The Dispatch Window allows you to schedule your technicians for work orders and view your technicians schedule.
Watch the video below or continue reading below to get an orientation of dispatch, learn how to schedule orders on your techs schedule, and how to customize your dispatch layout.
- 1 Dispatch Window
- 2 Order Tabs
- 3 Scheduling Orders on Dispatch
- 4 Link between Dispatch and the Labor Editor
- 5 Quick Schedule
- 6 Dispatch Layouts
- 7 Adding New Technicians
- 8 Remove Users from Dispatch Window
- 9 Adding Subcontractors to Dispatch
- 10 Ordering Techs on Dispatch
- 11 Scheduling Conflict
- 12 Technician Workgroups
- 13 Order Chart tab
- 14 Dispatch Refresh
- 15 Dispatch FAQ
- 16 Publish Dispatch
The Dispatch window allows you to see your technician's schedule and schedule orders on your tech's calendar. To open the Dispatch window, click Dispatch in the Main Form Elements tab (circled below).
The Dispatch window is separated into different sections. See below for an orientation of the sections:
Calendar tab – Select the day of the month you would like to see on the dispatch window.
Techs tab – Shows your technicians. This view is used to drag techs onto the Order Planner tab
Vehicles tab – Use this tab to drag your company’s vehicles onto the Order Planner tab.
Today’s Labor tab – A list view of all labor scheduled for the day selected on the calendar.
Day Planner tab – Displays each technician’s schedule for the day selected on the calendar. Move orders between technicians and expand/shrink order’s labor hours.
Week Planner tab – View the orders scheduled for technicians starting with the date selected on the calendar. Drag orders between techs and days.
Order Planner tab – View your open orders and drag technicians onto the orders. View by day, week, 2 weeks and month.
Tech ToDo List tab – Create a list of to do’s for your techs. This is separate from the Activities window in SME.
Unavailable Time tab – Enter unavailable time for your technician. Prevent you from scheduling techs when they aren’t available.
Unscheduled tab – Shows all open orders that do not have labor scheduled yet. Drag and drop onto the dispatch calendar.
Proposals tab – Shows all open proposals if Proposals is checked on the Settings tab.
Services tab – Shows all open service orders if Service is checked on the Settings tab.
Install tab – Shows all install orders if Install is checked on the Settings tab.
Invoices tab – Shows all invoices if Invoice is checked on the Settings tab.
Settings tab – Use this tab to select what you are seeing on the Dispatch section. Filter your dispatch calendar by technician workgroups. Filter the orders that display on service, install and unscheduled by Zone If you have both Service and Install checked, the Day Planner tab will show you all service and install work scheduled on your tech’s schedule. If only Service is checked, you will only see service orders on your tech’s schedule.
The tabs at the bottom of dipsatch show you open service orders, open install orders, open invoices, open proposals, as well as unscheduled orders (orders that don't have a tech scheduled yet). Drag orders from the tabs on to the dispatch calendar to schedule.
Note - Orders won't show on these tabs if the order status assigned to the order don't have Show On Dispatch checked. Go to setup > Company > Lists > Order Statuses. Edit the statuses to uncheck the Show on Dispatch option if you would like to reduce down the orders that show on these tabs.
From these tabs, you can sort and filter your orders. Drag and drop the order onto the dispatch calendar to schedule your tech. On the Proposals, Service, Install and Invoices tab you can choose which columns you are viewing. For example, you may want to be able to sort your service orders by order status, due date, or order number.
The views that you create in the Service & Install module > Services can be applied to the service tab in dispatch.
1. Right click on the column header.
2. Select Apply View.
3. Select the search view. These search views listed are created in the Service Order Search window.
Rearrange the order of the columns
You can drag and drop columns in place:
2. The columns will display in a list.
3. Click on a column and drag it to the position you want in the list. Green arrows will indicate where you are dropping the column.
4. Uncheck any column to remove it from the grid.
To learn more about setting up search views in SME, watch the searching tips video. Filtering orders on tabs
Similar to filtering your search views, click and type what you want to filter for below the column header as shown in the image below.
Entering % after the word (e.g. tire%) you type will find everything in the column that begins with the word you typed. Enter % before the word (e.g. %tire) you type will find the word anywhere in the field.
Scheduling Orders on Dispatch
Drag an order from the tabs at the bottom of dispatch and drop it on the dispatch board.
- NOTE* When you drag an order onto a tech’s schedule, a labor item is added to the order. Go to the service or install order, select the labor tab and notice the new labor item added.
