Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How To Right-Size Your Technicians

What is right-sizing?
  • Technician right-sizing is the process of geographically aligning a workforce with the workload they’re responsible for in any given area. 
Why doesn't right-sizing happen naturally?
  • There are two forces at play while trying to provide service appointments to customers – quota (workload) and routing (workforce).
  • During quota management, service appointment windows are generated to specific geographical regions.
  • Routing occurs when technicians are dispatched to complete the work within their areas.
  • Many different factors lead to a poor alignment of technicians to service appointments.  Some of which are as follows:
    • Size of both the quota and routing areas
    • Incorrect configuration of automatic routing software
    • Lack of communication between quota team and field operations
    • Business processes resulting in arbitrary technician borders
How to identify the need for right-sizing?
  • Symptoms of poor right-sizing can be seen through various key performance indicators (KPIs) when granularly viewed.
    • ‘Average Time to Repair/Install’ (ATTR/ATTI) is the time it takes between when a customer requests an appointment and when that customer has a technician at his/her residence.
    • ‘Met Rate’ is the % of appointments where the technician arrived at the customer’s residence within the promised timeframe.
    • ‘Productivity’ is a reflection of how much work is being accomplished by each technician.
  • Right-sizing is likely (yet not necessarily) the culprit when a particular area is over-performing and a geographically adjacent area is under-performing in the KPIs listed above.
Why is right-sizing important? What are the impacts of a lack of right-sizing?
  • If an area isn't right-sized, it typically results in more sporadic and inefficient technician routing.
    • Some technicians will be assigned very tight routes while others will spend a majority of their day driving to appointments.
    • The technicians with the tighter routes will reflect higher productivity for the day than the technicians that had long drive times and were unable to complete as many jobs.
  • It also creates more work for the Dispatch team.
    • Dispatchers will need to have more manual interventions to ensure all the service appointments are met.
    • Instead of the automatic router being able to fill technicians with productive routes, dispatchers are left to do it.
    • Finding jobs to fill technician routes is a reactive task which leaves less time for their proactive duties such as looking ahead and managing jobs that are in jeopardy of being late or altogether missed.
  • Negative customer experiences are created.
    • Quota availability is perceived as unfair.
      • “I called my cable provider and they said it’d be a week before they could come out and one of my friends called around the same time and was told it’d only be four days.”
    • Routing complexities and lack of available technicians for an area lead to late or missed appointments.
      • “I took off work and waited for two hours, only to be informed that they couldn't make it and would have to come out another time.”