We previously announced our new Intelligent Scheduling system and shone the spotlight on the suggested appointments tool. Now it's mass scheduling's turn for the attention as we highlight how this feature lets you intelligently book thousands of jobs into your calendar in one go.
If you missed out on what exactly "intelligent scheduling" is, let's get up to speed! Intelligent scheduling is the process of automating job booking to find the most efficient engineer schedule possible. This is achieved with Commusoft's powerful route optimisation algorithm that can save you hours of admin and travel time. See more >
As we previously covered, you can intelligently schedule one job at a time with suggested appointments, which is especially useful when you have a customer on the phone booking a single job. But what if you want to schedule tens or hundreds of outstanding jobs? That's where mass scheduling comes in.
How does intelligent mass scheduling work?
For mass scheduling to be possible, you need to have a very complicated route-optimisation algorithm doing the hard work - which is exactly what we've got.
With our software on your side, all you need to do is input the jobs (and/or estimates) that you wish to schedule and Commusoft handles the rest. The system will then generate an optimal schedule for you to approve or reject. Once approved, all the diary events will be automatically added to the calendar. It's that simple.
Okay, but how exactly does all this work?
In reality it's a lot more complicated than that. If we were mass scheduling 100 jobs, the system will have to analyse the driving route between every one of those jobs. That would mean routing job 1 to job 2, job 1 to job 3, job 1 to job 4... and so on. Before starting with job 2 to job 1, job 2 to job 3... and repeating until all 9,900 route combinations had been processed. That's a whole lot of information!
The system then combines this data with your engineer's shift patterns, job service windows, engineer skills, and any existing locked events to find the optimal schedule with the least travel. By utilising shift patterns, the mass scheduling engine will never book appointments outside of an engineer's shift, so it's no problem if some engineers only work mornings or afternoons. The system can even be programmed to plan around engineers' breaks and lunch times. With engineer skills, only the engineer with the matching skills for the job can be assigned to it, ensuring you never send the wrong person.
This is far more work than any member of your team could ever reasonably complete - and it takes but a fraction of the time. Not only is it a massive time saver, but it results in a much more efficient route than humanly possible. Let's take a look at what this looks like within Commusoft.
Inputting jobs to be scheduled
To mass schedule jobs, simply head over to the 'Outstanding jobs' report - a list of all active jobs without diary events booked against them. Tick the jobs that you wish to schedule or hit the 'select all' button.
You'll notice the 'Mass schedule' button appear in the top right. Clicking this will bring out the side panel where you can specify the parameters for this schedule. This includes time frame, date, and which users to include.
Time frame - Are you booking jobs for a single day or a period of multiple days?
Date - What date or date range?
Users - Which users should be included in this schedule?
Once you fill out the details and hit schedule, the system will start the complex task of routing all of those jobs. Commusoft does this as a background task, so you can still navigate and use the system.
Approving the suggested schedule
A notification will let you know once the suggested schedule has been generated. This proposed schedule can then be reviewed and approved.
From the schedule screen, each engineer's assigned jobs and route can be reviewed by date. Just click through the days and users on the left to display the jobs on the map, plus hover on the pins to check out the job details.
If you're happy with the schedule, all you need to do is hit 'Confirm schedule'. This will automatically create all the corresponding diary events and add them to the calendar for you.
With one click of a button you've just added hundreds of diary events to the calendar - how long would that have taken your office staff? Mass scheduling can save your team countless hours of admin, freeing up their time for other tasks.
A couple of factors to consider about this step in the process:
Existing appointments can be moved
Mass scheduling can move existing diary events. If you've requested an optimal schedule over a two week period, the system will include any existing jobs within that time frame. This can be avoided by using service windows, as jobs will never be moved out of their service window. Additionally, mass scheduling also respects any lock events (locked by date/time, engineer, or both). So if you don't want a job to be moved, simply lock it on the diary.
You can't cherry-pick parts of the schedule
You can't amend the proposed schedule by removing one or two jobs or by cherry-picking certain routes. The benefit of intelligent scheduling is an optimally routed schedule - if some jobs are removed the schedule would no longer be as efficient as possible. You can always run the process again, but exclude unwanted jobs.
Proposed schedules can become invalidIf jobs or diary events are added, edited, moved, or locked during the mass scheduling process, the result schedule will be invalid. The system will notify you that the schedule is no longer up to date and you will need run it again. We suggest you mass schedule jobs as the first or last task of the day/week, when less people are using the diary.
Want to learn more?
That covers our overview of mass scheduling and how you can add hundreds of appointments into the diary with the most efficient engineer utilisation and routing. Want to discuss implementing intelligent scheduling into your business and the many other benefits of our Automation plan? Book a demo now or give the team a call on 0203 0266 266! 🚀
Try our scheduling tool game
To give you a sense of how intelligent scheduling works behind the scenes, we've built a web browser game for you to try out (laptops and desktop only). The game lets us demonstrate the technology that powers this feature in a unique way.