Publication date: Monday, December, 12 2022
We at Praxedo are driven by the desire to continuously improve and deliver the best user experience. To that end, we release a major application update every spring and fall. This update is available to all of our customers.
As this year draws to a close, we are delighted to present our latest Fall 2022 Release Note, published on Monday, December 12. The latest version of the Praxedo application brings a series of improvements to the functionalities of the START, CLASSIC and PREMIUM product ranges. To find out which product range you use, log in to your Praxedo account and look at the "compass" icon at the top right hand corner of the window.
In today’s economy, saving on fuel costs is key to maintaining your company's profitability. Praxedo is doing its best to improve the optimization tools you use for your field resources’ routes. To find out more about the improvements made to the Smart Scheduler and the new strategy options available to you, click here. We have also set up a forecast planning tool for your resources, to help you stabilize your revenue. Using this new feature, called Time Slots, will help you manage your upcoming schedule creation and will simplify the scheduling process, so you can stay in control of your activity.
Browse through this Release Note and find the features you wish to use. If necessary, contact your company's Praxedo Administrator to obtain any access rights required.
If you would like to see a demonstration of these new features, please register for one of our webinars or refer to the links provided to view more details online.
Please remember that our Customer Care team is always available to answer any questions you might have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
✔ Activity & Forecast Planning
- What is Forecast Planning?
- Manage "Unavailability" and include it in the scheduling process
✔ Correct time reported by field resources
- Improve how time is reported in the field
✔ Improved usability in the Schedule view
- Update filters on field resources (field resources’ groups, zones and skills)
- Add and update forecast scheduling slots from the side pane
✔ New parameters to optimize scheduling using the SmartScheduler
- Factor in the unavailability slots of field resources
- Account for any overtime from field resources
✔ Work order types
Enable or disable the creation of a work order type depending on the user profile: web, mobile app or web services.
✔ Manage pricing in contracts
Make it possible to associate a pricing policy with a contract
✔ Update notification alerts.
Note: no more reports to be attached to notification alerts — a link will now be used.
✔ Our interface will get a revamp
to offer you more consistency and be easier on the eye.
✔ New features to our new mobile application PM3 (previously PM2)
New features are currently available to beta testers of the new mobile application.
And, last but not least:
✔ New Web Services
✔ New version of the EBP connector
Activities and Time Slots
CLASSIC and PREMIUM versions
New ways to manage Activities in Praxedo: differentiate real-time activities from your company's forecasted scheduling.
Until recently, when using Activities in Praxedo you were able to specify the different statuses assigned to the activities of Praxedo Mobile application users, in relation to the life cycle of a work order and that of an employee. Going forward, you will only be able to group user statuses on the mobile app that are linked to the life cycle of the work order.
From now on, the unavailability of your field resources (absence, vacation, training, etc.) will have to be managed in our new Time Slot management feature. As a result, these unavailable Time Slots for your field resources or machines to perform work orders will now be taken into account by our scheduling tools.
As early as last June, we started to reorganize the Activities by dividing them into three categories: "Real-Time" Activities, Unavailable and Reserved Slots. This is currently an ongoing process.
There is no change to Real-time activities, so that field resources can report their activities on the Praxedo mobile app.
However, we have grouped unavailable and reserved slots under the category Time Slots. There are two types: available or unavailable. The available Time Slot will assign time slots to a client, to a given zone, to emergencies or to certain work orders.
Activities for "Real-Time" management
"Real-Time" Activities represent the various activities performed by your field resources during their workdays. By reporting changes between activities, you can track the status of each of your field resources in real time.
In this new version, Activities have not changed much, they are still used to monitor the field resources' activity and they are still created from the Activity types function in the configuration menu. However, it is no longer possible to create anything other than activities in Activity types. The form no longer allows you to create Time Slots.
You might be wondering what is going to happen to the reserved slots and any unavailability you created in this menu previously?
They won't change. You can use them as you did before. However, you will not be able to create Time Slots in this menu. Please gradually switch to using the Time Slots to forecast planning and use the Unavailable Time Slots to simplify managing unavailability.
