Telstra has notified the CWU that it will shortly commence a trial in Adelaide of a new automated scheduling and dispatch system.
The trial will begin on 10 June and run for approximately three weeks.
Telstra says that the trial will utilise existing functionality within CONNECT, known as the Background Optimiser (‘BGO’). The BGO is said to consider locations, skills, distances, task priority and street level routing to build a work schedule and make live changes throughout the day.
Staff involved in the pilot are:
Many CWU members will recall the inefficiencies –not to say absurdities – that arose from Telstra’s initial introduction of such an automated system, Director, in the 1990s. Field staff found themselves dispatched to jobs that would have required them to drive vehicles through lakes.
The related move away from job batching found employees passing one another in the same street as they went to and from jobs.
Technology – most notably GPS – has moved on since that time as have Telstra’s dispatch systems. In the CWU’s experience, however, there is still no substitute for local knowledge and individual dispatcher experience and initiative in this area, particularly in relation to health and safety.
The CWU has requested further consultation with Telstra on the trial and its implications for staff.