Siebel Field Service Guide > Setting Up and Using Scheduling > Defining Service Regions >

Defining Service Region Geographic Areas for the Optimizer

This task is a step in Process of Setting Up Scheduling.

The geographic area of a service region is defined by ZIP Codes and geocodes. The Optimizer uses geocode data and ZIP Codes (or postal codes for international users) to identify addresses.

ZIP Codes are not used by the ABS directly—they are only used to default the service region to an activity. However, ZIP Codes are critical to Optimizer, as they, along with country codes, are used to lookup the underlying geocodes (latitude and longitude). These geocodes are in turn used to calculate the distance from activity to activity. If an activity is missing zip or country code, it is not loaded into the cache, as it cannot be calculated as part of a solution.

The Optimizer follows these rules for ZIP Codes:

  • A service region can include more than one ZIP Code.

    CAUTION:  It is recommended that no more than 150 ZIP Codes be used for each service region, particularly if your company is using optimization. This is because optimization routines store the solutions in memory for speed; past iterations are stored to prevent the same solutions from being examined again. If your service regions are going to exceed 150 ZIP Codes, you must test performance and scalability carefully. Very large service regions can cause the process memory to grow extremely large, sometimes reaching the limit inherent in Microsoft Windows. In such cases, consider using UNIX.

  • More than one service region can include the same ZIP Code; this means that service regions can have geographic overlap.

    NOTE:  Automatic assigning to a service region by ZIP Code is performed using a workflow.

Geocode data contains longitude and latitude coordinates for physical locations (for example, a customer site), down to minutes and seconds. The Optimizer can use data at any level of detail; for example, ZIP Codes or ZIP + 4 codes.

As a ZIP Code can cover several square miles, it is preferable to use ZIP + 4, which generally brings the accuracy to the level of buildings for businesses or to within a block or two for residential addresses.

The Optimizer requires, at minimum, ZIP or Postal Codes, country, longitude, and latitude. Five-digit ZIP Codes for the United States are shipped with your Siebel application's seed data. ZIP Code information resides in the data model table (S_ZIPCODE). Table 27 shows the six columns in this table.

Table 27. S_ZIPCODE Data Model Table

ZIP Code

Postal ZIP Code in alphanumeric text


Name of the city


Name of the state or province


Name of the country


Longitude number (0 to +/- 180, + for the eastern hemisphere and - for the western hemisphere) up to six decimal places


Latitude number (0 to +/- 90, + for the northern hemisphere and - for the southern hemisphere) up to six decimal places

NOTE:  Where longitude and latitude values are the same for two locations, the Optimizer uses the Minimum Travel Time. For more information about this field, see Creating Service Regions.

There are two ways to load data into the S_ZIPCODE table:

  • Use the Siebel Enterprise Integration Manager. For more information, see Siebel Enterprise Integration Manager Administration Guide.
  • Import data from the Administration - Data screen > ZIP Code Administration view.

To add ZIP Codes for a service region

  1. Navigate to the Administration - Scheduling screen > Service Region List view.
  2. Select a service region record and drill down on the Name field hyperlink.
  3. Click the Zip Codes view tab.

    The Zip Codes view lists the ZIP Codes or Postal Codes that are included in a service region, plus city, state, country, longitude, and latitude for each ZIP Code.

    For the Optimizer to schedule an activity, the address of the activity must have valid ZIP Codes and country specified. ZIP Codes must have the corresponding Geocodes specified. The Zip Code value can be a ZIP Code or a ZIP + 4 code.

  4. Create a new record and complete the fields as appropriate.

To import geocode data

  1. Navigate to the Administration - Data screen > ZIP Code Administration view.
  2. Click the menu button and select Import from the drop-down list.

    The Import wizard appears.

  3. Specify the filename containing the data to import and click Next.
  4. Complete the information, including field mapping for the data records.

Specifications for Geocode Data

There are several vendors of geocode information. Be sure to specify the following information in geocode data:

  • Latitude format. North of the equator is positive; south of the equator is negative. The data is interpreted to six decimal places.
  • Longitude format. East of the prime meridian (Greenwich, UK) is positive; west of the prime meridian is negative. The data is interpreted to six decimal places.

The Siebel application stores its latitude and longitude in the decimal degrees format because this format is the most widely used and is easy to use for distance calculations, as shown in the following example.

Decimal Degrees







Most data sets are in decimal degrees; if not, use the following formula to convert it from the degrees, minutes, seconds to decimal degrees:

Decimal degrees = Degrees + (Minutes/60) + (Seconds/3600)


37 Degrees, 25 Minutes, 40.5 Seconds

= 37. + (25/60) + (40.5/3600)

= 37. +.416666 +.01125

= 37.427916 degrees

Data Cleansing

Address and ZIP Code accuracy are critical for a schedule optimization. It is highly recommended that you use a data cleansing application, such as the Siebel Data Quality module. For more information, see Siebel Data Quality Administration Guide.

About Using ZIP Codes in Multiple Service Regions

The Activity business object code associates an activity with a service region, based on the ZIP code. You may need to override this behavior by inserting your own logic if ZIP Codes are being used with more than one service region.

In general, it is recommended that you keep one service region for each ZIP Code, using skills on the employees to differentiate between products. The service manager can then simply redistribute employees by changing their skills and reloading the skills into Assignment Manager. If you use separate regions, employees must be unloaded from one service region and into another.

NOTE:  More service regions mean a higher load time.

Service regions are not validated against the ZIP Code by Scheduler once it has been set on the activity. This allows activities to be moved to other service regions as required—for example, to cover additional activities caused by a marketing campaign in that service region. The ZIP Code should always be validated up front, preferably when the record is created.

CAUTION:  Field Service assigns a service activity to a service region according to the ZIP Code of its account's address. However, if a ZIP Code is in more than one service region, a service request is not automatically assigned to a service region and a customer service agent must manually select a service region for it.

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