A Guide to Dynamic Scheduling Software
What is Scheduling?
The scheduling that we are referring to is workforce scheduling, an essential function of businesses who operate a mobile workforce, it is typically managed by a scheduler. A scheduler’s job is varied, they manage daily rotas, assign required jobs and ensure that the person with the right skills goes where they are needed. All whilst trying to hit organisational targets and maximise the effectiveness of the mobile workforce.
Throughout the day they are responsible for ensuring that the schedule remains efficient and on target. However, this isn’t as simple as it sounds, many issues can arise throughout the day, real-time events such as unexpected unavailability or delays affect the schedule and cause disruption. The scheduler has to carefully monitor, re-arrange and communicate with mobile workers out in the field as and when issues arise. Sounds time consuming, doesn’t it?
So why do schedulers put themselves through it? Without scheduling business would simply come to a stop. Schedulers juggle not only business requirements, but they also manage the real-life situations of mobile workers, their holidays, absences and any delays or issues in the field.
Without scheduling, mobile staff wouldn’t know where they were supposed to be and services users wouldn’t receive the standard of service they expect.
How do schedulers do their job?
Current processes tend to be largely manual, scheduling involves paper rotas, some of which are emailed individually, others have to be collected in the office by the mobile worker. It requires constant communication back and forth via telephone, updating and reporting changes as needed. With such high call volume, it is often the case that mobile staff can’t get in touch with the scheduler due to the demand on their time. But changes to the schedule can mean that the entire day is affected, requiring the process of matching skills to jobs and juggling availability to begin again, with the risk of jobs simply being missed. It easily becomes a time consuming, inefficient process.
What does dynamic scheduling really mean?
Let’s start with the word “dynamic”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary it means “Continuously changing or developing” which perfectly encapsulates a schedule. But a truly dynamic schedule is one that can flow and change with the needs of the day, without disruption.
How do we move from a traditional form of manual scheduling to a dynamic model? The technology already exists that is designed to make it easier than you think. A dynamic scheduling solution involves the removal of the traditional, manual processes outlined above and replaces them with a mobile scheduling solution that automates the scheduling of jobs and delivers up-to-date schedules straight to a field worker’s mobile device. It allows easy access to live job information and changes as and when they take place. For the scheduler, unexpected events are easily dealt with, events such as sudden delays, sickness or problems accessing the job are resolved with the schedule automatically adjusting, and the changes conveyed to the mobile workers with minimal disruption.
The solution works with the scheduler to make intelligent decisions based on the business objectives and needs of the day.
What are the benefits?
By eliminating the use of physical schedules, time is saved in the creation and distribution of physical rotas. Staff don’t have to return to the office and can instead travel straight to their first job, fully equipped with the tools to do their job. Schedulers are also able to monitor any delays as they happen, allowing them to proactively contact the mobile worker, if the delay is sufficient they can choose to re-assign the job, improving communication and allowing the service user to enjoy a consistent level of service. Schedulers can also create new rules for their schedule, for example, grouping similar jobs together in one area and assigning to the appropriate mobile worker – saving time and reducing travel costs. These benefits are passed on to the mobile worker who in turn has a more productive day without delays, allowing them to do more.
Dynamic scheduling involves creating a new way of working, not only for schedulers but for the mobile workforce as a whole. It improves the scheduling process, providing automation and reactive capabilities that truly transform. But more importantly, it also increases the quality of service provided by reducing missed visits and ensuring that the right person is available for the right job.