Field Service for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 contains the ability to define characteristics for resources. These are often used to record the skills and certifications a resource has, information that is then used on work orders to ensure only correctly qualified engineers are assigned.
In this post I will look at how characteristics are created and used. Including;
- Creating Characteristics
- Assign Skills to Resources
- Adding Characteristics to Work Orders
- Using Characteristics When Scheduling
You will find the characteristics option in the administration section of Field Service. (As shown below.)
Below you can see an example of a certification.
|Name||Text name for the characteristic|
|Owner||Typically, the person who created this record!|
|Description||A text description that relates to this characteristic.|
|Characteristic Type||Out of the box two options exist. Certification and Skill.
I guess it would be an easy task to add other options if you need them.
|Require Approval||The options are yes / no.
From a Field Service point of view I have found that skills (out of the box) are always approved but this option could be used with some customization. (More on this later!!)
Assigning Skills to Resources
Having created your characteristics, they can be assigned to the resources that have this skill. You do this via the “Bookable Resources” option in the administration section of Field Service.
On the resource you may find characteristics in two areas of the form! If you have project service installed you can separately list the skills someone has from a projects point of view. With a Field Service hat on you do need to ensure you are looking at the Field Service tab of the form.
Below you can see that as characteristics are added to a resource you can give each a rating value. The out of the box options include familiar, good and proficient.
As already mentioned the approval status will always default to approved, regardless of the approved (yes/no) value on the characteristic record. But should you wish to use the approval status field the possible options are shown below.
Each resource can have one or more bookable resource categories. And it is also possible to associated characteristics with bookable resource categories. But doing so has no effect on work order scheduling. So I will skip that capability!
Adding Characteristics to Work Orders
Each work order can be associated with one or more characteristics. There are two ways of adding these to a work order, either manually or as a result of associating an incident with the work order. I will cover incidents in a future post. So, for now, let’s look at how to manually add them to a work order.
Note: I had also hoped you could add characteristics to agreements which are used to automatically generate work orders. Unfortunately I couldn’t find that as an out of the box feature.
To view the characteristics required on a work order or to add more use the navigation bar and select the characteristics option.
Below you can see that I have associated two characteristics with this work order. Strangely “CRM” and also a requirement to have a health and safety certificate.
Notice that I have given CRM a rating of proficient. Meaning that I want the resource assigned to this work order to be proficient at CRM. But for Health and Safety I left this field blank as I just want them to have the certificate. (Being familiar, good or proficient doesn’t always matter!)
First of all, when aren’t they used? If you schedule a work order manually by dragging it onto a resource in the schedule board no checks are made. You effectively manually override any scheduling constraints.
If you do need skills to ALWAYS be applied, then the advanced feature of Booking Rules would come into play. But I won’t cover that here!
So when are characteristics used? The answer is the scheduling assistant. Which generally speaking is my preferred approach to booking a resource. As it considers skills, customer preferences, travel times etc.
When using the scheduling assistant to book a work order the characteristics included on the work order are used to filter available resources. As shown below. Notice that the rating from the work order is carried forward, you can opt to not check for each skill or alter the rating.
For example, the work order might suggest someone who is proficient in CRM is required. But if nobody is available you could opt to then look for someone who is simply familiar with CRM.
Hopefully you can see that adding characteristics is pretty easy and also very useful to ensure the right people are sent on the right jobs.