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New year, better schedule: 4 easy steps to schedule optimization

Make 2015 the year your scheduling shines. Today we’ve got 4 easy optimisations you can make to your scheduling set-up, even if you’re all alone on the job and don’t have much time or resources. If you get started now, you’ll be able reap the benefits immediately, but they’ll also have a long-term improvement on how your business works. I suggest one point a week for the next month, and by Valentine’s Day, you’ll be head over heels in love with your new, improved schedule!

Benchmark 2014

Benchmarking is a buzzword, but don’t let that put you off – it’s not a gimmick, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You’re only going to understand how you improve in 2015 if you know how you performed in 2014, and once you’ve benchmarked once, you’ve got a template for the foreseeable future. It can be as easy as thinking about key elements, providing the answers yourself and by asking other staff for their input. Alternatively, you can purchase benchmarking templates, or even pay a 3rd party to come to your business and benchmark for you. To get started yourself, think about the key factors in your business, perhaps KPIs like response time, call-out duration, or weekly call-out total, and find the average from 2014’s data. Then sit down, assess which are good and which need work, and you’ll know exactly where you need to focus your optimisation. Then do it again next year and be prepared to see a significant improvement!

Think about extra help

No, I’m not talking about hiring more staff, although if you can, congratulations – you’re clearly doing something right! 2015 is the year you should see what a scheduling tool can do for you. When you carry out that benchmarking we talked about, you’ll see exactly how many elements go into the perfect call-out setup. Frankly, it can be a little scary. Using a service to manage them all takes a lot of the weight off, and leaves your brainpower free to decide what you can improve, rather than how to juggle it all. Any schedule management tool worth its salt will give you a free trial, and the really good ones, like Synchroteam, don’t snare you in any hard-to-escape agreements if you decide it’s not the solution for you.

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Get to know your new clients

Hopefully 2014 was a good year for your business, and you picked up a few new clients. Make 2015 even better by making them feel like royalty. Sit down with a list of clients, old and new, and get to know them in depth. Know what they do, what they need from you, who your contact is, and what makes them purr. Not everyone can win on price, but anyone can win on service, so make that an aim for 2015. In its most low tech scenario, you’ll have a rolodex card for each. Probably better, easier to share and easier to modify, is an online database, or the customer management module of your scheduling software. Doing this is also a great way to maintain more longstanding clients up-to-date. You’ll look sharp and solid by knowing the right names and the right details when you do business.

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Get better acquainted with your people

Once you make sure you’re up to date on your clients, it’s time to take a look closer to home. Good people make progress, and hopefully yours are no exception. Send out an email or better yet, schedule informal meetings, and see what they got up to in 2014. New training? Refreshed qualifications? Get a motorcycle license? Have a new baby? Fleet management and other companies that need schedule optimisation are a diverse bunch, so maybe not all these scenarios apply to your business. Even so, they should give you an idea as to what questions you can ask – the objective of this step is to find out if your employees and co-workers made any changes in 2014 that might have an effect on their call-outs this year. Once you know their situations, you can update your schedule notes or management software accordingly and make future call-outs much more effective.

So there you have it, 4 solid, actionable fleet management focus points that will leave you in a much better position to tackle 2015 head-on. These little changes, rather than hot tips, are processes that will strengthen the foundations of your call-outs, making your schedules watertight and flexible. Share with other fleet management mavens below, and if you fancy trying out Synchroteam, click here.

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