SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

July 09, 2008 12:23 ET

Optimized Scheduling Plays Key Role in Service Delivery Excellence

Firms Adopting Schedule Optimization Solutions See a 19% Improvement in Workforce Utilization

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - July 9, 2008) - In an extremely competitive service landscape, Best-in-Class service firms are turning to schedule, dispatch and mobile solutions to: increase the efficiency of their service organizations, deliver better, faster and more accurate service, and to efficiently contain service-related costs. As such these firms are actively taking steps to map processes related to the lifecycle of incoming service work orders and implement optimization tools to boost performance, as indicated in "A Guide to Service Delivery Excellence: Service Scheduling and Routing," published by Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS).

Aberdeen's benchmark survey of over 160 companies identified the need for improved workforce utilization as a key driver for service and manufacturing firms to consider work order and scheduling optimization tools. In an attempt to improve utilization, leading firms were two times as likely as all others to utilize optimized scheduling tools and nearly three times as likely to provide their field technicians with mobile tools to access work order or customer/asset related information.

"Over forty percent of firms indicate that their customer expectations regarding speed of service have gone up in the last year and an increasing number of firms are looking to shorten their service response windows," said Sumair Dutta, Research Analyst at Aberdeen. "However, Best-in-Class service delivery isn't governed purely by the ability to provide a two-hour response window. It indicates the need to map processes related to the lifecycle of the entire service work order, to have visibility into resources to execute on established processes, and to equip all stakeholders with the tools necessary to adequately set and meet customer service expectations."

In improving work order management, leading firms were reducing their reliance on paper, developing flexible criteria and rules for their scheduling solutions, and actively leveraging mobile service solutions to provide field workers with adequate access to work order and customer/asset specific information. The study also found increased customer involvement in the service delivery process through access to self-service scenarios or via customer visibility into technician or vehicle location and status. As a result leading firms were experiencing:

--  A 9% decrease in mean time to repair over the last year
--  A 17% increase in technician productivity over the last year, compared
    to an 8% increase for all other firms
--  An 8% improvement in meeting promised service response times over the
    last year
--  A 71% level of workforce utilization, compared to a 50% performance
    for all other firms
    

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Metrix, ServicePower, and I.B.I.S., Inc. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4897.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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