5 Scheduling Tips to Boost Efficiency and Profitability
Driving up profits requires one of two things: increasing revenue or cutting costs. When you can do both, you can significantly improve the bottom line. But how do you increase revenue and cut costs while still meeting the needs of your customers and deskless workers?
Scheduling is a key factor.
Scheduling has a huge impact on the satisfaction of your customers, the experience of your mobile workforce, and your operational efficiency. By automating manual processes and integrating information from disparate systems, scheduling can become a competitive advantage that improves the bottom line.
Cost-cutting with scheduling software
In the drive for profitability, cutting costs has the benefit of being entirely within your control. Topping the list of cost-cutting projects for businesses of all sizes is back office efficiency. Gains there have a ripple effect across the organization, lowering costs and solving problems you may not have previously considered.
Companies using manual operations often overspend on internal administrative costs, both in terms of time and money. In particular, companies with a mobile workforce often think of scheduling as a time and cost sink because it typically takes a great deal of labor and puts a strain on resources —especially for organizations with a blended workforce.
The good news is that scheduling technology can upend that equation and give you powerful tools that make your company more efficient and more profitable. Here are five tips for using scheduling software to increase efficiency and boost your bottom line:
1. Stop using inefficient manual processes
Humans are good at some things and technology is better at others. Modern organizations are sorting out which is which. Automation can eliminate bottlenecks for time-consuming, repetitive tasks like trying to fill out the weekly schedule on paper or in an Excel spreadsheet. Too often, things get forgotten, schedules change, workers trade shifts, and redoing the schedule slows down the entire operation. That makes it nearly impossible to maximize resource utility or maintain workforce visibility. Each miscommunication or error comes with an equivalent dollar amount.
There’s no reason this has to happen. Market leaders in every industry are going digital and mobile, dropping their expenses and leaping ahead of the competition. Automate whatever you can in the back office to proactively avoid errors and speed up your essential functions. Even better if you deploy software that enables you to invoice immediately after a job is complete, effectively reducing the time it takes for money to hit your bank.
See how software solves the challenges of manual scheduling to improve productivity.
2. Execute professional scheduling and dispatching
As the mobile workforce continues to grow, more companies are taking advantage of robust, labor-saving technology solutions. Mobile devices, cloud-based SaaS tools, and distributed computing have dramatically lowered costs and made businesses more agile.
Consider the process of dispatching field workers. First they must be scheduled, with finely detailed inputs on availability, skills, certification dates, customer preferences, and more. Traditionally, this has required calling or emailing multitudes of people to book a single job. If this isn’t done correctly from the start, everything following will be a costly waste of time and money. Add in the complexity of scheduling both full-timers and independent contractors, and you’re at an even higher risk for expensive errors.
It’s necessary to improve your company’s ability to handle multiple jobs simultaneously while also ensuring that you’re sending the right person to the right job. If you’re still using manual, disparate tools to send mobile workers into the field, you’ll likely run into issues with delays, missed appointments, and client complaints. When one mobile worker calls in sick, for example, a staff scheduler may need to devote their whole day to rescheduling all of those appointments. Customer experience—and employee satisfaction—are greatly impacted by your ability to properly schedule and dispatch your deskless workers according to their qualifications and preferences.
By using a powerful scheduling and dispatch solution, you can streamline the scheduling and dispatching process on which your mobile workers and customers depend. Not only will you see a reduction in scheduling costs, you’ll also boost revenue by making it possible for your deskless workers to handle more appointments. They’ll receive real-time updates to their schedules, delays, and optimized routes right on their mobile devices, so there is no confusion. Job alerting capabilities allow the right mobile worker to pick up assignments, so staff schedulers can be relieved of the burden of manually reaching out to individuals. With a centralized platform, you can see if you are utilizing your mobile workforce to maximum efficiency and gain real- time visibility into worker availability.
3. Join the mobile revolution
If your company manages a mobile workforce and you schedule people to perform services away from the office, communication can be a little tricky. Deskless workers often receive client information, routing details, company updates, and more through a variety of tools. This lack of connectedness makes it difficult to stay up-to-date on essential information. What’s more, they’ll likely need to update a separate system with key customer details once they return from the job, costing time in administrative tasks.
But today’s smartphone and tablet technology enables organizations to communicate with deskless workers instantly, anywhere in the world. With the right mobile app, your field workers can easily accept or deny job requests, collect contactless customer signatures, see optimized routes, stay up-to-date on company news, and more—all in one, centralized location. Say goodbye to days of checking multiple sources for information and collecting critical data on clipboards. Mobile-first organizations use tools that enable deskless workers to capture, update, and access everything they need in one succinct place. They know that the consumerized app experience has become the norm, and that providing seamless tools can make or break a happy workforce (and in turn, a happy customer base).
If you aren’t yet leveraging smartphones that send data directly to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and back office, you’re giving competitors the advantage. Start increasing your operational efficiency, cutting back on wastes of time and money in data transfers and cutting back on wastes of time and money in data transfers with a powerful mobile workforce management app.
4. Satisfy more customers—and satisfy customers more
Customer experience is the new battleground. In fact, providing an excellent customer experience can decrease the cost of serving customers by 33%, and customers who receive great service are likely to spend 140% more than their unsatisfied counterparts. High quality interactions are crucial, and an organization’s ability to provide such services is dependent on reliability, consistency, and preparedness.
The stakes are high for the mobile workforce, and even higher in industries like healthcare, where manual scheduling and processes create inefficiencies, increase costs, and expose patients to unnecessary risks. Sending the wrong healthcare professional to a client, failing to accurately record or access patient data, or delaying or missing an appointment can mean critical consequences—both for the organization and the client.
More businesses with a deskless workforce are realizing the value of technology that enables real-time scheduling and communication and centralizes important client information. To keep customers (and mobile workers) happy, look for a solution that estimates job arrival time, communicates to mobile workers and customers on the devices they use, and securely stores and transmits client information in the field.
5. Act on your most influential metrics
Data-driven companies are earn 20-30% more than their peers, yet some companies with a mobile workforce aren’t efficiently tracking and analyzing key insights. To make a dramatic impact to your bottom line, you’ll need to constantly stay on top of your data and keep operations in pristine shape. That’s virtually impossible without a solution that enables you to track down performance in every corner of your business and intelligently transform that data into actionable reporting.
Insufficient data collection and reporting won’t enable you to make informed decisions about customer experience, strategies, and operations, and competitive opportunities.
Forward-thinking businesses are investing in technology that allows them to cultivate and leverage valuable data—from job completion times, to unrealized marketplace gaps, to quoting and estimation. An even fuller picture comes into focus for companies that can overlay this data with information from other sources, such as a HRM or CRM system. Those next-level insights enable organizations to make cost-saving decisions on employee utilization, customer requirements, operations, and more. If you’re looking to improve evidence-based decision making, find a solution that connects disparate data and offers in-depth analytics to boost both performance and your bottom line.
Drive efficiency with Skedulo’s intelligent scheduling platform
Skedulo’s powerful workforce scheduling software enables effective scheduling to increase your bottom line. Our mobile-first platform offers hassle-free scheduling and communication, deep insights and analytics, and visibility into your deskless workforce.
To learn more about how Skedulo can streamline your back office and field operations to enhance profitability, book a demo today.