The Electronic Dispatch Board is the hub of your daily activity. It shows you what needs to be done for the day, what technicians will be servicing which customers, where your technicians are and where they need to be.
Dispatches can be edited either from the Detail panel on the right side of the screen or by opening the dispatch in the Dispatch screen.
To edit a dispatch in the Detail panel, click on the dispatch to highlight it. The information will automatically populate the Detail panel. There, you'll be able to add Notes to the dispatch, create an invoice for the dispatch or update the Technician, Status or Promise Date and Time.
Another option is to double-click on the dispatch, which will open it in the Dispatch screen. You'll immediately be brought to the Schedule tab of the dispatch screen, but can switch to any tab or area that needs to be updated.
When creating dispatches in ESC, it is not necessary to schedule them from within the dispatch. This is because the Electronic Dispatch Board allows you to assign the dispatch by simply dragging it to the technician and time it is to be assigned to.
ESC's Default Technician column is the "Unassigned" column and the Default Lead Time is 60 minutes. This means, if you create a dispatch and just click Save without making changes to the Schedule tab, the dispatch will appear under the Unassigned column on the Dispatch Board and the scheduled time will be 60 minutes past the time the dispatch was created.
- First, you'll need to locate the dispatch you just created.
- Now locate an appropriate time-slot for that dispatch. This is best handled with the Weekly view.
- Click on the dispatch to be assigned and hold down the mouse button. Drag the dispatch to the time slot you selected and then release the mouse button.
If you are using the Monthly view, you'll need to hover over the day you wish to assign the dispatch to until it expands; then you'll be able to drop the dispatch into the appropriate time slot.
Another way to assign that dispatch to the selected time slot is with the Detail panel.
- Begin by selecting the dispatch on the Dispatch Board. In the Detail panel on the right side of the screen, select the Technician you wish to assign this dispatch to.
- Select the Promise Date and Time.
- Click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.
Tracking Dispatches with Status Codes
The progress of a dispatch is managed by changing the Status Codes on the dispatch.
The Status Code can be changed from the Detail panel on the Dispatch Board, the Schedule tab of the Dispatch screen or by right-clicking on the dispatch on the Dispatch Board.
Warning! If your technicians are using ESC Mobile, the dispatches should never be edited in the office until they are removed from the mobile device. Making changes in the office to a dispatch that may be in use in the field can cause complications with saving the information.
- When a dispatch is first created, it is in a Pending status. This means that nothing has been done for it yet and it is waiting for service. If the dispatch remains in Pending status past the Promise Time, a red alarm clock will appear on the dispatch block.
- When the technician departs for the location, the dispatch should be set to Traveling status. This shows that the technician is en route and will set the Dispatch Date and Time in the Schedule tab of the Dispatch screen; as well as change the icon on the dispatch block to a truck.
- When the technician arrives on site, the status should be set to Working. This will fill in the Time On field in the Schedule tab of the Dispatch screen and change the icon to a wrench.
- If the technician is not able to complete the service in one visit and needs to return later, you'll set the status of the dispatch to Off Job, which stops the working time by filling in the Date and Time Off, but leaves the dispatch active. This will change the icon to a folder.
- Once the dispatch is finished, the status should be set to Complete. This will set the Date and Time Off and the dispatch will disappear from the Active Dispatch Board. It can be viewed on the board again by switching the board to History.
The busier your business is, the busier your Dispatch Boards will get. So finding a particular dispatch can be difficult. The Find Dispatch feature on the Dispatch Board's toolbar can solve that for you by highlighting any dispatch that matches your search criteria.
For example, if we wanted to find "Wood's Garden Cafe" on our Dispatch Board, we could type "wood" into the Search field on the toolbar. Then click the search button to the right of the field (it will look like a magnifying glass). The first dispatch on our board that was located was for "Rich Walker", but that's because he lives on "Sandlewood Lane".
If we click the search button again, the dispatch for Wood's Garden Cafe is then highlighted and the Detail panel is immediately updated with the information for that dispatch.
If you are using ESC Mobile, dispatches should not be edited once they are downloaded to a mobile device. The Electronic Dispatch Board will continue to track dispatches as the technicians in the field update their statuses.
When a dispatch is assigned to a technician who uses ESC Mobile, that technician will be able to see the dispatch in the Dispatch List on their device. If the technician opens that dispatch, or clicks the Download button to the right of the dispatch, the information contained within that dispatch will be downloaded to their device and therefore "belong" to that device. When this happens, you'll see a Mobile icon appear next to the dispatch.
Any changes then made to that dispatch in the office can cause problems synchronizing the dispatch back with the office.