To expand the hours scheduled on your tech’s calendar, click on the order scheduled, click on the bottom of the order (image below) and drag the order down the calendar.
Drag the order from one technician’s schedule and drop on another tech’s schedule.
Rescheduling order on tech’s schedule to another day
1. On Dispatch, go to the Day Planner tab.
2. Select the order on your tech’s schedule.
3. Click Reschedule Labor.
4. In the window that opens, select the new date and click OK.
5. Order has been moved to your tech’s schedule on date selected.
Jump to order from dispatch
Double click on an order scheduled on your techs calendar and SME will jump to the order. This is an easy way to update all of the orders at the end of the day. From dispatch, jump to the orders that were scheduled for the day, update the order status and make other changes to the order.
Link between Dispatch and the Labor Editor
When you add an order to your technician’s calendar in dispatch, a labor line item is added to the Labor tab on the order. It works the other way as well. In an order, if you go to the Labor tab and add new labor, the order is added to your tech’s calendar on dispatch.
- On the Details and Settings tab, click .
- The Labor Editor window will open. The Labor Editor access through the button is a scaled down window and provides basic scheduling fields.
In dispatch there may be tabs you don’t use, such as the vehicles tab, technician’s tab, invoices tab and proposals tab. You can setup different layouts in SME showing you the tabs you want to see and switch between the layouts.
First it is a good idea to save the original layout in dispatch:
2. Click the Layouts tab.
3. Click New.
4. In the New layout name field, enter a name for the new layout. Click OK.
Now that the original layout is saved, you can create other layouts and always change back to the original layout using the Layouts dropdown.
Create another layout:
You can close the tabs you don’t want to see in dispatch and save that view.
1. Click the in any of the tabs to remove the tabs from dispatch.
2. Click next to the Layout field.
3. Click the Layouts tab.
4. Click New.
5. In the New layout name field, enter a name for the new layout. Click OK.
To switch between saved layouts, use the Layout field to select the layout you want to use.
Example of changing a simple part of dispatch layout
1. Right click on the Unscheduled tab and choose Top (image below)
2. Now you'll need to save the layout. Click the second button to the right of the layouts drop down.
3. In the window that opens, click New
4. Enter a name for your view. Click OK.
5. Click Close in Docking Setup window
6. Now it should have that view selected in the Layout drop down and will be saved.
How to go back to original layout
If your Dispatch layout has been altered and you wish to restore to the default layout please do the following:
1. In SME click Help > Tech Support Utilities
2. Enter 833 and click OK.
3. Delete the Dispatch folder.
4. Double click the folder with your user name.
5. Delete the Dispatch folder in that folder as well.
6. Open the dispatch window in SME to see the original layout restored.
Adding New Technicians
If you aren't syncing timesheets, then you can simply add a new Technician by adding a user in SME and checking Is Technician.
1. Go to Setup > Users
2. Either search for the user that needs to be a tech or create a new user
3. Check the Is Technician checkbox. (image below)
4. On the Technician Settings tab, you will probably want to select a default service item for the technician.
Note: Entering a new user in SME does not sync over to QuickBooks as an employee.
If you are syncing TechTime (SME Labor to QuickBooks timesheet entry), you must first enter the technician as an employee in QuickBooks and sync them to SME. They will show as an SME User and you will have to check Is Technician in their user record. (Setup module > Users)
About TechTime syncing: http://high5software.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=SQLink#Tech_Time_.28syncing_time_sheets_to_QB.29
*NOTE: You must log in to QuickBooks as the Administrator in Single User Mode to export new employee's from QuickBooks to . This is a QuickBooks requirement. If a sync has been processed, and QuickBooks is not logged in with a user that has employee editing permissions, you will need to do the following:
- Log in to QB as Admin or a user with employee editing permissions
- Edit the employee in QB to reset the ‘is modified’ flag (i.e. add a period to the address)
- Put QB in Single User mode
- Run a sync
- Return QB to multi-user mode
Note - When filling out a new employee in QuickBooks, make sure you fill out their state. If you do not, QuickBooks will enter "none" in their state which goes to SME as the state of "no". If the employee is edited in SME, QuickBooks will reject the employee on export because it doesn't recognize the state of "no".
Editing a user in SME doesn't update the employee in QuickBooks
Editing an employee in QuickBooks does update the user in SME.
Entering a new user in SME does not sync over to QuickBooks as an employee.
