Field Planning Networking Group launch meeting July 2011

The Field Planning Networking group was launched at meeting in July 2011.

Autoglass, Northumbrian Water, BT, Lloyds Banking Group, The AA, National Grid, Anglian Water, Homeserve, Vinci Facilities, Cubic Transportation

Many planners have vast amounts of experience but this is usually in only one or two environments. The planners attending our first Field Planning Networking Group immediately gained access to other field and branch planners working in many different market sectors and it is very apparent that a lot of the same challenges are being faced across the industry.

The reasons people gave for attending this meeting were:

  • Ideas, hints and tips for improvement
  • What other planning principles are people using
  • Sharing/understanding other experiences
  • Understanding other cultures
  • How people are calculating task times
  • Validate challenges
  • How people manage change
  • Ratio of staff to planners
  • Structures being used and spans of control
  • Pay and T+C’s for staff
  • Planning for the end to end customer journey
The challenges that organisations frequently face in Field and frequently Branch Planning as well were considered to be:
  • Profitability v Customer Experience v Staff Satisfaction – how to balance this.
  • Changing mind sets and gaining buy in
  • Managing the impact of absence
  • Data
  1. Getting to the data required
  2. Lack of analysis
  3. “Drowning in data”
  • Improving communication (Text and Web Portals)
  • Delivering the efficiency required v culture
  • Getting the correct resource to fit demand
  • Key Performance Indicators for Field/Branch planning
  • Inputs and review cycles
Technology is only ever an enabler to doing things better and this is just as true in Field and Branch Planning. The key item to the success of these projects was that the companies had took time to understand what they were trying to achieve from this integration, how this would improve the customer experience and what this meant for the business results. This was all encompassed by successfully engaging the agents and rebranding the experience. Do you think your company understands exactly what it wants from its technology?

Working Practices

How each planning department plans does differ from company to company but around these many of the tools and working practices being used were very similar especially the existence of a centralised rostering unit. More work will be done on this in the future with common structures soon to be available but it seems that  most of  the companies are still using average job times to plan whilst and struggling with a workforce with rigid contracts.

Similarities in Working Practices

  • Centralisation of rostering
  • Annualised hours being used
  • Rigid work patterns in place – 8-4 then use overtime
  • Staff v Demand – hard to fit and few measure how good they are at this
  • Use average or historical job times from
  • Lack of accurate data but have lots of data
Differences in working practices
  • No Scheduler – engineers self schedule
  • No forecasting – “Always had *** FTE – that will be fine for next year
  • No job times

Click here to view the presentation from this meeting

Take a look at these articles, videos and links
Autoglass Awards Case Study 2011: Smart planning models go enterprise-wide
eircom Awards Case Study 2012: Resourcing flexibly in field operations
Harrow Council Awards Case Study 2010: Getting results in waste & recycling
Look at some recent material on Enterprise and Field Planning
Portsmouth City Council Awards Case Study 2011: Fit for the customer’s purpose


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