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ANS & FLS – How to manage your field service in real time and retain critical skills

At ANS, we understand that skills shortages are widespread across both enterprise and the public sector. Skills gaps are persistent and can be damaging for organisations with mobile workforces, with leaders reporting the inability to shoulder both the cost and the time to train new field technicians, engineers, surveyors, or inspectors.

Signing bonuses, the promise of better working conditions, and increased job satisfaction are all attracting your field service employees away to competitors. Choosing real-time field service technology to support your field operations mitigates this risk, and in-turn cuts the requirement for subcontractors whilst genuinely improving the efficiency and retention rates of your existing field workforce.

ANS and field service specialist FLS – Fast Lean Smart have partnered up to help customers with field operations transform beyond their initial requirements.


What can real-time field service management software do?

It begins with the precise and balanced planning of resources. Scheduling appointments and resources in real time recognises your unique SLAs, KPIs, and the real world–such as driving times, unplanned absences, and in-shift complications (should an appointment time be moved or cancelled). These are complex factors, and without a dynamic algorithm to calculate and plan the optimised use of resources, inefficiencies will add to your backlogs before the day has begun.

A specialist scheduling algorithm therefore automates lengthy manual processes, completing tasks like scheduling and route planning, live and within seconds. It removes demands from planning teams by assigning all work orders with an optimised use of skills, parts, and routes for error-free planning. Leading solutions, such as FLS’ PowerOpt algorithm, have been developed specifically for field services. This software significantly reduces the time and effort required for scheduling and dispatch.

Dynamic field service management with FLS VISITOUR produces precise appointment capacity with embedded routes, increasing the utilisation of field operatives while avoiding scheduling conflicts. This means you’ll always assign the right technician for the job, with the right tools and materials. They’ll have the correct skills and certification and spend 30-50% less of their time driving.


What are the ways you can retain your field service operatives?

Ensuring a balanced workload means planning an entire workforce’s appointments simultaneously. FLS respects your employees’ starting locations, break times, and ‘home on time’ rules. By moving your appointment planning from ‘point to point’ into daily ‘tours’, decisions are transparent, and no field operative is left with more work than another. This is especially effective when unavoidable changes occur in-shift. The algorithm will again, re-optimise all tours within seconds. This can also give your operatives the opportunity to begin their routes from home and reduce depot visits.

With an optimised assignment of resources, embedded actual time-of-day driving speeds, and realistic appointment times to complete work, field operatives are empowered with a greater opportunity to improve their first-time fix rate.

Communication is another pillar for improved working conditions. Through a connected app, all data is shared live between planners, and the field operative. This visibility assists operatives with instruction, order history, checklists, and tools to communicate with the customer. There is no requirement to ‘call in’ their location, to contact the dispatch desk in case of job over-run, or to contact the customer directly with an ETA. Digital transformation allows for these steps to be automated and digitised, further removing daily work pressures.


Field service technology within Dynamics 365.

Most service management software, CRM, and ERP includes some field service scheduling capability; however, none offer the dynamic optimisation that comes close to the accuracy and efficiencies that can be achieved with FLS’ PowerOpt algorithm. FLS is a trusted Microsoft ISV and integrates easily to offer best-of-breed scheduling for your Microsoft ecosystem, including Dynamics 365, Field Service, and CE.

This integration adds depth and completeness when managing your field operations to add true value towards skills retention. For example, the handling of complex linked appointments. Having technology that automatically deals with two or three person requirements, dependencies, and projects to keep operatives off standby and fully utilised. This ensures shifts are more interesting, and your employees feel more valued.


Real-time field management presents happier customers to your operatives.

Your field operatives are your brand ambassadors and are often the first in-person contact for your customers. Dynamic field service management keeps your customers informed and in control of their own appointments–meaning your field operatives are far less likely to encounter complaints.

Dynamic planning begins the process much earlier than job management/ticket systems with integrated self-service scheduling for customers. They will be offered a choice of appointments that are already cost-optimised and appropriately assigned into tours. This gives the opportunity to offer capacity that was previously hidden, plus allow for rebooking without picking up the phone. Visits are therefore quicker than customers anticipate, are in shorter and more precise windows, and operatives enjoy a much-reduced ‘no-access’ rate.


So, why ANS and FLS?

The dynamic combination of Dynamics 365 Field Service and ANS partner FLS VISITOUR creates a seamless solution that adapts to in-shift progress, handles delays, and addresses new reactive orders in real-time, all while maintaining cost transparency.

Digital transformation that delivers productivity gains and truly supports your skilled field workforce. Choose technology to give field operatives the opportunity for better customer scores, a balanced workload, less driving, and an improved first-time fix rate.


For more information on our partnership with FLS, please see here: FLS – FAST LEAN SMART – ANS