The Blog

  • February 21, 2013
  • TOA Technologies Helps Manage the Rolling Workforce with Predictive Modeling

    This post is part of an occasional series on the AppExchange as Salesforce.com celebrates the seventh anniversary of its launch.  The series will focus on some of the most interesting AppExchange applications of the last year.

    TOA Technologies is an AppExchange partner focusing on mobile workforce management, which provides an important extension to the Salesforce CRM solution set.  In the early days of CRM the category went by a different name — field service automation or FSA — which better reflected the fact that until then, most of the work we now associate with deploying and directing field service personnel was manual.

    While the initial automation efforts delivered many benefits, including reduced costs and greater productivity, those benefits have been largely absorbed and companies today are seeking greater refinement in a new set of benefits.  That’s where TOA Technologies comes in.

    From automation to management

    TOA has taken field service the next logical step from automation to management, which requires greater use of information.  The information that TOA leverages comes from collecting copious amounts of time related data and then analyzing it to derive performance metrics.  These metrics enable TOA to render accurate predictions for a business focused on dispatching people and equipment to customer sites as well as internal business sites that may require services or deliverables.  The result is better customer experience from better knowing when to expect the service call and how long it will take.

    TOA has a two-step approach to analyzing and predicting mobile workforce activity.  For each company it has helped since its founding in 2003, TOA uses predictive analytics based individual profile patterns to optimize each unique workforce.

    First, TOA collects time-based measurements about each member of a mobile workforce and the way that each completes different types of work.  Then, TOA’s ETAdirect software uses this learned information to make predictions about when appointments will occur and how long they will take. Because these predictions are based on actual, real-time information, organizations can effectively communicate appointment information to customers, with the confidence the field workforce will deliver on the service promise.  Because the system learns based on information unique to the individual and organization, it takes five days, on average, to learn the patterns of a given workforce in a way that generates results. , on average, to learn the patten waesu yding next steps with John/Yuvalconsumption)of day Thursday. ability However, the solution still achieves incredible efficiencies and results on day one, because TOA can input previously collected industry data (from its expertise in the industry) or apply basic patterns or knowledge provided by the organization. Therefore, the technology can optimize schedules for a good starting point even before it collects data from the field.

    The customer’s time is money

    The focus on time and efficiency is more important now than ever before because in today’s more competitive markets, customer satisfaction, and not cost, has become a focal point.  Customers have choices in who they do business with and if a product fails to measure up a customer might go elsewhere.  But in today’s more competitive marketplace the service experience goes under the same microscope and if a service experience fails to measure up it can also be reason for customer attrition.  TOA’s secret sauce is its understanding that a focus on time efficient processes results in both cost containment for the vendor and greater reliability and a better customer experience.

    So, by capturing data that enables the system to accurately predict how long it takes to perform a repair or move a truck from one customer location to another at a particular time of day, a service vendor can more accurately predict a service window and detect any slippage in the schedule.  Predictive scheduling enables the vendor to promise a smaller service window for the customer, freeing up the customer’s time in the process.  This is one reason that TOA has been selected by several cable providers, telcos and pay TV providers including Dish Network, Cablevision, Cox Communications and Virgin Media.

    Salesforce connection

    TOA Technologies has more than ninety enterprise class customers and more than 66,000 users of its solutions.  At any time there are more than seventy thousand mobile assets actively tracked by the system.  ETAworkforce, TOA’s integration suite, which went live on the AppExchange in mid-2012, brings together Salesforce CRM and field service management powered by TOA.  ETAworkforce also enables customer service representatives (CSRs) in the call center to book appointments the way a traveler might book a flight, as well as create work orders — all within the Salesforce ecosystem.  This was impossible before ETAworkforce was available.

    Benefits

    ETAdirect predicts how the unpredictable events that occur daily in any field service delivery will impact the rest of the day, thus empowering the organization to see and manage problems before they occur.  According to Vice President Of Channels and Alliances, Jeff Wartgow, “TOA’s ETAdirect solution manages 75 million appointments per year.  Also, “Any industry that requires having a service person arrive on site, and on time,” is a candidate for the TOA system including furniture delivery, retail and home healthcare to name a few.

    Tracking time is a great way to improve customer satisfaction and save money. Because TOA tracks data rigorously, it’s easy to come up with its own performance averages a representative sample includes:

    • Reduction of service wait window to one hour
    • 30 percent improvement in on-time performance and 98 percent customer satisfaction rate
    • 70 percent reduction in “Where’s My Service/Delivery?” calls to the call center
    • 47 percent increase in the rate of jobs completed each day
    • 40 percent decrease in miles driven per appointment
    • 20 percent reduction in time to complete jobs
    • 20 percent reduction in unnecessary visits to a customer home
    • 75 percent reduction in overtime

    Conclusion

    As long as there are reasons to bring products and services to customers there will be a need to manage costs and expectations to deliver optimal customer service experiences.  TOA Technologies has shown an understanding of what’s critically important in servicing customers at their locations.  It’s understanding what happens in the field, down to the individual employee, and using that information to predict when things will happen and how long they will take. Managing time has enabled TOA to elevate the discussion from service automation to real service management.

    Published: 5 years ago


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