The Freight Transport Association (FTA)’s vehicle inspections teams will do more work with the same resources thanks to a new work scheduling program from FLS – FAST LEAN SMART that will be deployed in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics 365.The FTA lobbies government on matters that affect the sector, from Brexit to rail freight costs to UK fuel duty. It also provides training and business services to members, with particular emphasis on compliance, one of members’ most important considerations. This is why vehicle inspections are the FTA’s biggest area of business.
Until now, coordinating these inspections has been entirely manual. “There was no centralised system so engineers had to schedule their own work,” says Matt Doherty, Head of Technology at FTA. “This meant they weren’t necessarily doing the right jobs in the right order. It also meant that scheduling was a protracted process and communication lines were slow, due to the long chain of phone calls and emails between administrators, engineers and customers. We needed a system that could book inspections centrally and automatically, shorten travel times and empower our engineers to be more productive.”
The FTA looked at four providers of scheduling and route optimisation software before deciding to implement FLS VISITOUR. FLS VISITOUR will automatically schedule FTA’s vehicle inspections in real time in the most optimal and efficient way possible, matching the right engineer with the right job according to multiple variables. These include job duration and prioritisation, engineer location, availability and skill set, and speed profiles for accurate journey time. FTA will also be implementing FLS MOBILE, which will facilitate communication between FTA’s engineers and back office staff and provide automated warnings in the event that an appointment might be missed.
“FLS VISITOUR and FLS MOBILE will make things easier for our engineers, allowing them to get more jobs done in the same amount of time,” says Matt. “In general FLS will enable us to be more flexible and offer end-customers a better, more reliable service along with a wider array of service options.”
Another important benefit for FTA is that FLS software is fully configurable and capable of adapting to fast-changing end-customer needs without assistance from FLS. This will enable FTA to offer a continually evolving and improving level of service to end-customers with relative ease and independence. Matt says, “Part of our roadmap for the future will be to enable customers to book their own inspections via a self-service portal, which FLS makes possible. This will give them more control and more visibility.”
However, while important, FTA ultimately chose FLS for a different reason. Matt explains, “FLS offered exactly what we needed in terms of scheduling optimisation. But the real reason we chose them was that we knew, with FLS, we wouldn’t just be getting software. We’d be getting a partnership. We interviewed one of their clients and could see that FLS continues to work closely with them post-deployment to ensure that the software has a positive impact on their business. Their approach is very collaborative and we liked that.”
FTA is implementing FLS’s solutions as part of its Microsoft Dynamics 365 deployment and Matt is feeling positive about what will be a transformative change to their vehicle inspections operation. He says, “Right from when we met FLS at the Copperberg Field Service Summit, we’ve always found the team to be very friendly, amenable and helpful. Their workshops have been professional, detailed and very clear as to everybody’s roles and expectations. This implementation is a big change for FTA and its members but FLS’s customer-centric approach has assured us that we’re in good hands.”
FTA Chief Executive Officer David Wells summarises: “After extensive market research, we concluded the FLS scheduling solution would best enable our inspections team to deliver a more effective service and customer experience whilst maintaining our environmental policies, to secure the FTA’s future as the leading supplier of Vehicle Inspection Services in the UK.”