service-manager-needs-keep-5spinning-plates service-manager-needs-keep-5spinning-plates-small
Managing a field service team can be a tricky balancing act.
Particularly when maximising field staff productivity on the one hand with carefully worked out schedules for routine preventative maintenance work, whilst still having the agility to change plans quickly in order to fit in breakdowns and urgent faults to maintain customer satisfaction levels on the other. The good news is that all the real time information you need to make the best decision is now available.

Consider these
5 SPINNING PLATES

Constantly changing
minute by minute —
but telematics offer
a solution

More good
news. Easy to
implement apps,
means you can now get
real time information
back from all your field
engineers on job
status

The Outlook
diary or shared
spreadsheet lets
you see what’s
happening
ahead

Thank goodness
for the Service
Management System
— all the contractual
information you
need

Google Maps —
brilliant!

  • Constantly changing minute by minute — but telematics offer a solution
  • More good news. Easy to implement apps, means you can now get real time information back from all your field engineers on job status
  • The Outlook diary or shared spreadsheet lets you see what’s happening ahead
  • Thank goodness for the Service Management System — all the contractual information you need
  • Google Maps — brilliant!

No need to spin any more

In reality, these five areas of constantly changing real time information provide the vital ingredients to make the very best decisions, but with the customer on the phone, expecting and demanding specific arrival times for a breakdown response, you simply don’t have time to consider the 5 sources of information in order to make the best decision — or even consider the longer term impact of your short term decisions leading to:

  • Missed SLA’s and unhappy customers
  • More overtime claims than necessary
  • Poor productivity
  • Engineers travelling too far and maybe too fast
  • Stressed engineers and dispatch staff

Service Managers need the ultimate calculator to collate these complicated, continually changing disparate sources of information, to simplify the facts and figures and provide easily understood, defined intelligence to allow people to decide the best solution to meet the customer’s urgent needs.

The Solution is easy

The solution is Maxoptra, a dynamic scheduling and route optimisation software platform designed to enable planners to make fast and efficient optimised decision-making, in real-time, within ever-changing operational environments.

With Maxoptra all you need to do is “Right Click” on the mouse to select ETA suggestions. Contact Maxoptra to understand how we can transform your ability to manage scheduling challenges more efficiently. And you’ll never have to keep plates spinning again!

Read Some of Our Recent Blogs

MaxOptra’s predictions for delivery and logistics in 2021 - by MaxOptra MD, Sanjay Gandhi

December 2020,

It’s safe to say that the world is a very different place not only compared to a year ago. But just a few months ago.

When it comes to trends in delivery and logistics, it’s not surprising that many have been heavily influenced by Covid-19. From supply chains and route planning, to store closures and customer demand. 

We’ve learned a lot in 2020. But what does that mean for 2021? What learnings can we apply to make the most of this much-anticipated new year?

Read on to hear my thoughts and predictions for delivery and logistics in 2021.

 

Increase in eCommerce boom

Covid-19 has accelerated the already vast expansion of eCommerce

Customers were enthusiastic online shoppers prior to lockdown, but retailers including John Lewis and Curry’s PC World chains reported a near doubling of online sales since the quarantine began.

And that doesn’t come as a surprise. 

After all, eCommerce provides customers with access to a wide variety of products from the convenience and safety of their homes. As well as supporting businesses to continue their operation despite contact restrictions and measures.

undefinedSource: OECD.org

We are all aware that even when physical stores are open, it’s to a very different environment. Most economists now agree that, even in the recovery phase, retail spend will be significantly depressed. Where growth does pick up, much will flow through digital channels and e-commerce adoption will continue to accelerate.

By continuing to strengthen your ecommerce offering, you can future proof your business for the ‘new norm’ that many retailers will be experiencing into the near future.

 

More demand for delivery options

The rise in eCommerce is not the only change to retail behaviour. Google’s searches for delivery options almost doubled in some countries just before lockdown restrictions were officially put in place. Showing that shopper behaviour is not necessarily tied to government restrictions. Instead, many are practicing caution independent of advice.

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Source: OECD.org

The obvious suggestion from these findings is that businesses need to invest in their delivery operations.

In 2020 it’s surprising how many businesses still run a paperless operation. Not only does this way of working increase the likelihood for mistakes and procedural errors. It is also a headache for businesses to manage and maintain.

Investment in technology, streamlined processes, and dynamic route optimisation will become increasingly essential for businesses who want to meet customer expectations and offer a delivery service that is relevant to today’s challenges.



Agile strategy and planning

One of the most important pieces of advice for businesses in 2021 is to become agile.

The phrase “new normal” has been used a lot in 2020. The ironic thing about this being that any sense of normal is not likely to exist in the very near future.

We have seen lockdowns. Curfews. And now tiered restrictions. With some cities and businesses finding themselves put under lockdown-level restrictions almost as soon as they have reopened. 

This means that advice, processes, and procedures will be remaining fluid for the foreseeable. And businesses need to mirror this approach as much as possible.

