Schedule and Dispatching Board Basics
The Schedule Board is a tool used to display and schedule work orders and appointments.
From the main menu, click Company | Schedule Board, or
Field and Button Definitions
- Date Selector – Use the Date Selector to set the schedule board to a given day.
- Now – Click the Now button to set the schedule board to the current date.
- Profiles – The Profiles drop-down box is used to select or create new profiles.
- Edit Profile – Click the Edit Profile button to modify whatever profile is selected in the “Profiles” field.
- Day (View) – Click the Day button to display the schedule board in Day view. Day view displays only the day that is selected by the date selector at the top of the form.
- Week (View) – Click the Week button to display the schedule board in Week view. Week view shows the entire week for the date that is selected in the date selector at the top of the form. Note that a week is not necessarily limited to 7 days; the number of days in a “week” can be changed in the schedule board options and can be set to display any number of days.
- Month (View) – Click the Month button to display the schedule board in Month view. Month view shows the entire month for the date that is selected in the date selector at the top of the form.
- List (View) – Click the List button to display the schedule board in List view. The list view mimics paper desktop meeting schedulers, commonly found in office settings.
- Options – Click the Options button to modify the various available schedule board options. See the topic Schedule Board Options for more information.
- WO Type – The WO Type drop down box is used to filter the Unscheduled Work Orders by work order type. It works alone or in conjunction with the month filter.
- Month Filter – The Month Filter is used to filter Unscheduled Work Orders by a particular month and year. The settings are either “All” or “mm/yyyy”. When set to “All” the filter allows all months to be displayed. When set to “mm/yyyy” the user then selects the month and year to filter on from the MM/YYYY field, and clicks the Apply button to activate the settings.
- Unscheduled Work Orders – The Unscheduled Work Orders area of the schedule board displays work orders which do not yet have the status of “scheduled”. For a work order to achieve scheduled status, it must have the four following attributes: (1) a technician, (2) a date, (3) a start time, and (4) a duration. If any one of these conditions is not met, the work order is considered “unscheduled” and appears in the Unscheduled Work Orders area of the schedule board.
- Schedule Board – Use the scheduling area of the schedule board to manage work orders. Work orders on the schedule board are easily “dragged & dropped” from the unscheduled area to whatever technician and time-slot is desired. Work order duration is easily manipulated by “grabbing” the top or bottom of the work order with your mouse pointer and stretching it to cover whatever time-slots the work order requires. Right-click on any scheduled work order to see a pop-up menu of other convenient commands.
- Info Balloon – When the mouse pointer is allowed to hover for a moment over a scheduled work order, an Info Balloon which contains the most important work order information will pop-up. This is very useful when the duration of a work order is too short for the schedule board to display all of the particulars. Instead of having to open the work order to review details, the Info Balloon will display them for you.
- Color Bar – The Color bar is perhaps the most misunderstood, yet very helpful area of the schedule board. During setup, a color can be assigned to each work order type in your organization. In turn, each work order type then has a corresponding stripe on the color bar. When a work order is placed on the schedule board, the color associated to it’s work order type is displayed on the color bar in that same time slot. For example, imagine a work order type is setup and assigned the color purple. Whenever that type of work order is on the schedule board, a purple stripe will appear in the color bar, indicating that one of these work order types exists somewhere in that time-slot, even if the actual work order is out of the current field of view. Appointment Types can be setup with their own color too, and behave the same way as work order types on the color bar.It is recommended that you set very important work order types to easily identifiable colors. For example, in the service industry a “Callback” work order type is often considered an urgent situation. A callback is a situation where work was performed, but the customer’s problem was not fixed, and the customer is calling back to report this issue. Consider setting up the work order type “Callback” with the color red. Red is easily identifiable and commonly associated with an urgent situation. Now a quick glance at the color bar tells whether any urgent situations exist which demand immediate attention. No Red = No Urgent Work Orders.
Priority indicators work independently from work order types. As part of their customer benefits, high priority is often assigned to call-in work orders from customers who have invested in one of your service agreements. Low priority is often assigned to work orders having to do with planned maintenance — work orders which can easily be rescheduled without repercussion.
Adjusting Display Areas
The amount of schedule board window dedicated to the Unscheduled Work Orders area, and the actual scheduling area can be adjusted. To do so, move the mouse pointer to separation point where the two areas meet. The normal pointer will turn into a “split pointer” as it hovers above the separation point between the two areas. While the pointer is “split” click and drag the separation point to the desired location, then release.
Adjusting Columns in the Unscheduled Work Orders Area
The columns which are displayed in the Unscheduled Work Orders area of the schedule board can be adjusted. Just as with most other lists in the program, the header of any column can be “dragged and dropped” to the left or right until the desired layout is achieved. Adjusting the display area to reveal more of the unscheduled area (see Adjusting Display Areas, above) is helpful when adjusting the layout of columns in the unscheduled area..
Right Click Commands
The following commands are available when you right click on a work order or appointment from the schedule board. Be aware that not all options are available at all times. It can depend on the circumstances.
- New Work Order – Depending where a right-click is made on the schedule board, the New Work Order command will bring up a new work order which is automatically populated with any information available. For instance, right-clicking on a blank 9:00 AM time slot under the technician “Jimmy” will open a new work order which is automatically assigned to Jimmy at 9:00 AM.
- Edit Work Order – Opens the existing work order for editing.
- Delete Work Order – Deletes the work order. Canceling a work order is generally recommended over deleting a work order.
