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Oracle Field Service User Guide
Release 12.1
Part Number E12787-04
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Scheduling Field Service Tasks

This chapter describes the functionality of he Schedule Tasks window

This chapter covers the following topics:

Overview: Call Center Booking

The process for booking appointments for field service requests in the call center generally follows this sequence:

  1. Access the Schedule Task window from the Service Request Task tab.

  2. Choose a mode of scheduling assistance.

  3. Depending on assistance mode, specify scheduling preferences and parameters.

  4. Launch one of several scheduling process alternatives.

  5. Review the scheduling advice using the Advice tab.

  6. Depending on the scheduling process, select a scheduling alternative, or enable the system to make the selection automatically.

  7. Release the schedule of work to the field.

Overview: Schedule Task Window

The Schedule Task window contains a Preferences tab and an Advice tab.

Preferences Tab

In the Resources region of the Preference tab, you specify whether you want resource selection to be based on matching territory qualifiers, a preferred resource defined in Contracts, a resource associated to the Install Base instance, or a resource with skills. You can also suggest a specific resource to perform the task. Additionally, you can enable the Scheduler to consider stand by resources while scheduling.

In the Overrule region, you can specify a planned start and planned end date and time to constrain the scheduling solution to the given window of time.

When service parts are associated with tasks, in the Spares region you determine whether the Scheduler should mandatorily check for availability of all parts or it can process resources with missing parts too. Additionally, you can specify whether the Scheduler should check warehouses and technician’s trunk stock for availability of the needed service parts.

In the Time Zone region, you can specify the Corporate, Incident, and User times zones, if they are different from each other.

In the Routing Mode region, you can specify whether or not street routing is to be factored into scheduling. Select the Route Based check box to include street routing.

The Task Details region provides task number, planned start and end dates, and estimated effort duration. Check boxes indicate which of the following special circumstances apply for the task to be scheduled:

Advice Tab

The Advice tab displays the retrieved plan options available for the scheduling process. Depending on the scheduling assistance level and process used, the Advice can display several schedule alternatives for the dispatcher to choose, or the selection can be automated by the system. Additionally, the Advice tab displays the shift type of the technicians. You can view a technician’s work history by clicking on the technician’s name.

For example, if you choose the intelligent scheduler option and any of the Territory Qualifiers, Contracts, Installed Base, or Skills check boxes, the Scheduler displays a list of suggested resources in the Advice tab. You can click on the name of a resource to view the service history of the resource. The history lists the service requests attended by this resource for instances of the current task, products, or customers. You can also use this page to view the service history of other suggested technicians for this task.

Accessing the Schedule Task Window

You can access the Schedule Task window by selecting the Schedule menu option on the right click menu for a task in the Dispatch Center tasks list table and in the Overview tab of the Task View.

You can also open this window from the Tasks tab of the Service Request window. To do this use the following procedure.

Prerequisites

The selected task is open for scheduling.

The task type is mapped to the Dispatch rule.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Service Request window Tasks tab.

    The Find Service Request window appears.

  2. Find a task that has not already been assigned in the Results table and click OK.

    The Service Request window appears with information populated for the task.

  3. Select the Tasks tab.

    The Tasks tab appears.

  4. Click the Schedule Task icon located next to the Assignee field.

    The Schedule Task window appears. You can sort using any of the displayed columns in this window.

Specifying Preferences for Scheduling Tasks

Use this procedure to specify the preferences for scheduling tasks:

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Schedule Task window.

    When the Schedule Task window is invoked, by default it tries to retrieve plan options for the resources eligible to perform the task based on the following parameter settings:

    Additionally, the Schedule Task window uses the CSF: Default Scheduling Type profile option.

    You can set the parameter and profile values based on the business requirement.

    If you want to refine the search, you can navigate to the Preferences tab and modify the initial search criteria.

  2. When you select the Territory Qualifiers check box, the table of attributes is enabled. Select as many attributes as desired for consideration during territory qualification.

    Note: Based on the territory attributes that you specify for resource selection, Scheduler returns plan options for non-preferred resources that are part of the winning territories and preferred resources from Contracts or Installed Base. Scheduler then removes duplicate resources and applies the Preferred Resource Violation Cost, cost factor to each plan option before displaying the final list of resources and the resource source in the Advise tab of the Schedule Tasks window.

  3. To suggest a specific technician to be assigned, in the Resource Type field, select Employee Resource from the list of values. In the Resource Suggestion field, select the technicians Resource Name from the list of values.

