Siebel Field Service Guide > Setting Up and Using Scheduling >
About Siebel Scheduler
This section describes how users can assign and schedule personnel to carry out field service activities.
NOTE: In Siebel Field Service, the term users can include any of the following: dispatchers, who review one or many region schedules and manually rearrange them; call or service center representatives, who handle the customer calls and make appointments for service activities; automated processes (for example, workflows) which identify an activity and then perform automatic scheduling.
The process of scheduling field service engineers must take into account a wide range of factors, including availability of personnel, proximity to the customer site, skills, availability of parts, efficiency of scheduling, and optimizing costs to the service provider.
Field Service provides these tools for assigning and scheduling activities:
- Manual assignment. Manual assignment is available in any Activities view, where a dispatcher or customer service representative can fill in the Employees field. For procedures, see Assigning Field Service Engineers for Activities (End User).
- Dispatch Board. This screen lets a dispatcher or customer service representative manually assign and schedule individual activities by dragging and dropping an activity onto a Gantt chart. See Setting Up and Using the Dispatch Board for more information.
- Assignment Manager. This function provides a list of personnel who are qualified to carry out a service activity or service request. The list, based on a set of rules, is ranked by a score that indicates the engineer's suitability. The dispatcher or customer service representative chooses a field service engineer from this list. See Siebel Assignment Manager Administration Guide for more information.
- Appointment Booking System (ABS). Using the ABS, a customer service representative can schedule future appointments, with a choice of time periods from which a customer can select, and book appointments. The output of the ABS is the assignment of specific field service engineers to service activities on specific dates and times. See About the Appointment Booking System for more information.
- Optimization Engine. The main purpose of the Optimization Engine, or Optimizer, is to reorganize and reassign a schedule to reduce the cost of the schedule. The Optimizer uses a flexible set of constraints, availability, and cost considerations. See Defining Cost Functions for the Optimizer for more information.
The Optimizer can reorganize schedules to meet contractual commitments for service, accommodate emergency service calls, and meet unforeseen events in the service organization (for example, sick days for field service engineers). These functions of the Optimizer are known as Contract Scheduling.
Contract Scheduling inserts high-priority service activities into a schedule with minimal disruption of the schedule and without significant increase in the cost of the schedule. Contract scheduling requires an immediate response. For contract commitments, the Optimizer can either fit the service activity into a free spot in a schedule or reschedule and reoptimize an entire schedule to accommodate a new activity. See About the Scheduling Optimizer for more information.
After an activity is assigned and scheduled, the Workflow Manager can notify a field service engineer by sending, for example, an email or a notification to a wireless device. The engineer can then synchronize a mobile PC or handheld computer to obtain details about an activity.
Business Requirements for Scheduling
Typically, businesses that schedule personnel have the following needs:
- Match the right person to an activity, depending, for example, on the skills required for that activity.
- Minimize the cost of service. This usually means minimizing overtime, down time, and travel.
- Respect contractual commitments (for example, service personnel must be onsite within 24 hours).
Businesses have to schedule service for three different time spans:
- For emergencies today, making sure that the best person can respond in the promised time frame.
- For the jobs occurring over the next week or two, ensuring that the appropriate people are efficiently utilized and not spending excess time traveling from site to site.
- For the weeks and months ahead, booking future jobs such as preventive maintenance and installations, using available resources efficiently.