Time slots to forecast scheduling
Using Time Slots allows you to organize your company's activity in a proactive way: you can anticipate your needs in terms of field resource availability and you can oversee the distribution of availability. For example, you can easily identify the on-call periods, or allocate a minimum number of hours to a type of work order and safeguard your revenue. Here’s another example, you can reserve certain field resources for some of your customers and meet your availability commitments.
As mentioned above, there are two types of time slots: Available or Unavailable. Unlike the Unavailable slots previously managed in the Activities, these new Unavailable slots will be included when scheduling your work orders. This way, you will avoid assigning work orders to a field resource who is not available at the chosen time.
Create your time slot types in advance and use the time slots more easily later on. The new Time Slot Types function in the Configuration menu allows you to access the form to create a new slot type and find your list of slot types.
When creating a time slot type, please select whether it is unavailable or available.
When choosing Available you can create time slots for work orders to be scheduled, for example to group certain work orders together in the same time slot or to create on-call slots that are easily visible on the schedule. The title or the availability parameters will inform the dispatcher which work orders to schedule in these time slots. When creating an available time slot, you can also choose to link it to a client or a geographical area. This will give the dispatcher greater visibility to plan the work orders when the constraints are imposed by the client, or according to the location of the work orders.
However, choosing Unavailable, prevents any scheduling for the selected time slot. You cannot schedule anything in this time slot via SmartScheduler and you won’t be able to book anything in these slots in Advanced Planning. Regarding other scheduling methods, an error message will be displayed if you try to schedule a work order on an unavailable period. Unavailable can denote vacation or training periods.
Once the type of time slot is created, you can use it within the schedule to add availability or unavailability.
From the Schedule, you can also adjust and delete these time slots for more flexibility.
Correct the "Real-Time" Activities of your field resources
Did your field resource make a mistake when inputting their activity? This can now be easily amended!
To improve the reliability of the times reported by your field resources, you can now adjust them from the Praxedo web application.
From the Activity Tracking menu, you can now adjust the real-time activities of your field resources, regardless of the associated activity type setting. Input a forgotten activity or change the start or end date. If one of these dates overlaps an activity, all previous or subsequent activities are recalculated so that your new activity can fit between them. Also, if the field resources didn't close out their activity, you can do it from the web application and also specify the end time.
All activity fields can now be adjusted, including that of the field resource. For example, you can correct an input error.
Once you have validated the work order, the real-time activities associated with it are also validated - they can no longer be adjusted.
This morning, one of your field resources was sent to carry out a work order. When they arrived at the site, they realized that they had forgotten to report themselves as ‘Traveling’ in Praxedo. Once the work order was completed, they notified you of their omission. Now, you would be able to edit the traveling activity yourself.
💡 To find out more : view the online document about time slots
✅ These new app features will be implemented automatically : creating a time slot from the Schedule view (by drag and drop or via the button).
To use the time slots feature, you must be a Praxedo CLASSIC or PREMIUM user. If you are not, please contact your administrator to request access.
Global developments in the schedule view
START, CLASSIC et PREMIUM versions
Several improvements have been made to your Schedule.
Create time slots
As we have seen already, you can create your time slots from the Schedule view with a simple click. This gives you the flexibility to plan your time slots: unavailable and available, while viewing your field resources' schedules.
Once a work order has been planned, you can see that a time slot has been created in that location.
Improved display for Week Columns
We have updated the Week Columns display so that you can see the Unavailable Time Slots. This will give you a better overview of your field resources' schedule over a full week.
Filter the list of field resources
To help you display your resources on the Schedule view, we have developed filter options: you can select the field resources or the machines that match your needs, according to their skills, the geographical areas or the type of time slot required.
Following your feedback and suggestions, we have added some new features to the filter. Starting with the group selection drop-down menu, which is back at the top of the field resources list, to make it easier for you to use.
