A Quick Guide to Dynamics 365 Universal Resource Scheduling

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Universal Resource Scheduling is the engine for scheduling any resource within Dynamics 365 including custom entities.

This powers the Field Service and Project Operations apps, and is now also available with Customer Service Enterprise licence.

By using URS, schedulers are able to quickly find the best available resources who possess the relevant skills and experience for each requirement which can include:

  • Scheduled maintenance visits
  • Field service repairs
  • On-site installations
  • Training courses

To complete jobs which involve multiple people, Dynamics 365 URS also enables crews to be defined and scheduled that reflect a group who will work together at the same location.

In addition to scheduling people, URS can book other resources that are needed to complete individual jobs including vehicles, venues, rooms and equipment.

Each bookable resource will be profiled in D365 with a resource role category and characteristics so that the best skilled people can be quickly found. For example, a consultancy firm might have roles to separate bookings between their technicians and trainers.

The skills, qualifications and experiences of each resource will also be defined to reflect their unique characteristics.

Using the scenario of a trainer, this could reflect competencies of an individual resource across different categories of health and safety training, various languages, professional qualifications held and other skills.

For this example, a trainer has Level 4 expertise in Food Safety training and Level 2 expertise in Health and Safety tuition.

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To minimise travel time and travelling expenses, a start and end location is entered for each bookable resource. Options could include a resource starting from a defined business unit, or their home address.

On the same theme, it's important to geocode each service account record with latitude and longitude values. When work orders are generated for on-site work, locations will inherit these coordinates enabling the system to calculate the estimated travel time for each resource.

When you turn on the auto-geocode setting, the system will attempt to automatically add the appropriate latitude and longitude values based on the account's postcode.

Frequent requirements can be templated to simplify the scheduling process. For example, a Level 2 - Food Allergen course could always be set as 5 hours while a repair job on a broken sensor might be preset for a 2-hour visit.

More presets can be added that will detail each task to be completed during a visit. For an installation or repair job this will provide engineers with a list of the steps needed and how much time each action should consume.

Other parameters will define the characteristics that a suitable resource must possess. This might be just one skill or a combination of competencies. These can be preset for routine requirements, or defined by a scheduling users as required by bespoke jobs.

New job requirements can be created as a work order record or using a custom entity, for example 'training course'. These can reference defined as well as any bespoke requirements, and specify a date or date range, if these have been requested or promised to a customer.

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From these records, clicking 'Book' will open the Schedule Board.

Popping open the Schedule Assistant will confirm the criteria that will be used to match a suitable resource(s) for each booking. This pulls through the values already set but these can be changed and fine-tuned across:

  • Work location
  • Duration
  • Search radius
  • Start and end dates / times
  • Job roles
  • Characteristics / skills
  • Resource types
  • Territories

Clicking search will bring up a list of available matching resources.

From this list view, schedulers can assess the distance and travel time of each resource and verify their skills.

By confirming one of these resources, the original order record will be updated with a linked booking.

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Confirmed bookings can also be viewed in a list display across all resources and accounts that enables associated charts to be instantly shown.

For example, use these visualisations to see which resources are doing the most travelling, who has been billed for the most hours, or which accounts have made the most bookings.

Within the Schedule Board or Group Calendar, schedulers can instantly see all resources in one place. This display provides insight for:

  • The work hours of each individual resource
  • What jobs they are booked on including travel time
  • Their utilisation % for each day / week / month

From this display click any scheduled item to see the detail including duration, location and instructions.

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Demonstration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service

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