Steering Sustainability: New Route Planner Feature

Jonathan Isaacs
July 3, 2023

Sustainability isn't just a buzzword – it's a necessity. Companies across all field service industries recognise the importance of adopting sustainable practices, not only for the sake of our planet but also for their bottom line. 

With fleets of vehicles crisscrossing our cities and countryside, servicing equipment, delivering tools, and meeting customer needs, field service businesses are uniquely positioned to make a significant impact.

Here at BigChange, we're proud to contribute to this trend with our new route planning feature, a tool designed to improve sustainability in field service businesses.

So in this blog post, we'll delve into the specifics of route planning, its role in field service management, and how it contributes to sustainability. We'll also share some tips on how you can leverage our new feature to make your field service operations greener and more efficient. 

The role of route planning in field service management 

Field service management, with its complex logistics and heavy reliance on vehicle fleets, faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to sustainability. That's where the concept of route planning comes into play. It's all about coming up with the most efficient path from point A to point B – and then to points C, D, E, and beyond.

And it's not just about finding the shortest path. It’s also about considering other factors such as traffic, road conditions, customer availability, and the order of jobs. 

In field service management, efficient route planning can have a number of direct business benefits:

  1. Enhanced productivity: By reducing travel time, engineers can manage more jobs in a day, enhancing overall productivity.
  2. Improved customer service: With efficient route planning, businesses can provide customers with more accurate ETAs, reducing waiting times. This leads to improved customer satisfaction and service experience.
  3. Reduced operational costs: Efficient routes mean less fuel consumption and less wear and tear on vehicles. This can lead to significant cost savings in terms of fuel costs and vehicle maintenance.
  4. Increased safety: By avoiding heavy traffic or hazardous road conditions, route planning can help ensure the safety of field service engineers.
  5. Effective emergency response: In case of emergencies or last-minute changes, having an efficient route plan allows businesses to quickly reroute engineers, ensuring a swift response.

But how exactly does route planning contribute to sustainability?

How route planning helps sustainability

Firstly, efficient route planning can significantly reduce fuel consumption. Think about it: the less time vehicles spend on the road, the less fuel they use. This not only reduces CO2 emissions but also translates to considerable cost savings. 💸

Secondly, by minimising unnecessary mileage, we reduce wear and tear on vehicles. This extends the lifespan of your fleet and cuts down on waste from vehicle replacements. Fewer vehicles ending up in the scrap yard? That’s a win for both the environment and your budget.

Lastly, let's not forget about engine idle time. Less time on the road means less time spent with engines idling, which is another source of harmful emissions. And as we’ve already touched on, by spending less time on the road, field service professionals can spend more time doing what they do best – solving problems and keeping customers happy. Plus, with more accurate arrival time predictions, customer satisfaction increases.

There's also the matter of costs. Less fuel usage, fewer vehicle replacements, and increased efficiency all contribute to reduced operating costs, which can significantly boost your bottom line.

So, now that we've established the why, let's move on to the how – how can you leverage our new route planning feature to make your field service business more sustainable?

BigChange’s new route planning feature

Imagine a typical day for your field team – a series of jobs, or "stops," to be completed one after another. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? But what if we told you there's a way to make it even easier and more efficient? That's where our Route Optimiser comes in.

If you’re new to our Route Optimiser feature, take a look at the video below for a quick walk-through.👇

With our Route Optimiser, creating a schedule for your day's jobs becomes a breeze. Rather than manually trying to optimise jobs in the best possible order, you can now group them into a route. Once the jobs are set up as a route, our intelligent system steps in to do the heavy lifting. It analyses the locations of the jobs and finds the most efficient order for them to be completed in. The result? Less time on the road, lower costs, and reduced CO2 emissions – a win for you and a win for our planet! 🌍

But we didn't stop there. We've also made some nifty updates. First off, you'll now have a clearer view of how your route's distance, time, and cost change after optimisation. You'll see green arrows indicating reductions and red arrows for increases. Plus, there's a handy text summary of the changes made by the optimiser.

To check out your CO2 savings, just head to Schedule > Vehicle View > Select Vehicle > Optimise route. You'll also see the start and end points of your route and more detailed information about each job. Want to tweak some job details? No problem – you can now do that right from within the tool.

Sometimes, you might need to "fix" your first job or jobs of the day - say, a collection job where you're picking up parts for later jobs. With our new "fix" feature, you can ensure these jobs stay put during optimisation. Just go to the Route Optimiser, select the job, and hit "Fix Job." Remember, any changes you make will automatically update in the Route Optimiser. And don't forget to hit "save" to apply your optimised route to the live schedule.

With these updates, we're making it easier than ever for you to plan your day, save resources, and boost your sustainability efforts. 

Don't just take our word for it, though. Several of our clients have already started using our route planning feature and have seen fantastic results. Businesses have reported significant reductions in fuel usage, increased efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction:

“JobWatch makes it much easier to manage our often complex transport operations and the integrated live tracking and paper-free reporting has transformed the way we work,”

“The ease with which JobWatch can be adapted is particularly impressive. We can now simply drag and drop jobs into routes upfront or on the fly and driver check reports can be easily customised for our mixed fleet.” Tom Moore, Transport Manager, SYNETIQ.

📚You can read the full case study here.

BigChange SYNETIQ employee

Route planning is a powerful tool for any field service business looking to become more sustainable. It's not just about doing good for the environment; it's also about improving efficiency, boosting customer satisfaction, and ultimately, enhancing your bottom line.

With our new route planning feature, we're excited to help field service businesses take a step towards a more sustainable future. 

Remember, every mile we save not only contributes to a healthier planet but also makes our businesses stronger and more resilient. If you are keen to learn more, you can talk to your account manager or an expert today.

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