Automation in Tour Planning

Manage Field Service Visits

If sales representatives have to visit several hundred customers regularly, they are faced week after week with the challenge of selecting customers in their area and planning efficient routes for the following week.

When planning routes, they have to take a wide range of information, key figures and customer activities into account. In addition, the customers to be visited must be planned into the route according to their geographical location. In practice, the sales employee usually receives little or no systemic support for his or her planning.

For this reason, it is not always easy to maintain an objective overview of which customers should ideally be visited. In many cases, the quality of the planning is therefore based on the experience and intuition of the sales representatives.

The Solution

As a general practice, information relevant to planning as well as protocols of customer visits are stored in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. The goal of the 4brands Reply experts was therefore to develop a solution that would enable full integration of the data into different CRM platforms and support both cloud systems such as SAP Customer Experience and on-premise systems. The integration of the solution increases the efficiency and automation level of tour planning.

In order to provide the best possible support for the sales employees in their weekly planning, any information from the CRM can be evaluated and incorporated into a visit priority list via a flexible set of rules. In this way, the customers with the greatest visit effect are suggested to the sales employee during planning. Once the customers to be visited have been selected, the system creates a weekly plan with optimized routes, taking further restrictions into account.

The sales employee can therefore visit his customers at the best possible time and spends little time in the car due to the optimized routes. In practice, this has already led to a considerable reduction in the number of routes travelled and a significant increase in the average number of customers visited.

The functions of the solution:

In the priority list the customers with the highest urgency are suggested and can be directly transferred to the weekly planning. A wide range of information, such as overdue visits, leads and opportunities, expiring contracts, price campaigns, promotions and special runs can be included in the priority list.

The map view shows all customers in the field service area. With customizable highlighting and various filter options, the user can quickly gain an overview of the most important planning relevant factors. In the detail view, further customer-related information from the CRM system can be viewed.

In the background, additional information and restrictions such as working hours of the field staff, historical traffic data, the duration of visits to the customer as well as visiting and opening hours are taken into account when creating the optimized weekly planning.

The user can manually intervene in the automated planning process at any time and adjust the routes. The map display also allows a radius and corridor search along the route, which allows further customer visits to be optimally planned.


Technical Implementation

The tour planning we provide as 4brands Reply can be integrated as an add-on into a variety of different CRM systems, for example SAP Customer Experience. Both cloud and on-premise systems are supported. The solution uses project-specific CRM data structures and can be flexibly adapted to individual customer requirements.

To avoid redundant data storage and to ensure that the data is always up-to-date, no data is stored in tour planning, but all data is exchanged with the CRM at runtime via standard interfaces.

In order to ensure the most comprehensive integration possible in the CRM user interface and a low installation effort, the route planning is implemented as a web app. The cross-platform concept is also accessible on laptop and other mobile devices.

Your Advantages

With the solution we have developed, an increase in efficiency can be created in your company.
  • Complete integration into various CRM systems
  • Shorter planning and travel times for the sales representatives
  • Focus on high-priority customer visits with the help of system-supported suggestions and a wide range of filter options
  • Flexibility in tour planning through manual intervention
  • Ad-hoc planning through perimeter and corridor search
  • Full use of the information provided by the CRM system
  • Planned visits are stored directly in the CRM
  • Flexible use through multi-platform concept