What do you do to keep track of your engineers out in the field? Do you know where, they are or what they are doing? Is it out of your control?
It doesn’t matter what your business is or what your field operatives are doing, they might be drill wielding technicians, or an agency care assistant, it’s more about knowing who’s out there, where they need to go, what they need to do when they get there and being able to see the status of the job in real-time.
OK, I hear you say, I have no idea where my Technicians are and please tell me where they need to be.
Right, grab and drink and a seat and all will be revealed!
So, Salesforce have given us this Module called Field Service Lightning. Once enabled you get access to a set of standard Salesforce objects to play with.
Geocoding (location data) is also turned on automatically when you enable Field Service Lightning.
There are four roles within the Field Service:
Perfect, so how do I use it?
OK, OK, we’re getting there, just have another drink and chill!
So, Field Service Lightning has three main parts, I suggest you start simple and add as and when you need.
Part 1 – The Core
The core part gives you all the following features to play around with and configure:
With the Core part of Field Service, you can do the following:
- Provide Mobile access to your Service Technicians;
- Track your parts and stock to ensure your Technicians are equipped with what they need for their Service Calls;
- Set operating hours and skills specific to your Technicians and your Organisation;
- Plan and track resources and all field work;
- Analysis of field service data.
Part 2 - Field Service Lightning Managed Package
This adds to the Core features with:
- Scheduling Optimizer allowing allocation of resources to appointments using skills, travel time, location etc;
- Scheduling console which allows Dispatchers and Supervisors transparency of all scheduled service appointments;
- Ability to define your own scheduling model using scheduling policies and work rules;
- Customisation of out of the box triggers for display and scheduling preferences.
Part 3 - Mobile App (free on App Exchange)
Allows Mobile workers to:
- View their appointment schedules
- Check their work orders, contact details etc
- Create and edit work log, create follow up appointment and create Service Reports
- Track van inventories, parts and updates.
Let’s look at some of the features.
Service Territories and Work Rules
Bit like Territories in Sales, they represent regions your Service Staff work in.
Staff can be members of more than one territory, although they will only have one Primary Territory and a Secondary one.
You can also specify the period they are assigned to that Territory if required. Service Territories also have their own Operating Hours.
Identify resources that can be assigned to a Service Appointment. Salesforce provides several out of the box rules:
Active Resources - Service Resources that are currently active;
Due Date - schedule Service Appointments to complete before the Due Date;
Earliest Start Permitted - schedule Service Appointments to start after the Early Start;
Start - schedule Service Appointments to start after the appointment booking window start;
Finish - schedule Service Appointments to start before the appointment booking window ends;
Excluded Resources - Members of the Work Order's Resource Preference of Type Excluded;
Required Service Resource - Members of the of the Work Order's Resource Preference of Type Required;
Match Territory – Only looks at Territories where the Resources are Primary members;
Working Territories - Only looks at Service Resources who are Secondary members. You'll need to enable "Working Location Enable Primary" to also consider Service Territory Members that are of type Primary.
Match Skills - Only Service Resources with the correct skill set. You can enable the "Match Skill Level" setting to take into consideration skill levels.
Maximum Travel from Home - Limit scheduling to a radius of distance or travel time around the Service Resource's Homebase. When set to travel time, the scheduling engine uses aerial routing to determine the travel time regardless of whether street-level routing (SLR) is enabled.
Service Appointment Visiting Hours - respects Business Operating/Visiting Hours that are selected on the Work Order when scheduling.
Resource Availability - schedule Service Appointments only to Service Resources who are available. This will take into consideration existing assigned Service Appointments, Resource Absences, travel time and breaks.
So, say we have a Service Appointment in Birmingham and we have the following configuration:
Service Territory Member
Jane Smith – Birmingham (Primary)
Sam Jones - London (Primary) Birmingham (Secondary)
John Doe – Leeds (Primary)
Here, either Jane or Sam could potentially be candidates.
If you’re using the ‘Match Territory’ work rule only Jane would be considered, however, if using the ‘Working Territories ‘rule both Jane and John would be considered.
When work is being assigned, the Field Service scheduling engine (under the bonnet) will take the Territory into consideration when the work is allocated.
Composed of both Work Rules and Service Objectives.
Again, there are some out of the box ones to get you started:
Customer First – Works on customer selection of a specific employee and the ability to provided service ASAP.
Emergency - Schedules emergencies from the emergency action
High Intensity - Used in times of high service volumes, like a bad weather scenario, focusing on employee productivity first and customer preferences as a second priority
Soft Boundaries – Same as the customer first policy, but allows sharing of employees between territories in order to enhance service coverage
This is a goal for scheduling, objective can be weighted by importance against others in the policy.
Out of the box Objectives are:
ASAP - schedule as soon as possible;
Minimize Overtime - avoid utilization of Extended Hours.
Minimize Travel - Service Resources with the least travel time will be considered optimal.
Preferred Service Resources - tries to assign the Service Appointment to the Service Resources that are members of the Work Order's Resource Preference of Type Preferred.
Resource Priority - prefer high ranking resources.
Skill Level - used to prioritise the least qualified or most qualified Service Resource.
So, that's a lot to take in! Field Service Lightning brings the 'loose ends' into the Service process, but only you can decide if it adds value to your business. For me, I don't see how you could live without it!!