Using Routing to Schedule Jobs More Efficiently with NextService
NextService offers smart scheduling and mapping capabilities that enable schedulers to filter, view, and assign jobs by location to the nearest technician. Jobs can be assigned to technicians based upon specific routes within the job region, thereby decreasing the amount of travel technicians are required to do between jobs. Please note, this article does not address the concept of “routing” based on the use of algorithms to auto-schedule appointments.
Your field service technicians can be more efficient when there’s less travelling for them between jobs.
This walk through video of NextService shows how you can use the latitude and longitude of jobs to create efficient transit routing for technicians across all of their work orders.
By filtering and viewing jobs by location, we can assign them to the right technician, with the right skills, who’s closet to the job, using the smart scheduling and mapping capabilities of NextService.
Efficient Job Scheduling Using Mapping and Routing in NextService
The primary purpose of this recording is to show you how we can do routing based upon an address and latitude and longitude for that job.
So just a little bit of background here.We are built exclusively for NetSuite. Every part of our system is in NetSuite.
OK, so we’re going to use the inventory, the CRM, all of the transactions. We were really built to allow a dispatcher to use a schedule board with drag and drop, and to also provide a mobile solution so your technicians in the field can record their inventory usage, their checklists, their signatures, start and stop jobs, straight into NetSuite.
OK, so that makes the billing really easy. It makes invoicing super easy. And of course, you’ve got all your job info in the system against the job.
Asset records in NextService
I’m going to show you what we call an asset record, and this is really the key for our routing, because an asset record in our system is either something you’ve sold and installed or it’s a location where you can go and send your technicians.
So you can see this is a NextService asset for a location called the Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
So you can see we’ve got an address here, Montreal in Canada, and we take this address and we transform it into latitude and longitude.
This allows us to quickly and easily plot this point on a map such as Google Maps.
You can see I’ve also got this. This location is in my north region and I’ve assigned a scheduling route number four to it.
Routing on the schedule board
Let’s open up our schedule board and we can see what routing looks like. And I’ve got a job pertaining to this particular asset as well.
So we’ve got this NextService menu here. You can see Scheduler. I just click on Run, it’ll pop open this schedule board.
This schedule board is a native NetSuite SuiteApp. You can see the URL. We built this into NetSuite and the reasons for that were so we could do things like drag and drop.
Let me show you a little bit of the functionality, then we’ll dig into specifically the routing piece there.
Viewing technicians and regions
OK, so you can see I’ve got my technicians down the left and here’s me, Ben Castles. These are all the jobs that I’ve got.
This is my north region. I can change the region. Maybe I’ve got a south region instead.
And you can see that my south region has different technicians and different jobs assigned.
OK, I might have southeast or a west region and you can see the board is updating as I click through there.
Focusing on jobs in a specific region
We’re going to go back to our north region because it’s the most populated one. You can see that all of the jobs come through on the map as well.
And we’ve got a fair amount of these jobs and our technicians in the Montreal area. So that’s what we’re zooming in on here.
If I click on one of the jobs, you can see that it starts to pulse. So this job right here is located in this area right here.
Likewise, if I drag a box around jobs, I can find the ones that are scheduled or I can find those particular jobs in the unassigned.
These are the jobs that you have to schedule, that haven’t been scheduled yet.
Scheduling unassigned jobs
So this is Monday, the 28th, which is actually next week from when I’m recording right now.
So what we’re going to do is a bit of an exercise where we start to assign based upon a route.
Now we’ve got this technician named Benoit and he’s on the east side of the St Lawrence River here.
So it makes sense that these jobs would be in a region specific to what Benoit typically does.
Filtering technicians by region and skills
We’re going to filter the people here. I’ve already got it filtered by the north and I could filter by division.
You can see I’ve got manufacturing, install and service. So let’s just have a quick peek at what that looks like.
Show me everybody just in my manufacturing team. Right.
Or maybe we want to see people by skills and we have skills such as maybe police check, or electricians, or level one, whatever that is.
So our schedule board allows you to quickly drill in to the people who have the skills who can complete the jobs.
Filtering by route
And here’s another one. It’s route. And I think Benoit is on route four. And yes, I’m correct about that.
OK, so he’s already got some jobs there. So we may require a little bit of juggling, moving things around.
