Scheduling

This post is a part of a “Field Service for Citizen Developers” series. Click here to see other posts.

We have discussed Work and Resources before this article, now Scheduling is where the fun begins. Put simply, scheduling lets ‘resources’ to be ‘booked’ against ‘requirements’ of ‘work’.

A keyword in the above sentence is ‘booked’. Traditionally in Power Apps model-driven app, every record has an owner. If you want to change an owner, you ‘assign’ record to a new owner (user).

A ‘booking’ is a bit similar to ‘assignment’ in the sense that it also involves record and a user (read resource) but booking also involves (a) date-time and (b) requirement for the work. In a way, this adds two more dimensions to ‘booking’.

I think date/time is self-explanatory but ‘requirement’ requires a little explanation. When you create a work order for customer work (eg. Installation of a new device), you may want work to happen in two phases:

a) first phase is the installation of the device, and
b) the next phase is to do a follow-up in a week’s time to confirm with the customer there are no complaints or issues.

Turns out, this is a pretty common scenario in field service work planning where the ‘work’ is a singular thing but execution in multiple batches. Now each of this batch requires certain resources to be booked to do the work. Going back to our example, for the work order, we have two set of resource needs: (a) first one to do the installation of device which may take 2 hours and may require 2 engineers, and (b) to go to customer and confirm there are no issues – this may require an hour only and may need a visit of 1 engineer only. Now to do the booking of work, two bookings will have to be created on the calendar for each of these two requirements against a same work order. Therefore from the database design perspective, the relationship between Work Order and Resource Requirement is one-to-many.

The Schedule Board is a screen in Dynamics 365 Field Service that brings all these four components together on one screen. That is why, it is sometimes called a glorious calendar which has dimensions other than date, time and event (record) only.

There are four ways to schedule resource against resource requirements for work order:

  1. Manually – by clicking on Book button on Work Order, which opens Schedule Assistant
  2. Manually – by dragging and dropping a Work Order requirement on the Schedule Board
  3. Manually – by selecting an open requirement and creating a booking through ‘Create Booking’ screen on the Schedule Board
  4. Automatic – through Resource Scheduling Optimisation AI-based engine (this is an add-on and comes with the cost)

Further readings:
* Schedule with travel time and distance | Microsoft Docs

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