To ride this wave, businesses must remain nimble and agile, embrace new technologies and automation, and have contingency plans in place by practicing situational planning for a wide range of eventualities. 

 

Investment in technology

I have mentioned this multiple times, but investment in technology is going to be an essential requirement for businesses in 2021.

The challenges that many will face, such as decreased workforce, increased demand, and ever-changing restrictions, will soon become too much for laborious and clumsy manual processes.

Technology within logistics has developed at a rapid rate; increasing efficiency, saving costs and resource, and improving customer retention. The advances made are ideal to deal with the challenges that so many businesses are facing. 

Therefore, businesses who do not begin the process of technological investment and implementation early, will fast be falling behind in 2021.

 

Improved customer experience

Keeping your customers happy during periods of uncertainty should be a top priority for any business. After all, with Covid-19 restrictions, customers are understandably concerned as to whether their delivery is going to be affected.

Therefore, keeping customers in the loop as to where their delivery is and when it will arrive is a further improvement that businesses should look to make to benefit their offering, as well as keeping customers engaged in 2021.

Customer notifications, such as email and SMS, are a simple but proven way to achieve this. And they have advanced at a rapid rate. Gone are the days when customers expect to have to stay home to wait for a delivery. Now they want the delivery schedule to work around their daily routine.

Businesses going green

2020 hasn’t entirely been about Covid-19. The government has also recently decided to bring forward its ban on fossil fuel vehicles from 2040 to 2030. With businesses all over the country sitting up and paying attention to what this means for them.

For many, electric vehicles are something they weren’t having to consider for another 10 years or so. And for businesses in the logistics industry, or those who rely on delivery and distribution operations, this could mean considerable change in a short period of time.

There is no time like the present. So I would strongly suggest that businesses use 2021 to begin looking into what these changes mean for them, the processes they will need to consider, and the costs involved.

Of course, with green initiatives being focused upon by the government, this is likely to filter down into the business day to day.

So it is likely that 2021 will bring an increase in sustainability processes. Such as limiting paper operations and reducing fuel consumption.

Of course, implementation of technology will again be key to achieving all of the above.



2020 Festive delivery and logistics checklist

November 2020,

Festive season 2020 is well and truly underway. And of course, it’s already shaping to be unlike any December we’ve known.

Covid-19 has challenged businesses from every industry. From changing shopping habits, to causing overwhelm, and disrupting supply chains.

It’s easy for the December panic to set in. So to help businesses that rely on delivery and logistics, we’ve put together this handy checklist to help them navigate the end of 2020.

 

eCommerce

✔️Update delivery information

The festive period can turn regular delivery operations upside down. And with more people opting to shop online this December, it’s predicted that delivery and logistics will be under more strain than ever.

To manage customer expectations, make sure that all of your delivery information is up to date and clearly visible on your website. 

✔️Share delivery times

Even better, share this information with your customers and wider database via email. There will always be those who don’t think to check on your website, so by sending via email you will be increasing the chance of your information being read and understood.



Delivery

✔️Improve your fixed routes

As new customers are added, or old customers are manually removed over time, route quality can degrade. Review and re-optimise your current fixed routes to ensure you are running the right routes with the best resource configuration.

✔️Implement dynamic route optimisation

Ensure that during this busy time, you are utilising a dynamic route optimisation system that is generating the most efficient route sequences that take into account time windows, vehicle types and load capacity.

This will dramatically improve the overall effectiveness of your fleet utilisation, whilst also reducing costs. In fact, dynamic route optimisation can reduce your daily mileage by 20%!

✔️Implement a driver app

Run a paperless operation whilst automatically pushing jobs to your drivers with the use of a driver app

Managers will be able to track delivery and driver progress, whilst dealing with any issues and amends in real time. And delivery and failure notifications are sent directly to the transport office, also in real time.

Drivers can be automatically routed to their next job, with all manifests being logged within the app. Reducing the need for additional physical paperwork.

✔️Utilise ePOD functionality

In addition to a driver app we recommend utilising Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) functionality, which is a paperless solution deployed on smartphones or handheld devices, designed to give businesses complete visibility of their delivery operations.

All delivery activity is tracked electronically, including task management, driver and customer communications, and access to notes

For added peace of mind, ePOD functionality allows drivers to log proof of delivery signatures, photos and comments

 

Customer communication

✔️Implement email and SMS notifications

To keep customers informed as to when their delivery will arrive, or where it is in the delivery process, proactively send out advanced email and SMS ETA notifications.

This can include estimated date and time of delivery, updates on where the delivery is on a map, and delivery confirmation complete with photo or signature.

 

Training

If anything you have implemented or checked off is new or unfamiliar to your team, it’s important to get them trained up as quickly as possible. In particular, we recommend training for management and drivers in the following:

✔️Route optimisation training

✔️Driver app training

✔️ePOD training

To get the most out of your training and ensure it is done as efficiently as possible, make sure that you are working with a routing system or provider that offers tailored implementation, support and training packages to suit your needs.