Resource Capacity Planning

While daily operations take priority in most service organizations, often the firefighting that is experienced in the heat of the day is the result of decisions that were made days, weeks, and months ago. Some of these decisions, especially months out, are made by personnel in resource and/or asset management departments who are not as close to the daily pains and needs of the service operations.

Even in the most optimized of daily operations, if there is consistently too much service demand to be addressed by the workforce – then no amount of overtime or other ad hoc measures will be sufficient to complete the work on time at any reasonable cost. And it’s not enough to just have the right number of people. The right people, with the right equipment, skills, and parts must be available in the right place, and at the right time. Only then can service delivery performance be predictable and customers receive a consistent experience.

ClickSoftware’s solution for resource capacity planning delivers the ability to optimize and integrate the tactical and execution decisions, and to align and scale these decisions across even the largest organizations. ClickSoftware drives the capture of lost time and missed customer commitments to instead help our customers perform as the leaders in their industries.

Capacity Planning Makes Service Strategic

In the campaign to take its rightful place in the company strategy, service operations must offer differentiation compared to the way things are now within their organization, but also compared to service organizations at competing companies. Most field service-centric industries are mature in terms of the adoption of field service management (FSM) solutions for scheduling, dispatch, mobility, and analytics. But only a minority have built optimized resource capacity management into the same solution as scheduling and dispatch management.

ClickSoftware’s solution for resource capacity planning draws on two decades of real-life experience to optimize the process of capacity planning. This includes a common definition of the process, including the alignment of policies and assumptions between the plan, the schedule, and, ultimately, execution.

Well before the day of service, ClickSoftware uses recent historical performance information to determine the expected workload by geography, time, and work type. This is achieved from an automated simulation capability against the actual schedule, including existing work and resource availability, as well as the application of the real scheduling policies. This approach provides the clearest and most accurate picture of the upcoming service demands.

With ClickSoftware, the most typically time-consuming activities of allocating 100% of available resources, and then doing this for varying business scenarios, is transformed into managing only the exceptions where a resource gap exists. This leaves the service decision-makers to focus on critical and more difficult questions of resource capacity planning, including:

  • What percent of the workforce should be dedicated to various work types, e.g. new business vs. repair work vs. scheduled maintenance?
  • How can gaps between expected demand be filled by optimized allocation of the available resources, and the order of priorities when not all gaps can be filled?

Once a resource capacity plan is made, ClickSoftware solutions enable instantaneous changes to the resource allocation at a group or individual resource level. This ensures that on days in which there is more demand of a specific type than expected (which for many is every day even if the change is slight); that a service executive or manager can quickly react to the change by deviating from the standard policy, re-allocating people, equipment, and other resources, or changing response times to quickly clear a backlog.

The Value of Optimized Resource Capacity Planning

Achieving an optimized solution for the dilemmas faced during resource capacity planning requires a higher level of sophistication than ever: both in determining the right level of demand through workload forecasting, and in allocating the right resources at the right time and in the right place to optimize the actual work as it arrives.

As service leaders in the ClickSoftware Community have shown, achieving alignment and an optimized process, even while starting months before the day of service, is possible, and the benefits to the organization are substantial:

  • Earlier and greater predictability of the impact of service on the balance sheet
  • The right level of hiring with sufficient time to train on the right topics
  • Identification of areas of the business (time, geography, skills) which can be addressed by a service partner or contractor
  • Increased value of schedule optimization by having a workforce that matches the demand (right time, place, equipment, skills, parts)
  • Reduced number of incidents, and reduced impact of those incidents in the field, when surprises do occur, due to intelligent simulation

Choosing the right technology plays a key role in digitizing the process and enabling collaboration, but the biggest challenge is in aligning the bi-directional sharing of service policies and processes with decisions made during planning and with those made during scheduling, dispatch, and daily schedule management

 

Learn how to make resource capacity planning more agile and strategic.