All service calls are entered here on the Dispatch screen. All information about who called, the problems they are having, and who is assigned to fix their problems is entered on this screen. The Dispatch is packed full of features and information that can be overwhelming to look at. So let's break those fields down for you.
The Dispatch screen displays the customer information at the top of the screen. The bottom of the screen is divided into five sections with a tab for each.
- General - This tab displays the Service Request Codes, descriptions and times, Date and Time Received, Job Name, Dispatch Notes, and various other fields that relate directly to the dispatch itself.
- Schedule - This tab displays the scheduling information for the dispatch, such as tech, date and time promised, and status of the call and helps to track working times for billing.
- Equipment - This tab displays a list of all the equipment currently installed at the customer's location. It allows you to select which pieces of equipment will be worked on during this dispatch. You also have the ability to Edit or Add New equipment on the fly.
- Documents - This tab displays a list of documents that have been attached to the dispatch. It also gives you the ability to recall those documents, delete them or add more.
- Parts - This tab displays the parts that have been attached to the dispatch. Inventory Items and Billing Codes associated with the dispatch will automatically carry to the associated invoice.
Note: If you have your monitor set to a very low resolution it is possible that the dispatch notes will also display on a separate tab.
To search for a particular customer start entering the customer's company/last name and the field will fill with the customer that is the closest match. To search by anything other than name, click the drop-down arrow on the right of the field to get the Customer Search screen.
You can also bypass the customer name field and enter the customer's number, if known, directly in the field to the right of this one.
This field is used to enter and display the customer’s location. If the customer and location were selected from the Customer Search screen, this number will be filled in automatically. If the customer was entered manually (by name or number), you will need to select the Location this dispatch pertains to.
This area will automatically display the selected customer’s total outstanding receivable balance. The amounts displayed in this area are the total of all receivables due for all of the customer’s locations.
Data in this area cannot be modified from this screen. This balance is updated every time a payment is made and an open invoice is generated. If you are integrated with QuickBooks or Sage 50, the balances shown here will be provided by that system.
This field will automatically show the selected customer’s payment terms. This information cannot be modified from this screen. It can only be modified from the Customer Information screen.
The Credit Rating displays the customer's current standing with your company. It is color-coded to make it stand out on the screen. A customer's Credit Rating can prevent a dispatch from being saved for this customer, making it easy to prevent customer's in bad standing from being provided service. A customer's Credit Rating can be edited in the Customer screen.
This area displays the selected customer’s billing address. This area defaults to the customer’s master billing address, but can be changed by using the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the field.
This area shows the name and location where the customer needs to have the work performed. It includes the location’s name, address, phone numbers, and contact as shown on the Location tab of the Customer screen.
The General Tab
The Dispatch Number generated by the system will either be in Sequential order or will be the Customer's Number combined with the current date. This option is decided when you setup the Dispatching module for the first time in Company → System Setup → Dispatch.
Called In By
This field is used to enter and display the name of the person who placed the call for service. This field is shown on the Electronic Dispatch Board (EDB).
This field is used to specify whether a dispatch should be billable or not. When a billable Dispatch Type is used on a dispatch it will immediately change the label above it to let you know this is a billable dispatch. Later, when the dispatch is completed, it will appear in the list of dispatches to be invoiced. The list can be seen by going to the Dispatch List and selecting the Uninvoiced view.
If a non-billable Dispatch Type is used on a dispatch, it will not appear in this list after it has been completed. This can be ideal when creating dispatches to create quotes or track a technician's time off. The default value can be set by going to Company → System Setup → Dispatch.
A Sales Sort Code may be selected here for this dispatch. The Sales Sort Code selected for this dispatch will carry over to the associated invoice if one is created. The purpose of a Sales Sort Code is to be able to print a Sales report by the code. If the Sales Sort Code is set on the Customer Information screen, it will follow the customer to the dispatching and invoicing step. It can be changed here on the dispatch screen, if desired. Sales reports may then be run by the Sales Sort Code if a sales invoice is created from the dispatch.
Service Request Codes
These fields are used to display the reasons that the customer is requesting service. They are not required, but adding them can save you extra time by letting the tech know what needs to be done without typing in the dispatch notes field.
To modify any of these values or set up new service request codes, go to Dispatch → Enter Service Request Codes.
This field will automatically show the highest skill level needed to complete all the service requests that are listed in this dispatch. This information can be used to make sure that the dispatch is not assigned to someone who can’t complete it. The Skill Required can be changed manually.
This field will automatically show the estimated number of minutes needed to complete all the service requests used in the dispatch. This allows the dispatcher to make sure that technicians are not assigned more work than they can complete. This field will total all times for service requests codes that are used above. In addition, this Estimated Hours field may be edited by clicking on it, and then typing in the desired hours.
The estimated time associated with each service request code can only be edited from the Enter Service Request Codes screen. These times for service request codes are estimates only that are based on individual experience, and they are for reference only.