- Duplicate – Creates an exact copy of the work order, which you can change as necessary rather than filling in a new work order from scratch.
- Add Timesheet Entry – Opens the time sheet of the technician to whom the work order was assigned. The time sheet will automatically be filled in with information from the source work order — Customer:Job, Department, Start Time, Stop Time, and Hours are examples.
- Send Page – Brings up the pager form, automatically populated with the assigned employee pager/pin number (if provided) and the message area of the pager form will auto-populate with the work order information. Note that because of restrictions on the length of text based pages, the work order information will be brief.
- Send Email – Opens your default email client. The email will be auto-populated with the assigned employee’s email address (if provided). The email will auto-populate with the customer: job and work order information.
- Printing > Print Work Order – Used to print a hard copy of the work order.
- Printing > Work Order Print Setup – Used to establish work order printing preferences.
- Printing > Print Employee Schedule – Prints a hard copy of an employee’s schedule for the day.
- Create > Invoice – Creates a new invoice for the customer who appears on the work order. The invoice will automatically be filled in with the customer name and any pertinent customer information which can be brought forth from their customer record (like terms, for example). The invoice will have automatically have the source work order assigned to it, thus keeping the history of the work flow intact.
- Create > Sale – Functions exactly like Create > Invoice (above), except payment is being received immediately, rather than invoicing the customer for payment expected at a later date.
- Create > Credit – Functions exactly like Create > Invoice (above), except it creates a credit memo to the customer on the work order.
- Create > Estimate – Functions exactly like Create > Invoice (above), except it creates a new estimate for the customer on the work order.
- Create > PO – Creates a new purchase order where the shipping destination is set to the location of the customer appearing on the source work order, rather than your company’s default shipping destination.
- Edit Customer – Provides convenient access to the work order customer’s record.
- View History – Opens the customer history for research and review.
- Equipment – Within a work order itself, the piece of customer equipment being worked on can be assigned. Afterward, this right-click command on the work order in the schedule board simply displays which piece (or pieces) of customer equipment was selected when the work order was created. Whatever equipment is displayed in the list can be highlighted and edited if necessary. The equipment is not assigned or unassigned here — that takes place within the work order itself.
- Customer > Contact Log – Opens the contact log of the customer appearing on the work order.
- Status > Scheduled – Sets the work order status to “Scheduled”. This status conveniently appears in the info balloon (described above) for all users who have access to the schedule board. See Work Order Statuses Defined below for more information.
- Status > En route – Sets the work order status to “En route”. This status conveniently appears in the info balloon (described above) for all users who have access to the schedule board.
- Status > Working – Sets the work order status to “Working”. This status conveniently appears in the info balloon (described above) for all users who have access to the schedule board.
- Status > Completed – Sets the work order status to “Completed”. This status conveniently appears in the info balloon (described above) for all users who have access to the schedule board.
- Status > Complete/Add Time Sheet Entry – Sets the work order status to “Scheduled”. This status conveniently appears in the info balloon (described above) for all users who have access to the schedule board. In addition, this command will then open the time sheet and automatically populate the employee, date, customer:job, WO #, start time, stop time, and hours (duration), based upon the source work order.
- Status > Canceled – Sets the work order status to “Canceled” and removes the work order from the schedule board. Canceling a work order is generally recommended over deleting a work order. Problem customers sometimes call many service companies only to award the service call to the one who arrives on location first. Then they cancel all the other work orders placed with other companies. If this happens habitually it can cost you money. It wastes your scheduling and dispatching resources, while loosing the opportunity to do profitable work for reliable customers. By canceling a work order instead of deleting a work order, a history of this behavior can be established. It may be the case you decide to “fire” a customer because of repeated work order cancelations. Don’t be afraid to send problematic and unprofitable customers to your competitors where they can do you some good.
Other Menu Options
In addition to the commands described above, the following commands are available when you right-click on a work order in the Unscheduled Work Orders area of the schedule board. Be aware that not all options are available at all times. It can depend on the circumstances.
- Export List – Used to export the information in the list in a variety of delimited formats.
- Form Preferences > Show Columns – Used to choose which columns are displayed in the Unscheduled Work Orders area of the schedule board
- Form Preferences > Find As You Type – Used to set the “Find As You Type” function to Customer, Number, or Assigned To.
Work Order Statuses Defined
A work order may be in one of seven statuses. Work order statuses are “hard coded” and may not be changed or edited by the user.
Not Scheduled: The work order (WO) is not ready to be scheduled. The status is set automatically when the WO is missing required information including Date, Start Time, or Assigned To.
Scheduled: The WO has been scheduled for a technician. This status is set automatically when the required information has been added to the WO. This includes Date, Start Time, and Assigned To.
Dispatched: You set the status to Dispatched when the WO is ready to be sent to or passed on to the technician. This status basically means that the technician (Assigned To field) should know about the work order. Certain Aptora software programs allow you to hide work orders from the user unless they are Dispatched.
En Route: This status indicates that the technician is on their way to the call. You might set this status as soon as you learn that they are driving to this location. This status is usually set by the technician from the app.
Working: They have arrived on the call and have begun working on it. This status is usually set by the technician from the app.
Completed: The work that was described on the WO has been completed as instructed. There is no additional work for the technician to do to finish this work order. This status is usually set by the technician from the app.
Canceled: This status is used when the customer (or even the company) completely cancels the work. This status is usually set by the office. Note: This is not typically used to reschedule or postpone a WO.
- If you don’t see a work order in the Unscheduled Work Orders area, double-check your filter settings, which may be excluding the work order from being displayed.