Within Field Service for Microsoft Dynamics you use the schedule board to view schedules and manually schedule work orders.
In this post I will concentrate on manual scheduling of work orders, other options exist such as using the scheduling assistant. (I will cover those in future posts!)
You can access the Field Service schedule board from the Field Service menu.
By default, the scheduling board will initially look something like the one shown below.
Various views are available, you can change the view by selecting one of these three icons.
The map view (shown below), allows you to easily use the colour coded pins to see the location of unscheduled jobs and engineers. On my example below my unscheduled work order is represented by a grey pin, you can then see that the closest engineer is Nathan. Who is represented by the red pin. I personally like the grid views best! But the map view is often really useful to see who is the closest to a particular job.
Scheduling a work order by dragging from unscheduled work order list
In the example below I have used the filtering in the right hand side of the screen to help me find the “correct” available resource. Then scheduling a unscheduled work order is simply as case of dragging the work order into an available slot on the scheduling board.
Re-scheduling is just as easy! Simply drag a work order that is already scheduled to a new slot on the board.
Scheduling a work order by dragging from map
Below you can see that I have displayed the map view on the right hand side of my scheduling board, by clicking on the map tab.
I have the selected a grid view of my resources I the main panel.
When I click on an unscheduled work order in the grid at the button of the page, the work order shows as a grey tab on my map.
Scheduling it is a simple task of dragging the grey work order pin to a free time slot against a resource.
Scheduling a work order directly on the scheduling board
The third approach is to simply highlight a free timeslot against a resource. A dialog similar to the one below will display. You just need to search for your work order and click “Add” to add it to the schedule board in the time slot selected.
If you selected a timeslot of an incorrect side, you’ll get a warning message like the one below. Assuming the engineer has time to complete the selected job, simply click yes. Otherwise you might need to review before continuing.
Get Driving Directions
The engineers will be abel to access navigation apps from within their mobile application. But it is still useful for the dispatcher to look at the intended route for an engineer. To do this you use the “ACTIONS” menu.
Below you can see that I have selected a resource and a day that I want to review. Maybe I am reviewing the route for this engineer for tomorrow, just to check it makes sense. Notice that this field agent is set to start at their home address and finish the day at their company address.
By clicking the directions button it quickly calculates the route depending on the current schedule.
The green A is my start point (my home) and the red E is my end point. (My company).
B, C and D represent the three jobs I have been allocated today. This might not be the best order. The dispatcher can clearly see this and can if possible can re-sequence the jobs. It would now be a very simple job to change the order of the jobs on schedule board!
Pros / Cons
The advantage of manual scheduling is that it is quick and easy. If your scheduling requirements are straight forward this might be the simplest and quickest approach.
But be aware that manual scheduling does not allow for travel time, ignores required characteristics / skills, does not honor customer preferences and will allow overlapping jobs to be scheduled.
To illustrate this point, below you can see that I have used manual scheduling to double book a resource, with two jobs being booked that overlap. Manually scheduling will allow me to create this kind of conflict without any warnings.
Assuming you need a scheduling engine that will take travel time, customer preferences and skill sets into account then using the scheduling assistant might be a better approach. I will cover the scheduling assistant in a future post.