All existing service agreements for this customer and location may be selected in the drop-down list as a reference. If an existing service agreement is selected here, and the dispatch is marked as "Complete" at some point, the Date Last Serviced field on the Service Agreement Entry screen and the Qualification screen will be updated with the completed date. If you are viewing a dispatch on this screen, and if the dispatch was created from the Post Schedule to Dispatch screen, this field will display the service agreement number that created it. If the dispatch was created any other way, this field will be blank.
Priority is used to help control the order in which calls are displayed on the Electronic Dispatch Board (EDB). If two or more calls have the same Promise Date and Time, they will be put in alpha-numeric order by their Priority. Priorities can also be used to color-code dispatches to make them easier to tell apart on the EDB.
This field will be filled in automatically with the user name that is currently logged into the ESC database. This field can be overwritten to show a different name.
Enter your customer’s purchase order number here. This field is only required if the Require PO field on the Customers screen is checked.
The zone field will be filled in automatically by the Zone field in the customer's Location information. This information appears on the EDB to inform the dispatcher of the customer’s general location and can be useful in sorting out dispatches by their area.
Date and Time Received
These fields are used to show when the dispatch was created. It defaults to the current system date and time in which the dispatch was generated, but can be changed manually if desired.
The Invoice field will either assign or record the number of the invoice associated with this dispatch. Entering a number in this field before the invoice is created will automatically assign that number to the invoice that is created from this dispatch. This is not recommended since it is possible to enter a number into this field for an invoice that already exists. Using this field to tie an existing invoice to a dispatch will not mark the dispatch as invoiced and may cause some confusion.
If this field is left blank, then the number of the invoice that is generated from this dispatch will automatically appear in this field when that invoice is saved.
To associated a dispatch with an active Job in ESC, you may either type in the Job name or click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Job field to search for the Job you wish to tie this dispatch to.
This area displays the Location Notes as shown on the Location tab of the Customers screen for the currently selected customer. This information is set by the Location field and cannot be manually edited from this screen.
Enter any additional information about the dispatch here. The notes entered here are saved with this dispatch only and do not appear on any other record or screen in the program. One exception is the ability to carry the dispatch notes to the invoice as individual line items (often History items). This can be enabled by going to Company → System Setup → Dispatch and checking "Carry dispatch notes to invoice".
When entering notes on the dispatch, you may click the Date/Time Stamp button to add the exact date and time - as well as the user's name - to the notes being entered.
Click the Spell Check button to perform a spelling check on the contents of the Dispatch Notes. Even if you do not click this button ESC will still underline misspelled words in red so that you can correct them on the fly.
The Schedule Tab
The Schedule tab lists the technicians on the dispatch vertically, and for each tech, it displays the Date, Time and Status fields that record important times for the dispatch. These fields will be automatically set as the status of the call is changed on the EDB or using ESC Mobile.
When a call is initially entered, the Technician field is set to the Default Technician as determined on the System Setup → Dispatch screen. We recommend keeping the default technician as "Unassigned" so that pending calls may then be seen at a glance on the left-most column on the EDB, and the calls may then be moved to other technicians from there.
If you wish to immediately assign a new dispatch to a particular technician, you may do so by clicking the drop-down arrow in the Technician field to select an employee from the list. You may also click the Add Technician button right above that field to enter multiple employees or crews to a dispatch.
Date and Time Promised
The Date Promised will default to the current days date and the Time (Promised) will be the time the dispatch was created plus the Default Lead Time as set in the System Setup → Dispatch screen.
For example, if your Default Lead Time is set to 60 minutes, then a dispatch created at 10:30 AM will show a Time (Promised) as 11:30 AM.
The Est Hours will be carried over from the Estimated Hours field in the General tab, and is usually the total of all Service Request Codes added to the dispatch. This field will determine how much time a dispatch blocks off on the EDB when using the Weekly or Monthly views.
The default status when entering a dispatch is Pending. Other statuses may be used here when a call is initially being entered, but a call usually has a status of Pending until the technician it becomes assigned to begins their active time by switching to the Traveling status.
Each default Status Code in ESC will affect the following Date and Time fields. This is how ESC helps to track the times spent on your service calls.
- Traveling - Sets the Dispatch Date and Time fields, along with the Dispatcher field.
- Working - Sets the Time On field.
- Off Job - Sets the Date and Time Off fields, but keeps the dispatch active.
- Complete - Sets the Date and Time Off fields and deactivates the dispatch.
Dispatch Date and Time
The date and time that this technician started traveling to the dispatch location is seen here. These fields are automatically set when the Traveling status code is used. This field can be manually changed if desired.
When the status of the dispatch is changed from Pending to another status code, the Dispatcher name may be filled in. To associate a Dispatcher name with an ESC User, go to Company → System Setup → Dispatch → Assign User Dispatch Boards.
When the technician arrives at the dispatch location, they'll want to set their status to Working, which should fill in the Time On field with the current time. Although, this field can be changed manually if desired.
Date and Time Off
The date that the currently selected technician finished working at the dispatch location is set here when the Completed or Off Job status code is used. This field can be changed manually if desired.
