How IFS optimizes planning and scheduling using TomTom location insights

Kenneth Clay
Fri Jun 19 2020
Route planning

How IFS optimizes planning and scheduling using TomTom location insights

Kenneth Clay
Senior Marketing Manager Enterprise
Fri Jun 19 20206 min read
A client's truck needs parts to get it repaired, a plumber needs to be sent to a certain address, maintenance is due at the plant, or packages need to be delivered next week. Learn how IFS uses TomTom’s location technology to help you make it all happen smoothly and on time.

Getting scheduling right

Here’s the deal – you have workers on the move delivering services to your clients and you’re responsible for their schedules. Your manager has just informed you that your company has received two urgent requests for field service where immediate action is required, so you’ll need to quickly adjust schedules to accommodate these priority changes.

This is not an easy task as you manage hundreds of field service calls each day and hundreds of fleets, engineers and drivers. How will you maintain your budget, yet ensure your customer demands are met?



Compounding the issue, scheduling is dynamic

A client's truck needs parts to get it repaired, a plumber needs to be sent to a certain address, maintenance is due at the plant, or packages need to be delivered next week. To make it all happen smoothly and on time, you need optimized planning and scheduling.

The planning and scheduling world revolves around a set of variables. Often, these variables are fluid in nature:

  • Service level agreements (SLAs) need to be met. These SLAs may change over time, especially when weather disrupts work schedules, month-end financial reporting approaches, or changes occur in the supply chain.
  • There are concerns about drive time from the warehouse to the job site. Drive time is a key element of project costs. Factors that influence drive time are physical distance between project locations, preferred routes along the road network, and varying fuel costs.
  • Is there available staff with the right skill set to meet the demands of the project? Your foreman just took another job, so to backfill his position, you plan to promote a technician. How will this impact your technician schedule?
Tens or even thousands of decisions need to be made to address all possible change scenarios. Just ten visits and three mobile assets/engineers yield 239,500,800 possible choices!



IFS is your scheduling solution

IFS™ helps field service schedulers deal with these concerns every day. The company develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. Let’s look at how the innovative IFS Planning and Scheduling Optimization (PSO) works.
The IFS PSO Workbench uses location information from TomTom
The IFS PSO Workbench uses location information from TomTom.

The process starts when a customer generates a list of project requirements. These requirements range from: needed resources, required and available skill sets, and SLAs. Each entity contains an associated geolocation defining staff and job locations. These requirements are then passed into the IFS software system. Data is integrated into the IFS PSO from either IFS field service applications or from third party enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Then, the customer defines a series of metrics including cost of staff and cost of travel. These metrics are then entered into the IFS software system, and this data set is used by IFS to create an optimization plan. The plan includes staff assignments, work shifts, costs of travel, and timelines.



TomTom location data brings intelligence

The IFS PSO solution provides world-class artificial intelligence (AI) based on route, resource and business value optimization for field service. Travel distance, costs, value and time are important elements driving the optimization algorithms. The resulting output can only be achieved with accurate mapping data and technology.

The IFS solution requires access to global map data which is of consistent and superior quality. This location data must also be in a standard format for automated processes to consume and generate the data artifacts required for the optimization engines. The combination of data quality, consistency, accuracy, common format and geographic coverage made TomTom the logical choice to power the IFS PSO solution.

They incorporate the TomTom map data, insert a series of nodes over their network, calculate distances, and synthesize the results into their database. This enables IFS to deliver accurate and up-to-date travel time calculations and optimized plans to its customers in real-time.

According to Paul Bouchier, Director Programme Development, Automation, R&D, IFS, ‘we evaluate and optimize many millions of routes per day for field service calls with accurate travel times from TomTom.’ With a view of the road network using TomTom data, IFS is better able to shape its model in real-time, dynamically adjusting to changes in road speeds and destination points.

Since incorporating TomTom location technology into the IFS solution, the consistency and reliability of the TomTom map data has been excellent, enabling substantial automation of many internal processes. TomTom also provides exceptional cooperative pre-sales support, enhancing the ability of IFS to secure future business. The PSO solution enhanced with TomTom location technology enables IFS customers to achieve:

  • Improved customer satisfaction.
  • Increased agility of field service operations.
  • Better visibility into SLA status and achievement.
  • Dynamic scheduling of field resources, in real time.
  • Reduced drive time leading to improved operational costs.
"We evaluate and optimize many millions of routes per day for field service calls with accurate travel times from TomTom."

Paul Bouchier
Director Program Development, Automation, R&D, IFS
The benefits of using IFS for scheduling needs

IFS is all about system optimization. Its PSO solution, powered by TomTom location technology, facilitates streamlined service delivery, enabling customers to realize operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.

PSO delivers dynamic real-time scheduling optimization, ensuring efficient and consistent project delivery. It also evaluates various criteria and properly assigns work priorities, staffing and work shifts.

For long-term planning used in business development, their platform creates a business model to accommodate varying project requirements:

  • Arrive at jobs on time, within the agreed time limits.
  • Balance and maximize workload fairly between staff.
  • Reduce the number of sub-contractors needed to be hired each day.
  • Reduce the distance travelled by the mobile workforce.
  • See where everyone is, their status and what they are doing.
  • Reduce the staff needed to manage a mobile workforce.
The IFS PSO Workbench uses location information from TomTom
The benefits of using IFS for long-term planning in business development.

Using the IFS solution, field service scheduling results in:

  • Instant business updates – leading to improved project visibility.
  • Better decision-making – leading to cost efficiencies.
  • Actionable alerts for specified events – leading to improved customer satisfaction.
From 2014-2019, IFS has been categorized by Gartner as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management.
Learn more about IFS

To learn more about IFS, visit their website or blog.
Continuous improvement using real-time data

IFS is constantly innovating. As a complementary and optional addition to the AI optimization, it includes the use of the TomTom Routing API to calculate journeys currently in progress as opposed to only future journeys.

There is a significant amount of information and data held within the road network. Research is underway to see how this data could be used to intelligently enhance machine learning capabilities. The goal is to infer future travel times based on time – of day, day, month, season, location, and engineer. This initiative builds on the AI capabilities and PSO architecture already provided to IFS customers. IFS strives to enable customers to easily incorporate machine learning capabilities into their operations with minimal disruption.

IFS believes that by working with trusted partner TomTom, its innovative ideas and disruptive approach will maximize operational cost savings and improve customer satisfaction for truck drivers, fleets, and field service and logistics companies around the world.
Want to learn more?

Contact us today to learn more about how TomTom location technology can supercharge your fleet management, tracking or scheduling software!

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