Justin Keane, chief operating officer of Pacific Telemanagement Services (PTS), a nationwide company that maintains pay phones and Internet kiosks in retail chains, government buildings and major airports like Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles International, talks about how PTS increased productivity and efficiency with workforce management, a field service management solution. Below is his approach to driving excellence in the organization.
What challenges prompted PTS to look at field service management technology?
We recognized our need for additional effectiveness in our planning. Every morning we would give a batch of tickets to our technicians for their assigned regions and see what they could get done in a day. And every morning they would print a list of their tasks and then spend a half an hour planning routes based on their own knowledge of the area. We tried using a map to sequence the stops, but that took about an hour a day for each of our 8 regional hubs, which is 8 hours a day just to build the routes. Clearly, we needed to be more efficient and knew there must be technology that could reduce the time needed or eliminate it completely.
What was the first step towards choosing a solution?
We researched field service software to find the best solution for our needs. Following this process, we chose and deployed a workforce management solution (Trimble Work Management) that optimizes the daily schedules of our field technicians.
What have been the main benefits in deploying the solution?
Work Management has helped us reduce the time that our dispatchers spent on routing from 3 hours a day to about 45 minutes a day — an efficiency savings of 75 percent or about 11 hours week. Since the technicians no longer needed half an hour a day to plan their own routes, we saved more than 200 hours per week of their time. Using Work Management, our dispatchers also can see all the tasks and schedules in one place, so our drivers don’t have to think about their routing in the morning—they just go. In addition, our job completion rate was about 85 percent before deploying Work Management. Now our completion rate is about 95 percent, a 10-percent efficiency gain, which frees our technicians to complete dozens more jobs each week. Work Management shows us when a technician is ahead of schedule, and the In-Day Advisor allows us to easily add a task to make sure the technician completes a full 8 hours of work .If there is an issue with a task, we can reassign it from one technician to another. Essentially the true benefit is being able to monitor our technicians’ progress through the day, unlike before when we had no visibility into what they were doing.
What has been the effect on your daily operations in servicing customers?
Our technicians start early in the morning, so we don’t want them to waste trips when a location is not open or accessible. Trimble Work Management accounts for customer business hours in its route planning, which is a big time-saver for us and means we don’t turn up to customer locations when they are not there. Plus, using a workforce management solution means we can identify gaps in the day and leverage that extra time to help with other projects. We also own Arctic Express, which distributes Nestle, Dreyer’s and Häagen-Dazs products, so we can maximize work efficiency by having technicians service an industrial freezer after they finish their PTS tasks.
Have you achieved the workforce excellence you were hoping for?
Yes. Our initial installation of Work Management was in California and Chicago and it produced clear benefits—optimized routing, improved drive-time efficiency and more ticket closures. We wanted the same enhanced productivity nationwide so we have expanded its use to all our regions. Work Management has made our company more productive, which means improved efficiency, happier customers and a positive bottom line. And what company doesn’t want more efficiency and a positive bottom line?
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