London, July 25—VAB (Vlaamse Automobilistenbond), a Belgian Automobile Association, has selected Sidewinder’s ServicePLATFORM real-time scheduling software (now called SPL Enterprise Scheduling Solution) to automate its patrol crew dispatching process, shorten response times, improve operational efficiency and reduce costs for its automobile breakdown service.

Sidewinder’s ServicePLATFORM will enable VAB to optimize the scheduling process for the 240 person patrol crews that service stranded motorists throughout Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg by automatically dispatching the best crew to each breakdown, based on the type of service vehicle required, its availability, and its distance from the breakdown location.

VAB provides breakdown assistance to 1.3 million motorists in Belgium, of which 1 million have breakdown cover provided by their vehicle manufacturer, leasing company or insurance company, while the remaining .3 million purchase their cover directly from VAB.  As each organization provides a different level of service to its customers, this variable must also be taken into account when VAB schedules the patrol crews.  ServicePLATFORM, thanks to its robust scheduling flexibility, can easily handle multiple levels of service.

“We needed an intelligent scheduling platform that could handle the complexity of our business, and Sidewinder impressed us with its ability to provide fast, flexible scheduling and immediate rescheduling,” said Jo Engelen, Director Operations/ICT-manager at VAB. “Furthermore, Sidewinder has an excellent track record in our business, having provided the scheduling software that has been in use at the AA in the UK for a number of years.”

Using a manual dispatch system, the average elapsed time between registering a service call and a patrol crew’s arrival at a breakdown is typically about 50 minutes. But with its patrol crews recently equipped with GPS and GPRS-enabled PDAs, VAB already has the mobile technology in place to take full advantage of Sidewinder’s real-time scheduling ServicePLATFORM (now called SPL Enterprise Scheduling Solution) to improve this performance considerably when the system goes live later this year.

“An additional benefit of the new scheduling system that is important to us at VAB is its positive impact on the environment” continued Jo Engelen.  “Reducing the number of kilometers our patrol crews drive daily to assist our customers will have a direct impact on the levels of toxic gases and pollution in the atmosphere—and improve road traffic circulation.  I expect other divisions within VAB will be looking at Sidewinder in the future to provide a real-time scheduling system.”

Larry Hagewood, SPL WorldGroup President and CEO said, “We are delighted VAB chose Sidewinder ServicePLATFORM  (now called SPL Enterprise Scheduling Solution) to give them the scheduling flexibility that will be the cornerstone of their success in providing excellent customer service. We look forward to working with them to help achieve that objective.