Jill Wagner | 04.24.19

This blog article is part 1 of the series, How Field Service Organizations Can Benefit from Optimal Routing.

No matter where we’re headed in the car, we want to take the best possible route, so we can avoid traffic, minimize delays, and get to our destination on time. Popular commercial navigation apps help us to map the best way to go, correctly estimate travel time, and adjust along the way if unexpected roadblocks pop up.

We also hold others accountable for being on time, especially field service organizations. From using navigation apps ourselves for routing, we expect that a service provider will arrive promptly for a 9:00 a.m. scheduled appointment. And we should expect precision, because the same underlying technology that powers our own go-to navigation apps optimizes field service routing and influences scheduling decisions.

Point to Point Routing

For field service organizations, inefficient routing can lead to higher fuel costs, impact scheduling accuracy, limit the number of service calls that a provider can make, and frustrate customers when technicians are late or miss appointments. But even today, many scheduling applications still dispatch technicians as if they can travel from job to job in a straight line and don’t account for road patterns, traffic, construction, or roadblocks.

“As the crow flies” and street-level routing are two point to point methodologies. The “as crow flies” methodology doesn’t yield precise results, as it doesn’t account for turns, bodies of water that need to be crossed, or the type of road. Street-level routing is more accurate than “as the crow flies,” as it takes into account the turn-by-turn directions and considers environmental factors that will impact travel. One major flaw to these approaches alone is that neither takes traffic explicitly into consideration. 

Optimal Routing

mobile map on cell phone

 

 

 

 

Optimal routing takes into account all necessary variables, including predictive traffic and live traffic updates. Predictive travel helps field service organizations to create an accurate schedule and anticipate traffic patterns before the day of service. Live traffic updates enables field service organizations to get ahead of unforeseen changes to road conditions and adjust the schedule accordingly. This combination allows field service organizations to achieve the scheduling accuracy necessary to make proactive decisions.

How ClickSoftware Can Help

Click’s proprietary approach to optimal routing is a combination of turn-by-turn, predictive traffic powered by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, and live traffic updates. Click’s software treats traffic as a critical and explicit part of the routing algorithm and makes an important distinction between predicted traffic patterns and real-time traffic information. Together, this results in unbeatable precision. Below is how Click is differentiating itself in predictive travel and live traffic updates:

  • Predictive Travel: Recent advances in machine learning and analytics have paved the way for predictive travel, which uses historic traffic data to predict how long it will take a driver to get from point to point at different times of a day. Click’s scheduling system integrates predictive travel and takes drive-time decisions into account when creating the schedule, ensuring that technicians are spending more time with customers and less behind the wheel.
  • Live Traffic Updates: Predictive travel makes it possible to plan in advance, but sometimes there are unexpected circumstances on the road that may impact a technician’s ability to reach a job on time. Paired with live traffic updates, Click’s automated field service management solutions scans real-time road conditions for unforeseen traffic and updates the schedule accordingly. For example, if there is an accident or a last-minute road closure, jobs that may be impacted will be automatically reassigned to another resource with a clearer route to the destination.

Actual Benefits, Real Results

By using an optimal approach to routing, field service organizations can improve efficiency, reduce travel costs, and increase schedule accuracy to make every minute of the service day matter. To get up to speed on optimal routing and how Click can help, read Actual Intelligence, Real Results: The Benefits of ClickSoftware’s Unique Approach to Routing.