Capacity planning is the ability to adequately manage your resources to keep up with customer demand. Sounds pretty straightforward, so why do so many residential and commercial service businesses get it wrong? Well, for one, capacity planning is commonly mistaken as scheduling. Scheduling is the (often manual) process of assigning your workers to specific jobs. Capacity planning, on the other hand, focuses on optimizing worker abilities and utilizing your assets (your people) to increase output and deliver quality service, every time. Another misconception is that effective businesses run at 100% capacity utilization. But what happens when a truck on the road breaks down, an employee gets sick and calls out, a job takes longer than expected to complete, or weather prevents you from getting to a customer on-time. Here are a few simple steps you can take to maximize your workforce capacity and better plan your workday.
Know Your Workforce
No two workers are created equal. Each service technician, team member, and/or crew has a unique set of skills that make them valuable to your business. Taking inventory of where your employees excel can help you match the right worker to the right job and can ultimately cut the time needed to service a customer – while not sacrificing service quality.
For example: ‘ABC’ service typically takes two hours to complete, but Service Team 1 averages completing this service in about an hour and a half. Scheduling more ‘ABC’ services to Team 1 may increase the overall output of your workforce and helping you complete more jobs in less time.
Know Your Services
Aside from knowing your workers, it is critical to know your services. Pay special attention to the average time it takes to deliver a specific service, as well as the ones that are most at risk to take longest or run over the projected time to complete. Accounting for these variations and average timelines to deliver specific services help you better plan your workday and avoid conflicts with future jobs.
For example: ‘XYZ’ service typically takes three hours to complete. It is very labor intensive and consists of many unforeseen variables that can lengthen the time to service. By allocating more time for this service and creating a buffer before your team’s next service appointment ensures there is adequate time to deliver quality service and decreases the chances you will keep your next appointment waiting.
Know Your Forecast
Forecasting plays a crucial role in preparing for your workday. In fact, it is one of the most underutilized practices within residential and commercial service companies. Forecasting helps you project resource utilization days, weeks, and months in advance. You may be enticed to fill your schedule with every appointment possible. However, let’s not bite off more than we can chew. As jobs come in (and some get cancelled), it is important to continually revise and manage your forecast. Forecasted projections should not just consider the number of jobs accepted vs. the number of available employees to service these jobs. It takes into consideration the variables that may affect the workday, and if projected workload will prohibit your ability to deliver consistent quality to your customers.
For example: Team 2 will be running at 100% capacity next Wednesday. If I offload one or two jobs to another team or defer those jobs to a different workday, their capacity will be closer to 85% which will allow some wiggle room and ensure we don’t miss any customer appointment windows.
How WorkWave Service Can Help
WorkWave Service is a field service software platform that utilizes proprietary algorithms to help businesses optimize their workday. Our platform enables users to examine expected employee or crew capacity and estimated revenue days or weeks in advance. WorkWave Service can even optimize driver routes using more efficient routes – proven to help businesses reduce costs and fit more jobs in the workday. For more information on how we are helping field service businesses average 21 percent more jobs, reduce drive time by 30 percent, and save over 30 percent on fuel click here.