 

The real time link between office and field workers

The reason that the combination of mobile applications and dynamic scheduling create synergies between each other is because they are both enriched by the information the other software system holds.

Lets take intra-day scheduling as an example which was discussed in a previous Blog post, “You can’t stop the goalposts from moving“. In this blog we discussed how a dynamic scheduling system can re-allocate work between field based staff in order to respond to changing circumstances in the field. And how this financially benefits an organisation.

Well, the  success of intra-day dynamic scheduling is greatly improved if an organisation provides their field staff with a mobile application that allows them to be sent work in real-time.

Take a look at the image above that shows the data shared between a mobile app and the scheduling software. By deploying a mobile application, the scheduling software can automatically send work to field staff without manual intervention; there are no paper job sheets. The scheduling software can also use the real-time feedback from the mobile device to improve the dynamic optimisation of the daily work plan. If an organisation provides field workers with mobile devices and only sends them one job at a time then this is typically the most efficient working practice for an organisation.

Updates about when the job is started / finished for example, trigger adjustments in the rest of the schedule before dispatching the next job to a worker. If a worker finishes a job earlier than expected then another job may be brought forward. This could be from a colleague’s diary that day, or a planned job that was scheduled for some time later that month. Equally if a job over-runs and a worker’s next job is in jeopardy, then the job in jeopardy could be allocated to a colleague.
Re-scheduling can even be triggered automatically by something implicit like worker GPS locations. In the adjacent map image, Job 1 was originally allocated to Worker 1, however the GPS from the mobile device informs the scheduling engine that Worker 1 has been delayed, perhaps due to traffic. As a result they are 30 minutes away and will miss the time slot, but Worker 2 is only 15 minutes away and can be allocated the job in order to comply with the time requirements of that job.

In the ways mentioned above the plan is constantly being refined to manage the emerging day. And the results are more accurate, as rather than making assumptions, the dynamic scheduling engine is being provided with verified and accurate data from the mobile application in order to make its decisions. Of course, this example of synergy has only focused on dynamic job re-allocation. There are many other synergy benefits such as holistic reporting that covers the full audit trail of office and the field, and the ability for field workers to create onsite appointment and bookings using their mobile application that is directly linked to the scheduling system etc.

 

To sum up (1+1=3)

So you can clearly see, by sharing information each product becomes much better at its job. As a result we gain greater productivity in the office and greater productivity in the field. The existing field based team carry out more jobs and the organisation can choose to use this increased output to reduce costs, increase revenue from billed work, improve their customer satisfaction, or any other KPI that is important to their business.

If you would like to learn more then contact us at info@kirona.com for more information, or a chat with one of our solution advisers.