  4. If required, then change the default value in the Consider Standby Resources field to modify the search criteria.

  5. If you set the Resource Preference parameter value to Prefer Third Party Resources, then Scheduler ignores all other constraints except resource availability for the planned dates and spares and skill requirements for the task. For more information, see Third Party Scheduling and Management in the Oracle Advanced Scheduler User Guide.

Selecting a Scheduler Option

The Preferences tab of the Schedule Task window contains an Assistance Level region. The Assistance Level region offers three Assistance modes.

Use this procedure to select an assistance mode for scheduling tasks.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Field Service Dispatch Center window.

  2. From the Dispatch Center, populate the tasks list table with tasks. See Populating the Dispatch Center Tasks List Table

  3. To schedule tasks interactively, access the Schedule Task window. In the tasks list table, right-click on the task you want to schedule, and then select Schedule from the popup menu.

    The Schedule Task window appears with plan options for the selected task. Switch to the Preferences tab.

  4. Select one of the three Assistance Level options to indicate which option you want to use for scheduling the selected task. For more information see:

Using Interactive Scheduling

The section below elaborates the behavior when different scheduling modes are selected manually in the Schedule Task window.

Interactive scheduling includes the following Scheduling modes:

as well as choosing the Auto Schedule background process after selecting tasks in the task list. See

Scheduling Using the Intelligent Option

The Intelligent option is only available when Oracle Advanced Scheduler is installed. Use the Intelligent option to assign a task to a resource based on selected criteria.

Prerequisites

Oracle Advanced Scheduler is installed.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Schedule Task window from the Field Service Dispatch Center window.

    The Schedule Task window appears with plan options for the selected task. Switch to the Preferences tab.

  2. Select the Intelligent option in the Assistance Level region.

  3. In the Resources region, select the Territory Qualifiers, Contracts, Installed Base, or Skills check box. Select a check box to indicate resource selection based on matching territory qualifiers, a preferred resource defined in Contracts, a resource recommended from Installed Base, and resource Skills.

  4. When you select the Territory Qualifiers check box, the table of attributes is enabled. Select as many attributes as desired for consideration during territory qualification.

  5. If you want a specific technician to be considered in addition to those matching the previously specified criteria, in the Resource Suggestion field, select a Resource Name from the list of values.

  6. Select an applicable value in the Consider Stand By Resource field, if you want the scheduler to consider technicians working in the stand by (After Hours) shifts.

  7. (Optional) If service parts are associated with the task, in the Spares region, you determine whether the Scheduler should mandatorily check for availability of all parts or it can process resources with missing parts too. Additionally, you can specify whether the Scheduler should check warehouses and trunk stocks of technicians for availability of the needed service parts.

  8. Click Search.

    The list of qualified resources displays in the Advice tab.

  9. Select the check box next to a resource (technician) to indicate your resource choice.

    The Start and End fields are populated with the scheduled date.

  10. Click Schedule.

    The task is scheduled to the selected technician. The Plan Board and Gantt views are refreshed.

Scheduling Using the Window to Promise Option

The Window to Promise option is only available when Oracle Advanced Scheduler is installed. This feature is useful if the service representative or dispatcher is talking directly with the customer. The Window to Promise option provides the ability to find available time slots (predefined time windows) of technicians based on a selection criteria using Advanced Scheduler functionality. Possible time slots, along with related cost, display for you to offer to the customer.

After using the Window to Promise option to assign a task, a time slot is reserved for a customer and the Planned Start and End dates are set accordingly. A time slot is also assigned to a resource at the time of scheduling. Later in the process, you can assign the task to another resource, or use Advanced Scheduler algorithm to optimize the trip.

Prerequisites

Advanced Scheduler is installed.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Schedule Task window from the Field Service Dispatch Center window.

    The Schedule Task window appears with plan options for the selected task. Switch to the Preferences tab.

  2. Select the Window to Promise option in the Assistance Level region.

  3. In the Resources region select the Territory Qualifiers, Contracts, Installed Base, or Skills check box. Select a check box to indicate resource selection based on matching territory qualifiers, a preferred resource defined in Contracts, a resource recommended from Installed Base, and resource Skills. Also select if you want to check resources availability.

  4. When you select the Territory Qualifiers check box, the table of attributes is enabled. Select as many attributes as desired for consideration during territory qualification.

  5. If you want a specific technician to be considered in addition to those matching to the previously specified criteria, in the Resource Suggestion field, select a Resource Name from the list of values.

  6. Select an applicable value in the Consider Stand By Resource field, if you want the scheduler to consider technicians working in the stand by (After Hours) shifts.

