A single scheduling model cannot possibly meet all of the needs of a complex organization.
You need a system that allows each project to be configured according to the specific constraints imposed by your client and the situation at hand. And then you need this system to provide you with multiple scheduling tools that work within those constraints.
Flexible Scheduling Modes
The system must understand the constraints.
The process of scheduling involves solving for three key variables: Who, When, and Where. Each of these dimensions can be tightly controlled but also can afford a high level of flexibility. Cognistix allows each project to be configured to ensure the appropriate level of control for each of these variables.
Who: A Cognistix Project can be assigned to a particular team within your organization. In addition, required levels of skills can be designated. Constraints can be added to limit the distance traveled by employees. You can also allow your field representatives to assign work to themselves based upon skills, location and availability.
When: You might have a POP installation project that can be done at any time over a two week period. Within that period you could choose to limit execution to specific hours of the day. On the other hand, you might be conducting product sampling where you will need to have employees present at precisely contracted dates and times.
Where: Cognistix gives you the flexibility to setup projects which can be executed at any number of different locations which are selected at time of scheduling or execution, allowing your field force to be responsive to rapidly changing requirements.
A Variety of Powerful Scheduling Tools
Scheduling occurs across a continuum. Your system should mirror this flexibility.
Once projects have been configured in Cognistix, there are a variety of scheduling tools available to allow you to schedule the work. Each of these tools respects the constraints designated for each project, but the tools vary in terms of the flexibility afforded to field personnel. This can be thought of as a continuum from fully computer driven auto scheduling at one extreme all the way to rep self scheduling self select at the opposite extreme. In between there are various scheduling tools available to management, each with different strengths depending on the type of work being scheduled.
Intelligent staffing based upon geography, availability, skills and other complex parameters
The Cognistix Automated Scheduler is designed to schedule a set of work using the most efficient combination of people, dates and times. The system works to gain efficiency and reduce cost by maximizing the work that a rep can do on a given visit while minimizing store-to-store travel (time and mileage expense). It is relatively easy for a human being to schedule a handful of store visits, or a small team of employees, but managing tens of thousands of field representatives across millions of visits requires either a small army of schedulers or a unique, sophisticated algorithm deployed within a robust technological infrastructure. Our scheduling engine uses this algorithm to schedule staff based upon location, timing, skills and other variables that shape the requirements for a set of assignments.
TheCognistix Rep-Self-Scheduler allows you to quickly staff even the largest job with minimal management effort.
Managers can let Cognistix offer work to reps based on proximity and skills. The date and time can be assigned, or the rep can be given flexibility to choose a date and time within parameters you set , including days of week, hours of operation, and date ranges.
The system will simultaneously extend all offers starting with the reps closest to the store. If those reps decline or ignore their offers, the system will extend new offers to reps in order of increasing distance. Once a rep accepts the offer, all other offers for the same work are immediately withdrawn. This allows huge volumes of work to be scheduled on very short notice with minimum effort.
Additional Scheduling Tools
All projects are not alike. Your scheduling should adapt to your needs.
Staffing a long-term continuity project for a high-end retailer is much different than providing a nationwide team for a major product recall. You handle both of these situations with remarkable aplomb. Your workforce management system should do the same.
You may decide to manually assign Team Leads to every store, then allow Cognistix to fill the majority of the schedules with local merchandisers from within each Territory. Alternately, you can allow Cognistix to create an initial schedule based upon project needs and staff skills, and can then use a rich toolset to make adjustments based upon field knowledge and data from external systems. You can also create a Staff Plan as a template, and Cognistix will work to find the most appropriate personnel for each slot at each individual store. With these options, you can manage every detail, delegate control to the field, or anything in between.
Cognistix also provides a rich assortment of tools for bulk loading, copying, and managing schedules. With our import service, full featured integrations can be easily developed to import or export schedule data to and from external systems.
Regardless of your methodology, Cognistix gives you the control that you need to solve the challenges you face on a daily basis.
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