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Optimize your workforce with time-based scheduling—and more

Read Time

6 minutes

Author

Robin Mefford

Published

Jan 19, 2023

Optimize your workforce with time-based scheduling—and more

At Aspire, we're committed to providing our customers with the technology that puts them in control of their business. Our latest release includes several new enhancements designed to improve your operational agility and responsiveness while maximizing efficiency from the office to the field.

Here's what’s improved:

  • Time-based scheduling to meet your clients’ scheduling needs and expectations,
  • Absentee notifications to alert you when work does not start within a specified timeframe,
  • Visit checklists to optimize field staff productivity and ensure required work is completed, and
  • Work ticket item sourcing report for improved visibility and management of goods or materials needed for upcoming work

Schedule visits based on a customer’s specific needs with time-based scheduling.

Keeping your clients satisfied is key to retention in any service-based industry. If your business provides certain types of services, such as irrigation or janitorial work, you likely need to schedule visits within specific timeframes rather than in an ordered sequence on a particular day.

With Aspire’s time-based scheduling capabilities, now you can schedule recurring or one-time service visits within the timeframes you specify during a day or across an entire week. This added flexibility allows you to set working hours for your techs or crews, view available time on the schedule board, and schedule overnight visits.

HubSpot Video

To get started, you must first enable ‘Time-Based Scheduling’ at the branch level. Simply navigate to Administration > Organization, select the desired branch, and check the Time-Based Scheduling box. If you have not yet set the time zone for the selected branch, you will need to do so before saving.

Once enabled, you can set the working hours for applicable routes. From the scheduling module, click on the three-dots menu in the upper right, select ‘Manage Routes’ from the drop-down menu, and click on the desired route from the search list screen. After enabling the Time-Based Scheduling checkbox under ‘Time Reporting,’ you will have the option to configure working hours by day for the tech or crews assigned to the route.

To set working hours for a route, first select a day from the configuration window, click the ‘+’ icon, and designate the start and end times for the day you’ve selected. You can add one or multiple shifts per day but the time ranges cannot overlap. The times you specify will be sorted and grouped by day.

After configuring your working hours by route, you’ll notice header plaques, or tiles, on the schedule board. These will appear on each day of the route for which you have working hours configured and indicate the available working hours. The applicable time zone will also display below each individual assigned to the route.

Scheduling a visit is simple: just drag and drop a work ticket onto the appropriate tile and confirm the visit start and end times. The time will automatically populate based on the team or crew size and estimated hours for the job, but you have the option to change it if needed.

On the schedule board, the total man hours for each scheduled visit will display on its corresponding tile when the schedule is set to ‘Man Hours.’ If it's set to ‘Crew Hours,’ you'll see the entire duration of the visit based on the number of employees assigned to the job.

Time-based visits can be shifted to other days or routes, moved in bulk, or extended to multiple days. For overnight shifts, or visits that overlap from one day to the next, you'll see a link icon in the lower-right corner of the tile, indicating the visit is linked to another on a previous day. You can remove a visit if needed by clicking the ‘x’’ in the upper-right corner of the original visit tile.

As always, Aspire’s mobile app will display the time-based schedule in real time to ensure your techs or crews in the field know when each job should begin and end.

 

Act proactively to ensure scheduled visits are covered with absentee notifications.

When you’re managing field staff, ensuring scheduled work is completed can be challenging, particularly since you aren’t present to observe when—or if—work begins.

If you’re using time-based scheduling, absentee notifications in Aspire will provide automated text notifications to alert you when a tech or crew does not begin a scheduled job at its designated time. With early notice of your staff’s absence, you can quickly pivot and take necessary action to complete the scheduled work.

HubSpot Video

To set up absentee notifications, users with appropriate permissions will need to create a new SMS notification by navigating to ‘Manage Notifications,’ creating and naming the notification, and assigning it to a branch and route with time-based scheduling enabled. You must select at least one recipient based on title but can include additional recipients by searching by name.

As with any text sent from Aspire, recipients must have their mobile number entered and the opt-in checkbox selected in their contact record to receive the notifications. If this is not already present, they will receive an initial notification asking them to opt in.

You will need to specify your desired grace period, or timeframe in which a tech or crew must clock into a job, then select ‘Absentee Notifications’ as the type, and enter the message details. If the designated grace period passes without a clock-in recorded, an absentee notification will be triggered.

Now, if a scheduled job is not started within the selected timeframe, the assigned recipients will receive a text message, allowing them to quickly schedule another tech or crew to ensure the work is performed as planned. Notifications are viewable and trackable via the notification log or within a tech or a crew leader’s contact record in Aspire.

Note, if you have not already enabled SMS notifications for your organization and your branches within Aspire, you will need to do so in Administration > Notification Settings to access and utilize this capability. 

Ensure required work is completed and your customers' expectations are met with visit checklists.

As a service provider, you always want to ensure your customers’ expectations are met, which often depends on employees knowing what work is expected at every client site. Aspire’s enhanced work ticket management capabilities now include visit checklists to make sure specific tasks are carried out before a work ticket is completed in the field.

To start using visit checklists, you must first enable ‘Visit Checklist’ for your organization in Admin > Configuration > Application and check ‘Enable Visit Checklists’ for the appropriate branches.

Once enabled, users with appropriate permissions can create a list of common checklist items, or tasks to be performed, within the Visit Checklist Items tab. This essentially will act as a catalog of checklist items specific to your organization. Here you can create new items by entering the name and associating with the applicable branches, as well as viewing or deactivating any items currently in use.

You can also create  a default visit checklist for any service; however, the Visit Checklist table will only be visible if the selected service is associated with a branch for which visit checklists are enabled. Items can be added by simply searching and selecting what you need.

Items marked as mandatory are ‘required,’ meaning they cannot be removed from the checklist once the service is added to an opportunity. Mandatory items will display in red within Aspire’s mobile app as a visual indicator of their importance.

From the estimate, only items associated with all branches or the specified branch are visible in the Visit Checklist  table within a service. One-time items not included in the visit checklist catalog can be added as needed during estimating.

Now when techs or crews are performing a service, they’ll be reminded to complete the checklist items before completing the work ticket. Checklist status can be viewed and managed from the Visit Details page. You can also view a customizable Visit Checklist report to quickly identify the status of each item by work ticket or property.

Easily organize and track sourced or purchased items needed before the start of a job with the work ticket item sourcing report.

Better organization leads to greater efficiency and less waste. Aspire’s work ticket item sourcing report neatly displays the purchasing information related to work ticket items to improve visibility and management of goods or materials required for upcoming jobs.

Now during purchasing, you can easily build, review, and edit a list of work ticket items, using filters to customize the information displayed in your report. You can also apply tags to designate items for a particular project as well as including notes for specific instructions for one or all items.

Once you achieve your desired view, you have the option to print a landscape orientation hard copy of the report or export in Excel format. 

User roles with the appropriate permissions enabled can view or manage this report by navigating to the Reports module, clicking on ‘Standard Reports,’ and selecting ‘Work Ticket Sourcing’ under the Production report header.

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Businesses that want to better manage their workforce, respond more quickly to their client needs, and gain deeper visibility into their day-to-day operations turn to Aspire. We strive to innovate based on the needs of our clients.

See how Aspire is helping companies like yours grow and achieve their goals!


Download our free guide: "The 3 software features you need for janitorial workforce management"

 

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