SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

May 03, 2007 13:42 ET

Schedule and Route Optimization Solutions Improve Field Technician Productivity by 25%

Service Organizations Utilize Real-Time Optimization to Drive Service Profitability

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2007 -- Nearly 21% of all service work orders are completed late, according to organizations recently surveyed by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS). To address this issue, best-in-class firms are adopting a strategic approach to aligning planned and unplanned service demand with available resources to improve productivity and customer satisfaction.

The recently published study -- "Service on Time, All the Time" -- reveals that field service organizations that have successfully implemented field service schedule and route optimization solutions have realized significant boost in field service productivity metrics such as 25% improvement in meeting SLA commitments, 18% improvement in first call resolution rate, and 21% decrease in daily miles traveled per technician.

"The two-hour response window is no longer uncommon for service organizations across many industries," said Sumair Dutta and Amit Jain, Aberdeen research analysts and co-authors of the report. "Not only are OEMs looking to meet shortened service response times, but also are trying to ensure that they dispatch the 'right' technician with the 'right' part to resolve the service issue on the first visit resulting in lower service costs."

The study also reveals that companies using best-of-breed field service solutions reduced service costs by 24% and improved SLA commitments by 25% compared to 8% and 12% respectively for companies using service modules offered by ERP and CRM providers. Other benefits of field service scheduling and routing optimization include:

--  33% increase in customer retention
--  21% increase in service profitability
    
The report authors recommend that service organizations looking to use service as a competitive differentiator and financial driver consider the following strategies:
--  Develop a real-time schedule and routing optimization framework, move
    away from batch updates.
--  Reward technicians for performance improvements to enable "buy" in.
--  Leverage location-based intelligence in route optimization solutions.
--  Inform technicians of failure codes and possible resolution scenarios
    to technician dispatch.
--  Leverage analytics and planning tools to provision service resources
    and forecast service demand.
    

More than 175 companies participated in this quantitative study, including ABB, Atlas Copco, Canon Australia, Orange, Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Telstra Corporation, Thermo Fisher, and Xerox.

Underwriters of the "Service on Time: All the Time Benchmark Report" are: ClickSoftware, Servigistics, Oracle-SPL, Ventyx and Astea International.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=3978

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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