An Experimental Comparison of Dispatching Rules for Field Service Support

Arthur V. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Field service repair management is increasing in importance as “high tech” machines such as computers, communication systems, and copy machines are becoming more popular and more widely disbursed geographically. Complicating the management of these systems are response time performance guarantees (e.g., 8‐hour response time), which are a popular marketing tool for many field service businesses [21]. These response time), guarantees especially complicate the field service dispatching problem. With response time guarantees, dispatchers must consider travel times and other issues to determine which call should be assigned to an available technician. This research proposes several dispatching rules that might be applied for dispatching sequential‐trip technicians in this environment and compares these rules in a simulation experiment to determine which rule is best in terms of average tardiness. The proposed composite travel time‐expiration time rule was found to be the best on average tardiness performance and on all other tardiness‐related measures. Given the increased importance of tardiness performance in field service organizations, the proposed composite rule appears to have promise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


  • Maintenance
  • Scheduling
  • Service Operations Management
  • Simulation

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