FSL Workshop

Two weeks ago CPQ Fast Path in Warszaw, this week we organised FSL workshop in Prague for all partners here. At the end we got around 20 people from 8 companies, if I counted correctly; some with experience but most of them without. Rob Roop from Salesforce and Pawel Dobrzynski from our Poland office helped us to run the day and give us a lot of valuable information.

Attendees of the FSL workshop

There are about 500 certified FSL consultants worldwide and Rob prepares v2 of his webinar which will cover more advanced real life scenarios to grow their number and help them to cover more advanced areas.

To me it was great to see the insights and things from different perspective. At the beginning you might think that FSL is just for hard hats, but it can be useful for everyone – nurses, on-site professional services, in-store associates in retail, field technicians in manufacturing, … You might even look for some more non-usual areas as bicycle repairs, pet grooming or beauty salon. Basically anywhere you need to create an appointment and would you have some types of skills it will be a plus.

What I like about FSL is, that the licences aren’t on top of Salesforce licence, but they already cover SF licence as well. You might need one extra to get the basics, but besides that you pay just 150€ or 200€ (combination of technician and dispatcher) for every seat (pricelist), you can use the contractor licence, which is based on community plus license (for 50€) or contractor+ licence, which is based on partner community licence (for 75€).

The „advanced“ optimization, which can take a look on all service appointments and reshuffle them to really make a better schedule costs you just one user licence more and as per the help it provide some real benefits.

Good questions to ask customer

  • where they are on their path? – this was probably the first slide I ever saw saying what I’m saying to customers for a while – at the beginning it might be just about visualize the data you already have and you’ll be more than happy with the result. And the more advanced you are the potentially less benefits you might get, but their value might be way bigger;
Where are you on your path as a company?
  • right identify service territory, skills and scheduling – when you get that wrong you aren’t able to schedule and that’s a real problem;
  • overscooping – don’t worry about customer self service in phase 1, keep that for later;
  • misunderstanding the complexity of FSL – resources (technicians) are scattered in the field which makes the whole communication harder;
  • training especially dispatchers is crucial and find out how to support mobile workers;
  • which mobile device they have/want – iPads are awesome but expensive, Windows Mobile is not supported (welcome Resco (my old article in Czech), also Rob is checking the roadmap) and Android might be tricky.

People change management

As always, people might be the problem. Auto scheduling of their visits might mean that they visit the same clients but in different order – meaning they have to eat in different restaurant during the day – they might feel they travel more, which might be true, but the whole company should travel less, if it is the objective for scheduling. FSL is trying to find the least bad solution, not necessarily the best one.

The common trap is, that the implementation partner doesn’t know how to find what might work best for you, but would rather stick with what work for you now, not utilising the whole potential of FSL. And I can imagine that recognise this must be super hard for customers.

The setup

It looks really straight forward and no reason to be a tricky, but for example:

  • the short arrival windows might mean that technician do a less, because he has to wait for the next slot. So when the customer pushes you for a short arrival window it means he creates a problem for themselves;
  • skills are hard yes-no qualifier, it is important to have them correctly. Not everything what looks like a skill should be a skill (and you can set them up in Classic only as of now);
  • the less candidates per service appointment the better (10 – 20 si about the right size), no more than 50 resources per service territory;
  • scheduling policy takes the hard criteria (work rules) and soft criteria (service objectives) and try to make the best schedule. You can specify the weight of each objective to set what works best for your company, which is definitely a tricky job.
Pawel whiteboarding the solution

What’s beyond

I had the pleasure to deliver the last presentation of the day with some more advanced things you don’t use on daily basis but which are useful to know.

  • the polygons can really make it handy for terrritory definition and quick changes to status of service appointments in them;
  • operating hours for specific activities might be great to allow your people to focus on things of the same type and not jumping on different tasks;
  • complex work and multiday work just shows the real power of FSL. There is no support for complex work chain generation out of the box so you need to invent your way, but I can imagine there are professions which cannot live without them;
  • product required/consumed/requested and transfered is super powerful and complex tools which might be too complex, but when you implement it you really know who waste things and how much each appointment cost you;
  • and finally maintenance plan because you don’t want to worry about it.

What next?

I think we covered a lot during the day, not sure we prepared people for the certification, but hope they are at least half way day and can use the webinar done by Rob for further studies.

Quick Kahoot at the end showed our next topic – Mulesoft won and right now we try together with Salesforce to find out who can help us to deliver it. Preliminary date: beginning of June.

Stay tuned. Till then you can take the FSL Trail on Trailhead.

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