State of the art scheduling system with advanced management of time, resources and customer service level requirements.
In most organisations, the field service strategies created by senior management are invariably well thought out and accurately defined (e.g. commitment to serve customers within a two hour time window of a specified time). However, the implementation of these strategies on the ground often (and critically) fail to realise these goals for a variety of reasons.
Inability of staff to cater for the sheer complexity of the required business rules that need to be managed across a large workforce spanning a widespread region/s
(E.g. 20 field workers with 8 jobs each per shift, requires schedulers with the mental capacity to be able to decide how to allocate these 160 services to the available workers given that there are at least than 470,000,000,000,000 x 10270 possible permutations. They also are expected to be able to achieve an efficient selection and allocation from these alternatives whilst still simultaneously maintaining a mental map of all the defined business, safety and customer service rules. Mental short-cuts are invariably used in order for the human mind to even attempt this task (e.g. geographical grouping), but even these simplifying abstractions involve a trade-off that introduces significant inefficiencies in the cost-to-serve (typically exceeding 15%) and cannot account for human error in the planning process. This is not surprising, since even if the geographical groupings predetermined which 8 jobs were assigned to each vehicle (with no guarantee of compliance in this case), this would still leave the allocator the task of selecting the sequence that had the closest fit to the defined business rules out of more than 80,600 possible permutations – all this with a tight deadline to meet.
Lack of visibility of compliance
A customer complaint is usually the only method a business has to recognise a compliance failure. The leading pro-active organisations have aimed to address this with implementation of mobile devices for field workers providing an improved view of in-field compliance. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, this is a remedial action when this failure should be addressed at the point of planning using a system that considers end ensures adherence to the organisation's business rules.
Our system is specifically designed to solve the business dilemma described above.
Senior management’s business strategies and targets are simply defined as part of the data-set-problem that our planning system is charged with solving. Our system considers all the defined business rules in conjunction with real point-to-point travel times for the huge number of permutations within that particular scenario. Within minutes our system delivers a solution that meets ALL the business rules. In most cases there are several possible compliant solutions, and in these cases the system provides the compliant solution that is achieved at the lowest cost.
Not only will our system provide an initial compliant solution, but the solution will also continuously monitor any subsequent manual planning changes to report the impact of these changes on any of the business rules so that all stakeholders have visibility of the level of planning compliance. The output of this planning phase can be turned into traditional service dockets and runsheets or be electronically transmitted to in-field devices. A core business value of this planning phase is the granular view of the business operations made available and visible to all stakeholders. Progress in the field can be monitored in real time to get an accurate assessment of the risk of compliance failures before they occur.
The system initially helped us with strategic planning for the future. Post implementation, the system also ensured that the strategic business targets and customer service levels were achieved and sustained in the field.
We were also pleased that we were able to realise the promised cost savings.
Michael McGuire, Amcor
Certificate # AU1461