  7. In the Spares region, determine whether the Scheduler should mandatorily check for availability of all parts or it can process resources with missing parts too. Additionally, you can specify whether the Scheduler should check warehouses and trunk stocks of technicians for availability of the needed service parts.

  8. Click Search.

    The plan options with available time slots and related cost display in the Advice tab.

  9. (Optional) Select from View Window list of values to view only the options for a certain time slot. For example, if the customer requests a morning appointment. Select Morning from the list of values, and only the available morning time slots display for selection.

  10. Select the check box next to a time slot to indicate the time slot of your choice.

    The Planned Start and End date for the task is set accordingly.

  11. Click Schedule.

    A task assignment is created. The Plan Board and Gantt views are refreshed.

    Note: The Window To Promise option is not enabled for Parent/Child model tasks and tasks with the After Hours flag set.

Scheduling Using the Assisted Option

Use the Assisted option to assign a task to a resource based on a selection of criteria using the Schedule Task window functionality. Spare parts availability is not taken into account. This means that if parts are required for the task, you need to order them separately.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Schedule Task window from the Field Service Dispatch Center window.

    The Schedule Task window appears with plan options for the selected task. Switch to the Preferences tab.

  2. Select the Assisted option in the Assistance Level region.

  3. In the Resources region select the Territory Qualifiers, Contracts, Installed Base, or Skills check box. Select a check box to indicate resource selection based on matching territory qualifiers, a preferred resource defined in Contracts, a resource recommended from Installed Base, and resource Skills. Also select if you want to check resources availability.

  4. If you want a specific technician to be considered in addition to those matching the previously specified criteria, in the Resource Suggestion field, select a Resource Name from the list of values.

  5. Select an applicable value in the Consider Stand By Resource field, if you want the scheduler to consider technicians working in the stand by (After Hours) shifts.

  6. Click Search.

    The list of qualified resources displays in the Advice tab. Already assigned tasks appear in blue, and schedule options in green.

  7. Select a check box next to a resource to indicate your resource choice.

    The Start and End fields are populated with the scheduled date.

  8. Click Schedule.

    A task assignment is created and the Plan Board and Gantt chart are refreshed.

    For information on scheduling details, see the Oracle Advanced Scheduler User Guide.

Scheduling Tasks Automatically

You can automatically schedule a single task or multiple tasks directly from the Dispatch Center window. The applied scheduling criteria comes from the Advanced Scheduler default settings.

Use this semi-interactive scheduling procedure to schedule a single task or multiple tasks automatically from the Dispatch Center.

Prerequisites

Advanced Scheduler is installed.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Field Service Dispatch Center window.

  2. From the Dispatch Center, populate the tasks list table with tasks. See Populating the Dispatch Center Tasks List Table. Select one or multiple tasks, that you want to schedule, from the task table using the mouse and shift buttons.

  3. Right click and select the Auto Schedule option.

    Note: While the autonomous scheduling process is running, you can continue to perform other work.

  4. Click Refresh to view the schedules in the Plan Board or Gantt Chart.

    You can view rejected tasks and the reason for their rejection in the Dispatch Center’s Tasks List table.

    Caution: If one or more tasks are rejected, you must resolve the issue for the rejected tasks. Then the Auto Schedule process needs to be re-initiated to schedule the remainder of the tasks. See Working with Tasks Rejected by Autonomous Scheduling

  5. The alternative method is to run the Autonomous Scheduler batch (concurrent) program to schedule tasks automatically 'in the background', in other words, without user intervention. Autonomous Scheduler is setup during implementation.

Launching Autonomous Scheduler

Follow this procedure to run the Autonomous Scheduler concurrent program:

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Submit Requests window for the Autonomous Scheduler program.

    The Parameters window appears in the foreground of the Search and Schedule Auto window.

  2. In the Parameters window, select a Task List Query from the list of values. Click OK.

    The Parameters window closes. The selected query appears in the Parameters field of the Search and Schedule Auto window.

    Optionally, enter the Task Query name as the parameter for Autonomous Scheduler program. You can run this program periodically by scheduling it to run as frequently as needed.

  3. Click Submit.

Supporting Location Time Zones

When customers and service personnel are located in different time zones, it is useful to communicate dates and times in the time zone where the service task is performed, without having to manually convert the dates and times displayed on their windows. All Field Service and related products provide, where appropriate, full support for customer, incident, and technician time zones.

With this capability, call center agents, dispatchers, managers, and administrators can communicate with customers and field technicians in their local times without having to make mental conversions. This reduces scheduling mistakes and improves the customer experience.

This time zone functionality supports customer and incident address time zone, technician time zone, and daylight savings time.

The Field Service windows that support incident address time zone are:

Definitions