Dispatch scheduling algorithm

What effective methods are people useing to schedule installations/repairs/site surveys? I’m looking for a method that is the most efficient at scheduling appointments so that the drive between the appointments is most efficient on gas and time.

I get the feeling many people here probably don’t put much thought in it, but if you have a lot of appointments and you cover a wide geographical area, proper planning and scheduling will save you tons of time and money (gas, and labor).

An example of why good planning is important would be:

Customer A, located in city A is scheduled for an installation @ 9 AM on July 5th.

The next day a call is received from a new customer (Customer B) who is across town from Customer A, but prefers the 5th for their installation appointment. A 1 PM appointment is scheduled, which is an hour after the estimated end of the first installation appointment, which takes into account travel time, etc.

The following day you receive a call from a new customer (Customer C) who is geographically very close to Customer A. However, because there is no time between installations for Customer A and Customer B, the installation either has to be scheduled another day (where you may have the same problem of having to drive all the way out to the installation, and have another across town) or have the technician drive all the way back to Customer C (who is right next to the first install of the day) after they do the installation for Customer B.

I’m looking for good ways to limit having to drive across town between installations, or having go out to an area just for a single installation. I understand its not a simple question, and many variables enter into it (such as what areas are more likely to schedule appointments, etc… Then you also have things like repair appointments, which you can’t schedule a few days out like you can installation appointments, and many times you have to fit them between existing appointments)… I have data available for most of this, and can take this into account when programming the module to handle dispatches.

i just do them as they come in and i drive a c3500 1 ton bucket truck with a 454 and about 7 miles to the gallon.

i know its not very economical but i do it anyways


Hire someone to schedule it for you, that way you don’t have to think about it :slight_smile:

Right now we have software built into our sales/support/billing system to schedule dispatches. The problem is, they aren’t being scheduled “logically” (see above), so we waste gas, and time.

I was hoping to solve it in the software by offering several “suggested” appointments, based on the logic (above).

So, is anyone else doing the same, or do they have any input on the idea in general?