Define bookable resources


Not all organizations use the same dispatching models when they schedule resources to conduct work. For example, a professional services company that specializes in break fix scenarios may primarily schedule internal people to conduct service work. Whereas a large box retailer may only use independent contractors to do things like install carpet, kitchen cabinets, or appliances. An HVAC company might use a hybrid model that uses both independent contractors and internal resources. In many scenarios, organizations might need to schedule more than just individuals. For example, a medical company might first schedule procedure consultations with its customers. In those scenarios, they need to not only schedule an individual, but also a room, and/or a machine to help with the consult.

Universal Resource Scheduling provides organizations with the flexibility to be able to accommodate any of these scheduling scenarios and more by creating resources. A resource can represent anything that would need to be scheduled such as individuals, equipment, or facilities.

When creating resources in URS, you can define a resource as:

  • Generic: Used as a place holder to define a type of resource that is needed until a specific named resource can be used in its place.

  • Contact: Defines that resource is associated with a Dynamics 365 contact record.

  • User: Specifies the resource as an internal user mapped to a Dynamics 365 user record.

  • Equipment: Defines the resources as a specific piece of equipment.

  • Account: Defines that resource is associated with a Dynamics 365 account record.

  • Crew: Represents multiple resources that can be scheduled together for a specific item.

  • Facility: Represents a facility that can be scheduled such as a building or room.

  • Pool: Represents a pool of resources.

Depending on the type of resource you choose, different fields appear in the resource record to allow you to associate the resource with records like an account, user, or contact record. Each resource you define has two tabs that can be used for configuration. Those tabs are the General and Scheduling tabs. Based on the first-party Dynamic applications you have installed, there might be other tabs such as Project, Field Service, or Omnichannel. Each of those tabs contains settings unique to those applications.

Screenshot of the New Bookable Resource screen, including tabs which will be determined by installed applications.

After you save the resource for the first time, other items will be available that you can associate the resource with such as characteristics (skills) and categories (roles). More tabs may be present for organizations that are using field service or project service automation.

Scheduling tab

The scheduling tab defines the necessary items that define how resources are presented in the schedule board and what scheduling options are available.

One of the most important items that needs to be defined is the location information that is used by the schedule board for the resource. The items that need to be defined are:

  • Start location: Defines where the resource begins their day. Used to help with route mapping for the resource.

  • End location: Defines where the resource ends their day. Used to help with route mapping for the resource.

  • Organizational unit: Defines the specific organization unit that the resource belongs to and is scheduled from.

When you define a starting and ending location, you have three options that you can define:

  • Organization unit address: Uses the latitude and longitude associated with the Organizational Units that the resource belongs to.

  • Resource Address: Uses the latitude and longitude associated with the corresponding record based on the resource type:

    • Resource type - User: Uses the latitude and longitude associated with the address defined on their Microsoft 365 user record.

    • Resource type - Contact: Uses the latitude and longitude associated with the address defined on their Dynamics 365 contact record.

    • Resource type = Account: Uses the latitude and longitude associated with the address defined on their Dynamics 365 account record.

  • Location Agnostic: Doesn't have a specific location defined. Can be useful when resources don't have a clearly defined starting and ending location.

Screenshot of Scheduling window with Start and End location.

Additionally, you can specify if the resource is shown on the schedule board, or if they're available to be searched as a resource.

Field Service tab

If your organization is using Dynamics 365 for Field Service, more options are available to define on the Field Service tab. These options include:

  • Hourly Rate: Allows you to specify the hourly rate to charge for the resource when they're added to work orders.

  • Time Off Approval Required: Specifies if approval is required when the resource puts in a time off request.

  • Warehouse: Specifies which warehouse should be associated with the resource. A warehouse is typically anywhere where inventory can be located. If it's a resource, the warehouse might be the truck that they drive each day.

  • Enable Drip Scheduling: Drip Scheduling only shows the resource a specific number of scheduled items at a time. For example, you might only want to show the resource their next two bookings. That way if the schedule changes throughout the day, the technician only sees bookings as they get closer to the scheduled times.

When resources are being scheduled to work on items, there are often other considerations that need to be taken into account to find the best resource. For example, items such as what skills or certifications are required, or what territory is the item being scheduled in. Dynamics 365 provides more items that can be defined on the resource to make it easier to identify the ideal resource for a job.

  • Characteristics: Characteristics are another way of saying resource skills. You can define resource skills on the characteristic sub grid on the resource record. When you add a new characteristic for a resource, you need to define:

    • Characteristic: Defines the skill or certification that a resource possesses.

      • The characteristics available are based on the resource skills that have been defined for the organization.
    • Rating value: Defines the level of proficiency that the resource has with that skill or characteristic.

      • The drop-down populate with all ratings defined for all proficiency models.

      • You can select the down arrow to see the specific proficiency model a rating is associated with.

  • Category associations: Lets you define what resource roles associated with a specific resource.

    • Multiple resource roles / category associations can be defined for one resource.

Screenshot of Characteristics of resources and role associated with resources.

  • Resource Territories: Lets you define the specific territories that a resource belongs to. A single resource can be associated with multiple territories.

Screenshot of Set Calendar feature and Time Zone details.

  • Work Templates: Used to define the working hours that a resource is available to be scheduled within.

Defining a resource's work hours

When you're scheduling resources on the schedule board, the resources working hours are used to help determine availability. Each resource that you create needs to have their working hours and time zone information defined. It ensures that they're being displayed correctly and aren't scheduled outside of times they're available. Resource working hours can be defined in one of two ways:

  • Set Work Hours button: Lets you manually define the work hours schedule for a resource. Schedules can be defined daily or weekly and applied moving forward. Work hours can be set to:

    • Be the same for each day

    • Vary by day

    • None

Make sure that the time zone is set to the correct time zone for the resource.

Screenshot of a resource's work hours.

  • Apply a work hours template: Lets you associate the resource with an existing work hours template. Templates are based on an existing resource working hours.

    • Work hour templates are applied by selecting the resource(s) you want to apply the template to and clicking the set calendar button.

    • Work Hour Templates can be created under settings > work hour templates.

Screenshot of a resource work hour template.

Depending on the specific types of resources that you're creating, there may be other items that need to be defined to ensure that they can be scheduled appropriately.