Remove Users from Dispatch Window
When you open the Dispatch window Order Planner tab and you are seeing employees that shouldn't be there, you can remove them by doing the following:
1. Got to the Setup module > Users
2. Click Search > Search Active Users and double click on the user you want to remove from dispatch
3. Click the Technician Settings tab
4. Check Hide In Lists and click Save
The SME User will no long show on the Dispatch Calendar or in the Labor Editor technician field.
Adding Subcontractors to Dispatch
To add a subcontractor to the Dispatch Calendar and the Labor Editor technician field, go to the subcontractor's vendor record and check Use as Tech
Ordering Techs on Dispatch
You can arrange the order in which your technicians display along the top of the Day Planner tab.
- Go to the Setup module > Users.
- Click Search > Search Active Users.
- Select a technician in the search window.
- Click the Technician Settings tab.
- Locate the Tech Rating field. Techs with the lowest number will be on the left of the Day Planner tab. Techs with the highest number will be on the right.
If you are showing subcontractors in the dispatch window, you can arrange their order as well.
- Go to the Inventory module > Vendors.
- Click Search > Search Active Vendors.
- Select your subcontractor.
- Click the SubContractor Settings tab.
- Locate the Tech Rating. Techs/Subs with the lowest number will be on the left of the Day Planner tab. The highest will be on the right.
If you are scheduling a technician using the Labor Editor, you can't see your technicians calendar to see if they are already scheduled for the time you are choosing. To have SME warn you if you are about to double book a technician, make sure you check Conflict Message on the user record.
1. Got to the Setup module > Users
2. Click Search > Search Active Users and select a user
3. Click the Technician Settings tab
4. Check Conflict Message and click Save
A work group is a group of users that can perform a specific function (ie: electricians, welders, repair) or technicians that work in a geographical area. Work groups are used in dispatch and also in the Labor Editor window. In Dispatch, you can filter the technicians displayed on the Day Planner tab by Work Group.
In the Labor Editor, when you select a specific work group, your technician field will be filtered and only show you technicians in that group.
4. Click New and type the name for the new work group in the Work Group field.
5. Click Save at the top.
6. Click Add From Technicians and select the technicians you want to add to the group. Click OK. (To add multiple technicians, hold down your ctrl key and click on the multiple contacts and click OK.)
7. To add subcontractors to the group, click Add From Subcontractors.
8. Click OK.
Order Chart tab
The Order Chart tab is there so you can choose when you want to work on orders. You can drag orders from the unscheduled, install, or service tab at the bottom of dispatch and drag it to the Order Chart tab. Drag the order across the days you want to work on the order. When you do this, it updates the "Start Date" and "End Date" on the Rates and Assignments tab on the order (image below).
When the dispatch window refreshes (updates) you will see the orders scheduled on your calendar blink and update with changes. By default, the dispatch is set to refresh continuous. It's the standard setting for most customers.
If the constant refresh doesn't work for you due to the amount of data, you can change your refresh rate.
- Go to Setup module > Company > System
- Click Edit
- Locate the Dispatch Refresh (in seconds) field and enter your refresh rate.
Orders aren't showing on dispatch
If your orders aren't showing on dispatch there are a couple things to check:
Check to see if the order status assigned to your orders has "show on dispatch" checked
Check settings on Dispatch > Settings tab
Click the Settings tab at the bottom
Make sure All zones, All Workgroups, Service and Install are checked. If Don't show completed items is checked, it won't show labor associated with closed orders.
Troubleshooting why orders aren't showing on dispatch calendar
Cannot schedule order on multiple technicians
The Publish Dispatch button will publish updates to the Dispatch board and send the tech’s their updated calendar events. There are two places to check: - Setup> Company> Order> ‘Auto Publish Dispatch Changes’ – this option will set the flag and immediately send a new or revised calendar event to a tech when they are added or revised on an order
For those not wanting to always publish changes we added two other options. - On the order> Labor Editor> Publish Changes – we added this for those that want to control the events from the editor when the record is saved.
- And for those that wanted yet another option… we added the button to the Dispatch page. Which shouldn’t email anything until you click ‘Publish Dispatch which has the same effect as setting the flags on every order on that specific dispatch page.
The update of the calendar event is automatic if you set, or do, any of the options below. 1) If you want a calendar event email fired on every labor task entry – set the System default. The flag on the labor editor will be set when adding new labor tasks. 2) If you want to fire one when you are adding a labor task entry from the order, and not on ‘every new task, do not do #1, and just set the flag on the order. 3) If you only want to control the firing of emails, after all labor edits have been completed for a day, do not do #1 or #2, and just click the ‘Publish Dispatch’ button – this option automatically sets the flags for everything on the day displayed in Dispatch.