You will also find new parameters in the filter pane. A new option will pop up under the skill selection. By default, when you select multiple skills, the filter will display field resources with at least one of the selected skills. By checking the "Show only resources with all skills" option, only field resources with all selected skills will be displayed in the results.
To support the changes related to time slots, the filter has been expanded with an option to select a time slot type. Available time slot types are offered in this drop-down list. In the results, the field resources shown will be those who have a time slot of this type scheduled in their timetable for the selected period.
New icons and machine workload
To improve readability, the work orders on the schedule have new icons to indicate the number of field resources and machines planned for a given work order.
In addition, the workload is also indicated on the machines, making it easier for you to see how much they are being used.
💡 To find out more : click here for more information on Scheduling.
✅ You can immediately benefit from the improvements made to the Schedule view, if you already have the rights to manage teams, machines and time slots, otherwise please contact your administrator.
The schedule features are available to all users regardless of their product range. However, to use the time slot features, you must be a Praxedo CLASSIC or PREMIUM user and to schedule machines, you must be a PREMIUM user. If this is not the case, please contact your administrator to request access.
New options added to the SmartScheduler strategies
Factor in your field resources' time constraints to schedule with the SmartScheduler.
The SmartScheduler is the most practical feature to optimize your work orders' routes automatically. The greater the volume of work orders to be scheduled, the more time the SmartScheduler saves your dispatcher, and your field resources, by optimizing their travel time. It also helps you to reduce your fuel costs. However, each of you has different constraints to factor into your scheduling strategies, depending on your specific business needs.
We want to continuously improve our SmartScheduler module to make your scheduling easier by offering you as many options as possible. We have worked on adding new options to the scheduling strategies to better factor in your constraints, in addition to improving the scheduling process.
Factor in unavailability
A long-awaited option: unavailability lasting less than 24 hours is now recognized by SmartScheduler. Up until now, only unavailability that lasted several days was taken into account when optimizing the work orders scheduling. From now on, by default, no work orders will be scheduled during a period of unavailability indicated on your field resources' schedule, whether it’s for an hour’s meeting or a day’s vacation.
Please note that this refers only to unavailability that has been created as a Time Slot. Any unavailability previously created from the Activity management will be ignored by the SmartScheduler.
The time parameters
Before continuing with our tour of SmartScheduler, let's take a look at the settings that enable you to define the working time.
The field resources' schedules and overtime can be specified at different levels in Praxedo:
- In the Account configuration menu, in the Working days tab, you can specify the working hours and the authorized extra time allocated for travel:
- In the field resources profile, you can choose the field resources' working hours, the authorized overtime and the authorized excess travel time. These settings override those set in the account configuration to reflect the context or specifics of each of your field resources:
-In the SmartScheduler, you can specify the time allowed for overtime and the extra time allowed for travel. In this way, it is possible to take into account individual situations.
Allowing extra time for travel
Let's take a look at one of the parameters mentioned above: Allow extra time at the beginning and end of the day to commute outside of working hours. With this parameter you can exclude a predefined time from the working hours for travel. For example, when your field resource starts work at 8am, the schedule will indicate that the work order starts at 8am and that the travel time needed to reach the first work order will be excluded from working hours.
To enable this, you can specify the authorized extra travel time in the Workdays tab of the Configuration menu. This setting then applies to all field resources in your company.
You can also apply individual parameters to each field resource in their profile.
These parameters are factored into SmartScheduler, and they will then be applied to strategies, so that your field resources can start work on site on time.
Factor in the overtime of your field resources
When you need to schedule more work orders than usual but still want to meet your contractual commitments to your customers, you can authorize your field resources to work overtime.
To enable this in your SmartScheduler strategies, the parameter “The field resources' working hours have been changed” to include authorized overtime as set out in their respective profiles.
In each field resources' profile, you can specify the amount of overtime they can work each day.
Now, when you create a strategy in the SmartScheduler, you can check the option Take into account the overtime parameters that have been specified for each technician. When scheduling, the SmartScheduler will then include the overtime parameters for your field resources. The SmartScheduler will then add the overtime to your field resources' work hours. This allows you to schedule more work orders to meet your requirements.
