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<p>When a major appliance or office machine breaks down, the vendor usually sends a field service technician to do the repairs. This sounds simple enough, but when the company has hundreds of field personnel covering a large area, and thousands of incoming calls each day, coordinating assignments and scheduling service workers can be a logistical nightmare. When a call comes into a traditional automated field service network, the person taking the call creates a call order in a database application called a service management system, or SMS. The author discusses the 3M Sage Decision Optimizer that works at the back end of an existing system for dispatching field service technicians. The embedded component combines optimization and constrained heuristic search to schedule resources better than in either manual or existing automated methods.</p>

E. M. Sisley and J. E. Collins, "Automated Assignment and Scheduling of Service Personnel," in IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 9, no. , pp. 33-39, 1994.
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