Scheduling Chain Store Maintenance Crews

Ron Dombrowski January 29, 2020

If you are in the transportation business, whenever you go into a large chain store, you may think about how the groceries or other products got to the store.

But there are transportation issues other than product delivery to be considered.

Store Refrigerators

The store for every major (and most minor) chains have refrigerator and freezer cases. They also have lights and other electrical appliances. And, as we all know, all these things fail at some point in their service lives.

These problems are handled by maintenance crews who move from store to store over the course of the day working on either reported issues or performing preventive maintenance. You probably never noticed someone changing a filter in a store, but the person doing it helps keep the mechanical side of the business operating smoothly.

When scheduling maintenance crews, what needs to be considered?

  • What is the urgency? Can a repair be made in the afternoon, or must it be addressed in the morning?
  • Does a technician have the skills to perform the task at hand? A senior technician may be able to do more than someone just starting on the job.
  • Are there times of the day when the store is very busy and the manager would not like to have the maintenance crew in the way of the shoppers?
  • If there are both maintenance and repair tasks to be done on a specific date, and there is more work that can be done, which tasks get put off until later?
  • And, how are the routes built to minimize "window time", that time behind the wheel that could be better spent on the job somewhere.

Strategic Movements addresses these issues.

  • Each task to be done may have a specific time window.
  • Each worker may have a list of available skills and each task may have a list of required skills.
  • Each store location may have multiple time windows when the store is available to accept maintenance crews.
  • Each task may be given a priority. When there is too much work for the resources at hand, higher priority tasks get scheduled in preference to those with lower priority.
  • And, routes are built by the AI last mile solver process to consider the assignment requirements first and then doing it in the most economical way.

What about special cases?

Once the solver has made the assignments, the route planner can use the graphical dispatching tool to make changes overriding the solver. In the end, the route planner makes the final decisions.

Strategic Movements also has robust capabilities to import data from other sources using techniques from simple flat files to programmable interfaces. With the push of a button, work can be transmitted and the schedules automatically computed.

Do you want cost effective routes built in a short amount of time, and want to benefit from the savings? Visit us at Strategic Movements and see what we can do for you.

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