A traveling sales person/repair technician works for Acme HVAC. The rep both sells and repairs HVAC systems. Consolidation of the sales and repair groups is a recent company experiment. While the consolidation cut company travel expenses in half, not all repair people can sell, and not all sales people have the skills to repair HVAC systems. Still, there was a lot of overlap.
Problem: How can a traveling technician schedule appointments and plan efficient travel and while accommodating cancelations?
Wearing two distinct hats means field technicians have little time for problems in scheduling. One canceled appointment and the whole week can deteriorate. Field techs found themselves far afield when customers canceled a scheduled appointment. Such cancelations can destroy three to four hours of repair or sales time, often several times a week.
Solution: Subscribe each sales person to a business mapping software that provides optimized routing services that can help manage schedules.
Business mapping tools provide many productivity enhancing features including:
Mapping software routing is a common feature on cell phones and Internet mapping tools. Less common is the ability to build multi-stop optimized routes with up to one hundred stops per route. With the addition of time windows, routing becomes a full-fledged scheduling tool. Field technicians can estimate visit times by stop. So now a full week’s schedule can be planned and considered with driving time, customer visit times and even a lunch stop off.
Turn-by-turn directions are included in business map routing tool results output. Acme reps generate directions to customer locations and use the results to submit travel reimbursement reports. Route stops and directions are exportable as PDF, CSV, GPX, and popular Personal Navigation Device file formats. This means sharing maps, routes, and itineraries is easy. This comes in handy for route hand-offs on sick days or in emergency response mode.
Acme field technicians are encouraged to import customer and prospect address databases into the map application. These customer records are usually color coded and symbolized for easy viewing on the map – depending on field tech priorities:
Acme HVAC field technicians are required to have the latest customer and prospect datasets loaded in their MapBusinessOnline map view. In the event of a sudden field cancelations, traveling techs can find other customers or prospects in the area to contact. With any luck, they will have service requirements come due and another trip to the area can be avoided. The company has received several unplanned orders due to rescheduled visits.
The mapping tool also include a map sharing option, transmittable by email, the enables a fast hand-off in the event of an emergency or duration overruns. These interactive web maps even allow Acme field reps to create new routes in the field as required.
Business mapping software with routing and time windows provides a platform for field technician workflow scheduling. Affordable cloud-based services that control costs.
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Dealer Product Services (DPS)
The Alternative Board (TED), an advisory board creation service for business of all types and sizes, used MapPoint to import customer locations, create and manage territories, and for visual market analysis. When MapPoint left them high and dry, they began looking for a MapPoint replacement. This process led them to MapBusinessOnline.
Over a period of a few weeks MapBusinessOnline shared several online web demo that showed exactly how MapBusinessOnline would replace and improve upon the mapping technology TED had become used to. The Alternative Board recently renewed their Map Business Online subscription for another year.
The Alternative Board