5 Improvements to Field Service Management in Visual Planning 8

by | 12 Nov. 2021

 5 min read

Managing a field service organization presents a number of unique challenges.

With jobs outside of your main location and resources coming and going, strong communication is critical to ensuring everyone knows where to go, what to do and when it has to be done. You also have to manage physical resources like equipment and intangible resources such as competencies.

Field service scheduling software can help you meet those challenges successfully. Benefits of good field service software include:

  • Ensuring all work is covered and the ability to quickly shift resources as needed without leaving jobs or customers hanging.
  • Reducing errors because you know the right people are on the job.
  • Ensuring vacations and other time off are communicated and covered.
  • Creating a more comprehensive team culture via regular communication and access to training and other important functions.
  • Supporting real-time updates to field staff, leadership and customers to keep everyone aligned with goals or schedules.

Visual Planning has always supported these types of goals, but improvements to field service scheduling technology in Visual Planning 8 makes it even easier to manage your teams and resources. Discover more about these updates below.

1. Better Identification of the Right Resources

The simplified resource allocation options in Visual Planning 8 make it easy for schedulers and supervisors to dispatch exactly the right resources for jobs and tasks.

Simply conduct a little prep work to set up your resource allocation rules and once it’s time to dispatch field service staff, you can find the right resources in seconds.

Tasks can be set up in the system with rulesets that govern what type of resources can be attached as collaborators. For example, you could require that complex installations be limited to certified technicians with years of experience. Or you might require that a journeyman always be accompanied by a senior staffer on new installations and certain types of repair jobs.

Visual Planning 8 can match resources according to skills, certifications, authorizations and other factors. It also accounts for availability, so you won’t be able to inadvertently choose someone for a job who isn’t available because they’re scheduled off for vacation or already on another job.

2. New, Customizable Dashboards for Users

The dashboards in Virtual Planning 8 can be quickly set up using widgets, which help you customize views to get the most out of your software at a glance. The update goes further to allow dashboards to be customized by profiles.

That means you can have as many dashboards as you have profiles in the system. Set up dashboards based on roles, access level or even by person.

Custom dashboards mean field service reps can get one view that helps them understand what tasks they have to complete, where they are in the schedule for today and whether important messages are waiting to be read, for example. Back in the dispatch office, supervisors and others may have different dashboards that provide a big picture overview of what work is left to be done, where various field service teams are and if anyone is in immediate need of assistance.

3. Easier Ways to Insert Events and Resort Schedules

Previously in Visual Planning 8, the ability to insert an event in the middle of other items on the schedule was complicated. You first had to divide the original event and shift things around to make room for the new item.

Visual Planning 8 makes it easy to add new events to the schedule even if existing events are already in place. Simply drag-and-drop the event where it needs to go and the system can handle the rest. It automatically splits existing events if necessary and shifts items around on the calendar to make room for everything.

The system also allows for fragmenting events over various periods. For example, if you want to allocate a team to a three-day job, the system can create three daily events for that team with very little work on your part.

You can push calendar events directly to the personal agendas of employees in a variety of external calendars. This helps ensure everyone knows where they need to be — and when — even if they aren’t using the Visual Planning interface at the moment.

Even more important, employees who rely on Outlook or Google Calendar functionality on smartphones can still get alarms and other notifications, helping them stay on track throughout the day.

4. Time Zone Management for Remote Management of Field Teams

For organizations with sites or field teams across large regions, Visual Planning 8’s time zone management features remove the risk of miscommunication about time-sensitive tasks.

Schedulers or dispatchers on the East Coast of the United States can see a visual depiction of the day in Central or Mountain time zones, for example, so they’re not inadvertently sending field teams to residences or business client locations at a wild time like 5 am. It also helps ensure communication to clients about when field teams are likely to arrive is as accurate as possible.

5. Mobile Access to Critical Functionality

We know mobile access is a top priority for many companies, and that’s especially true for organizations that run field teams. Whether you have a handful of teams in the field or hundreds, they need a way to stay connected to business communications, goals and schedules.

VPGO is the mobile app version of Visual Planning 8. Its optimized design ensures easy, high-speed access to critical functionality so field teams can review schedules, make edits to fields they have edit access to and read and respond to communications on task threads. Automatic calendar displays make it easy to swap from a task list to a weekly view, and instant chat and messaging options keep everyone connected and allow for immediate updates should things change on either side.

Get Visual Planning 8 Today

Not using a field service scheduling software and ready to take advantage of the many benefits Visual Planning 8 has to offer? Contact us today for a free demo to learn more about how the software can support your organization. And if you already have Visual Planning, you may be available for a free upgrade, so contact us today!

Communicator Journalist with an Organizational Communication master degree specialized in Digital Communication from University Jean Moulin Lyon 3. Passionate about new technologies, social medias, marketing and cooking.

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