A Field Force refers to workers based in different geographic locations who are required to travel to the allocated task's location. Each worker has a set of skills and each task has a skill requirement.
Field Force management refers to the process of allocating tasks to appropriate workers who have the required skills in the area. It also involves the movement of technicians into areas with backlog/capacity requirements.
Field Force Challenges include
- To optimise the scheduling and dispatching of tasks to balance productivity and service levels
- To allocate people to crews that possess flexibility to do many different tasks
- To dispatch work, considering travel distance
- To balance service levels vs productivity
- To respond to highly unpredictable demand
- To best combine planned and reactive work e.g. the installation of phone services or the repair of phone lines.
The Challenge: Productivity Vs Service Levels
Simulation in Field Force management refers to the simulation of the job’s ‘life’ from; creation, dispatch into the field (based on geography, task duration and travel time), to completion. In a simulation model:
- Task times can be job specific, skills and shifts can be worker specific
- Crews, interlinked steps, Dispatch rules or any business rules can be modelled
- There are no data limitations
- In fact, anything that can be described can be modelled
BEFORE YOU DO IT - MODEL IT
- Field Repair: Improved Service level by 19% and reduced resources by 16%; for 800 workers, 'the right worker in the right location'
- Improved Service level by 10% without any additional resources or capital investment by implementing soft boundaries between teams
- Designed the integration of Service and Repair organisations
- Sized Field force based on forecast Demand at a x y co-ordinate level to achieve required service levels, given expected productivity
- Our Models are being used as an arbiter between Board Management and Unions. Once the simulated methodology has been agreed to be objective, changes in business practice become easier to implement
- To geographically optimise the Field Force
- To define what resources and business rules are required to achieve a defined Service Level
- To evaluate the impact of productivity improvements
- To evaluate Dispatching Rules on productivity and Service Levels
- To define the skills required (geographically) to meet demand
- To evaluate when it is cost effective to outsource/subcontract work