During the course of developing Inspector IQ, a big question in my mind was this: how do I take advantage of the info every inspector has (and ignores) to make for a more efficient route? For my purposes, I defined an ideally efficient route as how many jobs-per-hour an inspector can complete.
Many field inspectors have a large amount of jobs at any given time, but in their day to day, only focus on the jobs that are either 1) due by a certain date, or 2) concentrated in a certain area. So how do we improve on this, while still allowing the Inspector to focus on the highest priority jobs? Good software is the answer, and IIQ implements some techniques that help. When the Inspector loads into IIQ ALL of their jobs (not just the ones they plan to route that day), a few techniques are used to improve the route automatically:
Job Skipping Information
Over the course of many tens of jobs, small delays and breaks can cause a route's end time to increase too much. Fortunately Inspector IQ Mobile gives an updated route length, for this very reason. This enables an inspector to skip lower priority jobs if desired, thus bring the route's end time back down. The Next Job card allows for skipping the next job, and then has small icons showing;
Inspector IQ takes each job on the completed route, and looks for nearby jobs that weren’t added to the route. So during the route the inspector sees a card showing the important info that will help him decide "why don't I just grab this job while I'm nearby?" or not:
Inspector IQ uses a formula to decide when a job is "on-the-way" to another job. The goal was not to just say, "as long as its not more than X-minutes away, its on the way."
Think of it this way: if two jobs on the route were one minute away from each other, a third job that added five minutes to the route would not be considered "on-the-way". On the other hand, if those two jobs were 40 minutes from each other, in a remote part of an inspector's coverage area, he would definitely feel its worth adding 5 minutes to his route to get that job taken care of.
IIQ presents it this way: if a going to an extra job would add no more than 20% (customizable) of the current trip to the route, it can be considered an on-the-way job.
In other words, if its going to take you 10 minutes to get to your next job, you may be presented with an off-route job that is no more than two minutes (20% of your 10 minute trip) out of your way.
Inspector IQ Mobile has the goods
Although most of these features are present in Inspector IQ Desktop, IIQ Mobile is where they really shine. Inspector IQ is in a completely free beta right now, try it out and let me know what you think!