And just to show you what that looks like, you can see I can drag all of these jobs as a group because it’s a daily PM that we’ve got here.
You can see this PM daily. So that means preventative maintenance. It’s that recurring maintenance. In this case, it’s daily.
We have many customers with daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly, you name the cadence, we can create that type of scheduled maintenance for you.
Assigning jobs by route
So I’ve got my route set to route four and I’ve got tasks here that are unassigned and I can organize these by priority or oldest or alphabetical.
But what I want to do is filter these. Show me all the ones that are for cleaning or delivery and you can see the list changes as I filter there.
But the filtering we’re most interested in right now is route and we’re going to do route number four because remember, Benoit is on route number four.
So we want to assign him the unassigned route for jobs.
Can you see how narrowing down to route four, look at the ones it’s highlighted on the board here.
I can select these by dragging a box on the map, or I can select each in turn by clicking on it over here.
Drag-and-drop to schedule jobs
Now, I can drag them all in. OK, so I just grab those jobs. I’ve dragged them in and because I selected them as a group, they’re tied together. So I’m moving them all at the same time.
Let’s assume we’re going to start with Monday and do the assignments here. Let’s let’s jump back to the assigned tasks here. We’ve got a few colors here.
So I just want to introduce the idea of status or not status, but priority rather. So our low priority are blue. We’ve got medium are yellow and our high priority are red.
If we’re scheduling these correctly, we would want our high priority ones to be done first, followed by medium and low. So let’s set things up in that way.
So you can see here I’ve got this nice red job here. So let’s move this yellow one a little bit later. So I’m just dragging it there.
We’re going to put a little bit of time between these two jobs.
Placing jobs on the schedule board
OK, so I’m creating a nice little bit of travel time between my jobs and maybe this one, maybe we can extend it a little bit.
So I’m just changing the hours there. OK, so that’s Monday. That looks pretty good.
Let’s drag these two because you can see I’m triple booked at the 11 a.m. time frame, so I’m going to drag these two jobs over to Tuesday, OK?
And I’ve got some more dragging to do because I’m still triple booked here. We want to move this one. We’re going to shift that one. Oh, look, I’m shifting both jobs earlier in the day.
Let me just drag a box around the top one and I can just move that one over.
OK, so I’ve effectively organized my high priority jobs to be done first, followed by the jobs that aren’t as high a priority.
Assigning jobs from a nearby region
And you can see that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I have some afternoon time that I can still book in. So perhaps we’re going to come back to our unassigned panel here.
There’s still thirty eight jobs in the north region for assignment. And let’s see if we grab these two jobs. OK, can you see I’m dragging that box?
These are just across the river, so it might make sense to assign these ones and it’s highlighted them over here so I can drag those ones in and assign them as well.
So let’s submit those changes. OK, I’m hitting the save button. Everything gets saved into NetSuite and that will push the jobs to the mobile device of the technician.
Emulating the technician’s mobile app view
Now we’re looking at next week. So let’s have a look at what’s going on for this week. And you can see that Benoit, it’s currently Wednesday.
He’s got this REM Train Network job. Let’s find the location of this job, OK? And we’re just going to zoom in a little bit more here.
So when I click on this map icon, it zooms into the direct location of that job, REM Train Network.
You can see it’s on that island, the Ile-Des-Soeurs, perhaps my French pronunciation might be a little bit off there.
Let’s have a look on Benoit’s mobile, what that looks like. This is my emulated mobile.
And what that means is the same view that the technician would see on their iOS, their Android, their laptop, their desktop.
On the left we have the agenda view. That’s all the jobs organized by date and time. And you can see we’ve got a mapping component.
Suggested routing for jobs
Here is that Wednesday job. Let’s click into this Wednesday job. OK, now we can see where Ben was located and we can see where the job is located.
It suggests a route to get him to that job. It’s got the kilometers and the minutes.
Remember, this is a Canadian customer, so we’ve got kilometers. Miles is no problem. NetSuite supports that. In fact, NetSuite was built with the imperial system.
OK, again, we have routing on the mobile to get you on site and we have routing and ways of filtering so you can get the correct person or the closest person to the job that needs to be done.
Again, this has been Ben Castles from NextService and you’ve been looking at our NextService Field service software built for NetSuite.
Get in touch with us about NextService and how it can help you streamline your field service management and job scheduling.