Waiting for stock, hunting for parcels and making wasted journeys are some of the key issues facing engineers today. However, when you optimise your engineers’ route plans the chances of these issues drastically reduce. This provides an easier journey for your engineer and more efficient service for customers. Dave Hughes, Head of Solutions and Onboarding from BT Final Mile, explains how cutting down on driving by providing a consistent location and guaranteed final mile deliveries are crucial to route planning for field engineering teams.
There’s nothing worse than customer complaints. Failing to optimise your fleet route planning process will result in failed customer relationships due to mistrust and unreliability. A survey created by Populus in June 2019 discovered that engineers spend up to five hours a week picking up parts. However, with the report finding that less than seven in ten decision-makers claim to know how long their engineers spend per week collecting spare parts, that average could be even higher.
There are three important processes to remember to get your fleet on the right track to on-time deliveries and incredible customer service.
Well planned deliveries are efficient and cost-effective. Why? Because they benefit from less time lost, reduced fuel use, improved vehicle utilisation and better organised drivers’ hours. A large element of this is the correct planning for the final mile of each delivery.
A member of your team never starts their day without knowing which route to take to get to their destination, or wondering where they can pick up the needed products for the job, as this is usually pre-planned. Consider the needs of your drivers over the final mile. What obstacles are they likely to face?
If product pick-up restrictions are an issue for your fleet consider a system for professional drivers where they can order parts to a secure locker with the guarantee the needed parts will be there, kept safe and ready.
Smart lockers allow your engineers to track every collection and delivery. Your engineers can receive text notifications when their parts are ready to collect, so they won’t waste a journey and you’ll be able to plan a more efficient service for your fleet.
Communication between drivers and transport managers is crucial in providing a consistent and professional service. With engineers spending less time finding and picking up parts, they’ll miss fewer appointments and spend more time helping customers, ultimately bolstering their company’s reputation.
GPS devices are installed on the vehicles. Therefore, managers and business owners can easily pull up any of those vehicles and see exactly where they are, as well as directing the driver to the closest pick-up locker. Since driving safety is an important part of any delivery service, being able to pull up vehicles in real-time is a huge advantage.
BT’s Final Mile service is a nationwide network of secure lockers which are enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT). By having the option to position a locker within the grounds of its 5,000 strategic sites around the country, this can help organisations with large field engineering teams become more efficient, by reducing the distances engineers need to travel to collect essential equipment and spare parts.
By reducing the amount of time engineers spend on the road, organisations can reduce their fuel costs and total carbon emissions, creating greener, more sustainable businesses. And more importantly, helping engineers feel more like engineers and less like drivers.
With the Populus survey results showing that around two in three businesses are currently investing in new technology to improve the supply chain, demand for solutions such as BT’s Final Mile locker service is set to rise.
Find out more about BT Final Mile.