Whether a business focuses on multi-stage projects, recurring maintenance work, or service jobs, good scheduling practices can make or break business efficiency says project management software specialist SimPro.

“A lot of trades businesses have multiple contractors and employees tending to projects in different locations. There must be standards in place amongst all staff to ensure the business is working as one unit, delivering the best customer service, making sure the right people and equipment arrive at the right place,” says Toby Mortaro, marketing content specialist.

While there are a number of ways you can run scheduling processes, in today’s technology driven world, a service scheduling software is the best way to go.

Key to a scheduling software solution

It’s important to find the best scheduling software for your business needs. Not every software solution on the market will work for your industry or for your specific workflow. In addition to finding the right features to best dispatch field service staff, look for these key components in your software solution:

• Compatibility with other systems. If you are looking to integrate an automated scheduling program with other software tools already in place, you will want to ensure that the connection is smooth and seamless. An alternative to integrating a separate scheduling piece into your processes is to employ an all-encompassing software solution that has dedicated scheduling functionality, allowing the scheduling and dispatching features to work together in a streamlined manner.

• Automated schedule notifications. One of the key benefits to scheduling software is the ability to receive schedule updates and changes as alerts or notifications. If the scheduling program provides multiple calendar views and features for assigning resources, but doesn’t automate the way those schedules are shared, you are missing out on a key piece of efficiency in your scheduling processes.

• Timesheet capability. Whether through a timesheet integration or built-in timesheet features, a good scheduling software should allow you to combine timesheet functionality with scheduling processes. You need to be able to review recorded time and scheduled jobs in the same database in order to make better scheduling decisions in the future.

“These key components provide a fully functioning field service scheduling feature. However, this is just one piece of the overall operations management puzzle for field service businesses.”

SimPro advises that if you want to gain complete visibility into your business, to ditch that field service scheduling spreadsheet on the office notice board and instead the answer is a comprehensive field service management tool.

“From job management and customer relationship management to asset maintenance and data input, software dedicated to optimise field service scheduling and dispatch will allow you to run your business with greater efficiency.”