Field service management

Mettler Toledo: tangible savings thanks to real time optimization of appointment schedules

Mettler Toledo is a world leader in the manufacture of precision measuring instruments: their weighing solutions and range of equipment for product analysis and testing help customers streamline procedures, and improve productivity while staying within the confines imposed by regulatory constraints. In the framework of delivering remedial maintenance services and performing the standard checks required to certify a range of weighing equipment, 175 of Mettler Toledo France’s technical staff perform more than 100,000 interventions each year on-site at their customers’ premises.

Quite apart from the 6 million or so kilometers travelled to achieve this, their business is subject to constraints that make scheduling and operations management a particularly complex affair:

  • 60,000+ different items of equipment items maintenance terms and conditions that vary from one contract to another;
  • 20,000+ appointments to visit customers, often made at short notice;
  • a commitment to respect a level of service (Service Level Agreement or SLA) that is specific to each customer;
  • 45,000 planning or scheduling checks to report to the relevant authority (regional authorities legislating on business competition, consumer protection, and work and employment: in France, these are the Directions Régionales des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi);
  • Interventions to maintain, fix, or replace highly complex equipment requiring suitably trained and technically qualified staff.

A project to address four business imperatives

Mettler Toledo France set themselves the task of finding a management solution that could handle all its constraints, and in so doing, address four key business imperatives:

  • optimizing routes in real time for 175 mobile technical staff;
  • reducing mileage and time on the road between appointments;
  • achieving better visibility on intervention schedules;
  • improving the quality of their customer service.

The company chose GEOCONCEPT’s Opti-Time Global Geoschedulling solutions: selected in 2014 by the Mettler Toledo Group, it was rolled out by the group worldwide from 2015. Once a full implementation has been deployed within the organisation’s information system, this high level scheduling and planning solution can configure and orchestrate a host of business constraints associated to mobile technical resources, and schedule and administer travel and movement from customer to customer in a coherent and logical way.

In France, Mettler Toledo also decided to support its mobile business with the Opti-Time  mobile app, so resources on the move could consult – in connected or offline modes – all the information they needed directly in their agenda, planners or schedules, and communicate in real time with the system to view appointments, track routes, input and send intervention/visit reports…..

Rapid uptake and tangible results

«Following a review of the processes already in place, and configuration of the solution to handle the variables specific to the activities technical resources were engaged in, Opti-Time rapidly became indispensable for daily optimization of our appointment schedules», explains Jean-Paul Canonne, Director of Technology Projects for Mettler Toledo. «The optimized plannings for each resource are now accessible to everyone in real time via a desktop computer or smartphone and the information about missions – customer coordinates, equipment serial number or quotation – can be transmitted instantly via the mobile devices of our technicians».

In addition, Opti-Time communicates in real time with tracking systems, so technicians can establish a direct link between the solution and the GPS application on their device for greater efficiency and ease of working.

«Thanks to GEOCONCEPT’s solutions, we have boosted the productivity of our technicians, with lower journey times between missions and greatly improved time-keeping. Our teams can therefore spend more time with customers, we can offer a higher class of service, and we avoid late penalties through failing to meet SLA terms and conditions that define our specific targets and the level of service we must deliver to our customers», adds Jean-Paul Cannone. In just one year, the reduction in penalties imposed translates into a saving of around 20,000 euros for the enterprise.

Ease of working and better communication

Thanks to real-time schedule optimization, customer satisfaction is on the rise. Technical staff can now devote more of their time to customers, who in turn are better informed: a report on an intervention that has completed are there to be consulted as and when needed, the agreed appointment time is communicated automatically on confirmation, as well as any changes of plan.

On their side, the solution’s users appreciate the ease of use and operating comfort that this brings day-in, day-out. Managers find they can mastermind workloading better, with the improved viewing options on schedules and intervention details. Planning personnel benefit from the streamlined and integrated tools, and can more easily manage travel configurations and juggle variables to arrive at practical solutions to complex problems: and this is true even for those with little or no prior experience. As Jean-Paul Cannone commented, «the software offers the solutions we wanted, and all the planner has to do is validate the ones showing up as being most appropriate. Tracking missions as they take place, and seeing them completed, gives us a better understanding at a glance of how appointments are fulfilled, which appointments are confirmed and which are not, and seeing immediately what the progress is on our fulfilment operation overall».