As I revise for the MB2-718 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) I’m creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this post I will review concepts connected with scheduling work orders.
Having created work orders you will need to schedule them to be able to dispatch a suitable field engineer. We have several scheduling options available in Field Service including;
- Manual scheduling – directly schedule (and re-schedule) work orders on the schedule board.
- Semi-Automatic Scheduling – Using the schedule assistant to help provide “suggestions” on appropriate time slots / engineers.
- Fully automatic scheduling – making use of the Resource Schedule Optimization (RSO) module to calculate the most efficient use of resources. (RSO is outside the scope of the MB2-718 exam.)
In previous posts I have already covered several items that play a part in scheduling. These items have included resources, calendars, geocode locations, engineer characteristics, work order incidents etc etc …. All of these collectively work together to help ensure the right engineers are dispatches to the right jobs at the right time.
Tip: Spending time to ensure all of the required items / attributes are correctly created before generating and scheduling work orders is very important! As getting the configuration right will make the process of work order creation much quicker / easier.
Schedule Board (Manual Scheduling)
The schedule board is the key tool in scheduling and re-scheduling work orders. It provides a rich drag and drop interface that allows us to simply schedule work orders and amend existing bookings. Filtering helps the dispatcher find the required information. Additionally engineer and work order locations can be viewed on a map to ensure the most effective routes are being used.
Typically the schedule board will view one day at a time. Often the dispatcher is going o be looking at the “today” view to handle current live issues. But they can scroll forwards (and backwards) to plan work on other days as required. The scale on the board will initially default to hours but the dispatcher can change this to days, weeks or even months as required.
Initially the dispatcher will probably see a vertical view of the data. Meaning the resources are down the side and time is along the top. But this can be reversed to show a horizontal view with resources along the top if required. Or even show the map view as the main view if required.
The schedule board is graphical! Therefore I strongly encourage not to reply on theory at this point of your revision. Create some work orders and schedule them to become familiar with how the schedule board operates.
Notice above that I have hovered over one of the resources. This is useful as I can see details of the resources skills and roles. Additionally I have some icons that let me directly contact this resource if required.
Also notice that one of my schedule work orders is shown in red. This signifies that the engineer is currently travelling to this job. You should be able to see a legend on the screen which explains which colours relate to which status. (Blue is scheduled, green is in progress, red is traveling etc.)
The schedule board includes a map view which is really useful to see the location of field engineers, their scheduled work, unscheduled work etc. The map also shows a suggested route for each engineer. Scheduling a unscheduled work order from the map view is as simply as dragging the “?” icon representing the work order from the map onto the required resource / time slot. Additionally you show notice the “Booking Requirements” panel at the bottom of the screen. The dispatcher can also see any unscheduled work orders in this view and just like with the map to schedule one they simply drag them onto the schedule board.
It is also possible to reschedule an already scheduled work order by simply dragging it on the schedule board to a new resource or time slot as required.
As an alternative to the map view we can also show filters. The filtering supports filters including;
- Characteristics (and rating)
- Organizational Units
- Resource Types
- Business Units
If I hover over a scheduled item I can see additional information about that item. As you can see below we also have a details panel that can be opened to see addition information about the selected item.
Effectively the process of dragging items onto the schedule board is automatically creating a resource booking for each work order. As we saw in a previous post we have a work order, which can have one or more resource bookings for bookable resources. So dragging a work order to a bookable resource “joins” them by creating the resource booking entity. Each booking can then have a status, such as scheduled, in progress, traveling etc. In the mobile application the engineer will update the status their resource booking and this will show on the schedule board.
Schedule Board – Configuration
The schedule board is very configurable. For example, you can use the settings option (shown below) to change the time frame displayed, size of columns / rows, numbers of resources displayed per page etc.
Additionally you can use the “Open Tab Settings” option to control many options. Including the views shown etc.
It is possible for each dispatcher to have multiple tabs and for each of those tabs to have a different set of settings / filters. Below you can see that I have used the “+” icon to add a second tab as an example. Each tab might be used to filter differently. Maybe the dispatcher would need tabs by area / territory. As they work with engineers in the south separately to those in the north. Or maybe you alter the views to show work orders of a particular type or priority in each tab.
When new tabs are created they can be made available to everyone, specific users or just this individual dispatcher.
Schedule Assistant (Semi-Automatic Scheduling)
We have seen that the schedule board allows us to manually schedule and re-schedule work orders. The schedule assistant is an alternative approach that can make suggestions as to possible resources and time slots.
There are two approaches to activating the schedule assistant, those being directly from a work order to from the schedule board.
Using the Schedule Assistant from a work order
Once I have saved my work order I have a book option available in the command bar. (As shown below.)
Clicking book will load the schedule assistant. The filter criteria will default based on information from the work order, I can however adjust it as required. Allowing me to filter resources based on several constraints including duration, distance, start / end times, characteristics etc.
Clicking search will then suggest a number of possible booking slots. To book the suggested slot I simple select the resource and use the booking panel to confirm the booking detail.
There is an advanced tab in the schedule assistant search which enables me to work in real time mode or ignore travel time. Real time mode takes the engineers last know location into account when calculating travel time.
One important difference of using the schedule assistant is that it will take travel time into account. Below you can see how my booking showed on the schedule board. Notice the bar that indicates the expected travel time between jobs.
Using the Schedule Assistant from the schedule board
The second approach to the schedule assistant is to use it directly from the schedule boatrd. To do this open the schedule board and then select an open requirement. Doing so will show a “FIND AVAILABILITY” option.
With this approach the schedule assistant looks quite different! But it provides the same filtering options as we have already seen against the work order. My schedule board is automatically filtered to only show suitable resources then grey blocks show to high potential time slots for this job. To select a suggested slot simply select it and click the book option.
I hope I have cover the main concepts you’ll need to be aware of for your MB2-718 exam. I do strongly recommend getting some hands on time as part of your revision, as scheduling is a very graphical task and therefore one best understood by using the system. Enjoy.