Deleting Technicians from the Dispatch
To remove a technician from the dispatch select the line you want to delete and click the Delete Technician button. Each dispatch must have at least one technician assigned to it so you will be unable to delete the final one.
Assigning a Technician to a Call for Multiple Days
There may be cases where you want to assign the same tech to a job for two or more days. To do this click the Add Technician button and select the desired technician. Now click on their name again and the same technician will be added to the dispatch for the following day with the same Promised Date, Time and Est Hours. Repeat this as needed to get the correct number of days assigned. Once that has been accomplished close the Add Technicians window and you can modify the Promised Date, Time and Est Hours if needed.
The Equipment Tab
Pieces of a customer's equipment will be listed under this tab so that they may be 'attached' to the dispatch if needed. You can attach a piece of equipment to the dispatch by simply putting a check next to it. This allows the equipment to be printed on the dispatch or sent to a mobile device. It also allows you to keep track of all the work performed on a piece of equipment.
You may also enter or edit equipment here by using the Add New or Edit buttons on the toolbar of the Equipment tab.
The Documents Tab
The Documents tab allows you to attach documents directly to the dispatch. See the Attaching Files topic for more detail on this powerful feature.
The Parts Tab
The Parts tab allows you to add parts, Billing and History codes to the dispatch so that the technician has all the necessary parts before leaving for the job. Inventory items added to this tab can also be forwarded to a Purchase Order by going to Activities → Order Parts.
Items added to the Parts tab of the dispatch will also carry onto any quote or invoice that is created from the dispatch.
Select the warehouse that will be supplying the parts. Although the parts will not be removed from inventory at this time, this information will flow to the Sales Invoicing screen later when this dispatch is invoiced.
If you know the code or part number of the item that needs to be added, you'll enter it directly into the Item field. You can also click the drop-down arrow that appears in the Item field to activate the Inventory Search screen, which will help you to locate the items you're looking for.
Description, Quantity and Price
Selecting the item will auto-fill the Description, Quantity and Price fields, although these may be manually adjusted as needed.
The Accepted box works hand-in-hand with the ESC Mobile Tech app to offer additional services and items to customers while the technician is onsite. These parts may have been added from a quote, by someone in the office or by the field technician. If the customer decides they do not wish to purchase an additional item or add-on at this time, they may deselect that item on the Invoice section of ESC Mobile Tech and the Accepted check mark will be removed from the item under the Parts tab.
If an assembly item is added to this tab an additional column named Assembly Sub will appear. All the sub assemblies associated with this part will appear on the following lines and a check mark will appear in this column indicating that the item is a sub-assembly. Removing this check mark will not affect the price of the assembly item when it is later invoiced, but it will cause the unchecked subassembly to appear on the invoice as a regular part with a regular price. We do not normally recommend removing the check mark for this reason.
Of course, most of the standard functionality you are used to on the Sales Invoicing screen appears here as well: inserting and deleting lines, changing the Description of an item, adding Assembly parts. Some features, however, such as selecting serial numbers, assigning usage and changing prices have been disabled since we are not removing the items from inventory or billing the customer for them at this time.
The items you add on this screen will now print on the dispatch ticket or appear on the Invoice in ESC Mobile.
The Activities Menu
Display Call on Dispatch Board
This option will save the changes made to the currently selected dispatch and then display the Electronic Dispatch Board. ESC will attempt to show the dispatch but may not be able to if you have configured the board so that it can not without changing your settings.
Edit Customer Information
Select this option to display the customer the dispatch was created for in the Customer screen. This can be very helpful for updating phone numbers, sort codes and custom fields.
Create an Invoice
This selection will save the current dispatch and create an invoice for it. If an invoice has already been associated with the dispatch it will be recalled in the Sales Invoicing screen instead.
Create a Quote
This selection will save the current dispatch and create a quote based off of it. This will not stop you from also creating an invoice for the same dispatch.
Select this option to see a statement for the currently selected customer.
View Ordered Parts
Select this option to see a list of all the parts that were ordered for this dispatch. This will include all purchase orders created using the Order Parts and Create a Purchase Order activities as well as purchase orders entered directly on the Enter Purchase Order screen. Look at the Quantity Received field to see if the parts have arrived yet or click the Open button to view purchase order created for that line item.
Use this option to forward all inventory items that have been added to the Parts tab into a Purchase Order. This feature will not transfer Billing Codes or History Codes to the purchase order screen. Once parts have been ordered for a dispatch, you'll be able to review those items by going to Activities → View Ordered Parts.
Create a Purchase Order
This selection creates a blank purchase order. Each line of the purchase order will be associated with the currently selected dispatch so it will be easy to see if the parts have been received by using the View Ordered Parts activity described above.
View Sub Tasks
Select this option to see any sub tasks that might be associated with the dispatch. Sub tasks will only appear on dispatches created through the Service Agreement module. This feature is no longer supported with current versions of ESC, but this option can be used to view sub tasks on older dispatches.
Configure Activities Toolbar
This option will allow you to customize what buttons and labels you see on the Dispatch screen's toolbar. This makes navigating ESC from the Dispatches screen even faster.