How Freska improves shift scheduling efficiency with the TravelTime API - and why the Google API was rejected
Freska, a cleaning company in the Nordics, recently came to TravelTime with a problem — when scheduling jobs between their 1,000+ cleaners, they weren’t able to accurately take into account how long it would take each cleaner to reach each job.
This was impacting the efficiency of their scheduling tool, leading to lower cleaner utilisation, and issues with long wait times for cleaners between jobs.
Using the TravelTime API, they have now been able to implement a new, more efficient scheduling tool for their cleaners.
By generating public transport and driving isochrones around cleaning jobs, the tool ensures that new cleaning jobs are allocated to the best matching available cleaner, crucially taking into account how long it will take them to travel to the job.
This new implementation has led to a significant improvement in cleaner utilisation, whilst also guaranteeing reliable schedules that work for the cleaners, customers, and the wider Freska company - a win-win-win.
A powerful app that makes the home services industry work better for everyone
Established in 2015, Freska is a home services company providing cleaning services to both homes and offices throughout the Nordics. Their mobile app allows customers to book and manage regular or one-off cleaning services with Freska’s roster of largely full-time employed cleaners - rather than temporary or agency workers.
Freska’s vision is to be “the best place to work for cleaners in Europe”.
This dedication towards their employees stems from a core belief that a well-compensated, satisfied workforce with secure employment and good working conditions leads to high-quality service and experience for all parties involved.
Freska also prides themselves on bringing innovation and technological solutions to a market that is often fragmented and not technologically advanced, making the home services industry work better for everyone.
Inaccurate and time consuming operations cause scheduling problems and reduce cleaner placements
As a business that involves employees constantly moving between jobs, efficient scheduling is crucial to the success Freska’s daily operations. When a new job request comes into the platform, a key question is: “Who would be the best cleaner to schedule for this job?”
Before working with TravelTime, Freska used to maintain an estimation system based on limited data points. But this was far from the perfect solution — it was inaccurate, time consuming, and inefficient as there was no telling where a new job might be requested.
Because of this inaccuracy, travel times were usually over-estimated to be on the safe side and avoid situations where a cleaner wouldn’t be able to get from one job to another on time. But this over-estimation meant gaps between jobs were longer than needed, meaning cleaners were left waiting around between jobs, and overall cleaner utilisation was lower than the company wanted.
Google API or TravelTime?
When looking for a solution to the scheduling problem, the team at Freska considered a few different options.
The first was to build an in-house solution using public transport data that they would capture directly from the public transport agencies. However, the overwhelming difficulty would be maintaining this data and keeping it up to date, as public transport timetables change on a daily basis and things like public holidays need to be taken into account.
This in-house build was therefore deemed to be unfeasible and so they began to look for a third-party solution.
The Google API was considered, amongst other providers, but it lacked the ability to generate isochrones which was a core requirement. Other providers could offer isochrones, but only for driving, and lacked the public transport data needed by Freska for their cleaners who predominantly use this as their main way of getting to cleaning jobs.
For Freska’s requirements of accurate isochrones, for both driving and public transport, with full coverage of their current and future countries, TravelTime was the only solution that fit the bill.
In addition to being the right technical fit, TravelTime was also able to provide a commercial offering that fit well into Freska’s plans. Specifically, Freska needed to be able to cache the results they received from the API, and to run a large initial data import to populate the system from scratch.
TravelTime was able to offer all of this for a fixed monthly price, giving the team at Freska the ability to accurately budget without any concerns around variable bills down the line.
Finding success with TravelTime
After a period of testing, both in terms of the TravelTime API itself and how best to implement the wider scheduling solution, Freska started using the Isochrones endpoint to improve efficiency and overcome scheduling problems.
We were really impressed with the results during testing. Using the Isochrone API meant we could avoid situations where a point-to-point result is unknown, which was a problem we had when using the Google Distance Matrix API previously.
Stephen Sykes, Head of Product at Freska
Since implementing the TravelTime API into their scheduling system, Freska has seen a significant improvement in cleaner utilisation.
“Wherever a booking comes in, we now know who can get there, and exactly how long it will take,” says Stephen. “This means cleaners are spending less time waiting around between jobs, or rushing to jobs that they haven’t been given sufficient time to get to. We now have complete confidence in the scheduling system.”
This higher utilisation has a direct impact on Freska’s bottom-line, as it saves the inefficiency of cleaners having to travel long distances between jobs, and means that more customer jobs can be completed with the same workforce.
Importantly, the new scheduling solution also drives improvements in compliance. The more accurate travel time calculations provided by the TravelTime API ensure that workers have enough time for breaks during their working day and don’t have to rush from one to another in an unrealistic time window.
“Schedules are now automatically compliant, and help us achieve our goal of putting our cleaners’ welfare right at the heart of what we do,” Stephen says. “And happy cleaners equals happy customers.”
Looking to the future with TravelTime at Freska’s core
Freska is expanding rapidly and has ambitious goals to become the leading provider of home services in Northern Europe and the company sees the relationship with TravelTime as integral to this future expansion. “As a growing company, it is essential for us to choose partners that will be able to serve our requirements no matter how much we grow or what markets we might expand into. TravelTime fits this perfectly.”
Discover how you can use the TravelTime Distance Matrix API to optimise your scheduling.