As a result, SmartScheduler is able to take into account any extra hours, particularly in terms of travel time, which have been included in the account parameters and in the field resources file, as well as any overtime. The diagram below shows the different options available for scheduling using these two parameters.
Factor in any appointment date requirements
The following options (as indicated by their title) enable you to fulfill the date requirements outlined in the work order details:
- By observing the appointment date requirements in addition to the do after and do before dates
- By only observing the dates To do after and To do before
From now on, by checking either of these options, you will also be able to choose the authorized extra time allowed, if you would like to increase the flexibility of your scheduling strategy.
Factor in pre-planned work orders
Here's another example: you have pre-planned work orders for the period selected in your strategy, and sometimes you want to factor in all, or some of these work orders, depending on their status. Rescheduling pre-planned work orders can help the SmartScheduler to optimize the scheduling process even further and save you even more time.
The options: By rescheduling already pre-planned/planned/synchronized work orders can be used to instruct the SmartScheduler to reschedule the work orders with this status for the selected period. By checking at least one of these options, other alternatives are displayed to determine whether the SmartScheduler should reschedule the work orders without constraints or whether the work orders should remain on the same schedule or be assigned to the same field resources.
When you create a strategy, by selecting one of the options e.g., By rescheduling.., the View field becomes optional. You can then use SmartScheduler to optimize the pre-assigned work orders to field resources on the Schedule.
💡 Find out more: all the details about how to use the SmartScheduler, can be found in our online documentation.
✅ To benefit from the following new options in the SmartScheduler, you’ll need to activate specific rights:
- Take into account Unavailability Slots: activate the rights to “Create reserved slot types and reserved slots.”
- Take into account overtime and extra travel time: activate the rights to "Management of extra travel time outside working hours and overtime for field resources"
Regarding the other options, no action is required:
- Take into account pre-planned work orders
- Take into account the appointment date requirements
To use the SmartScheduler and benefit from the new scheduling optimization options, you must be a Praxedo PREMIUM user. If you are not, please contact your Administrator to request access.
Would you like to participate in improving the SmartScheduler? Sign up for the beta test program by sending an email to BetaTest.SmartScheduler@praxedo.com.
Types of work orders
START, CLASSIC and PREMIUM versions
Manage a stream of work orders by configuring the type
As you already know, it is possible to create work orders from Praxedo's Web and Mobile applications, but also via Web Services when your management software solution (ERP, CRM, invoicing, etc.) is connected to Praxedo.
You probably want to know which work orders can be created from which creation source. Now you can: you can choose which source a given type of work order can be created from and limit the creation of work orders according to its type.
When creating a work order type, you can now select which creation source(s) can access the given work order type. For instance, if you choose to make a given work order type visible on the web only, it will not be offered to Mobile and Web Services users when they want to create a new work order.
You have to manage a number of work order types in your company, ranging from installation to on-site repair, and maintenance visits.
If an installation requires the approval of the end customer and a quote to be signed, this type of work order can only be created in the back office. The same applies to maintenance visits, which are part of maintenance contracts. On the other hand, in order to respond as quickly as possible to a breakdown and to guarantee customer satisfaction, you would like your field resources to be able to create their own work orders in the event of any problems on-site. This function is perfect for you!
💡 To find out more: all the details about how to use work orders types, can be found in our online documentation.
Managing pricing in contracts
CLASSIC and PREMIUM versions
Apply your customer rates as per your agreed contract.
Use contracts to tailor your offer to your customers! Did you negotiate preferential rates with one of your customers? It is now possible to add these rates into subcontracts, either by indicating a specific rate on a given item, or by applying them to a group of items.
Link this contract to a customer, and the rate will be applied at the time the activity begins or when the field resource adds the item to the job.
You’re working on equipment under warranty, and you want to specify that the list of items used for repairs of this equipment is at a "zero" or "preferential" price to fulfill your contractual commitments to your customers.
💡 To find out more: all the details about the use of pricing in contracts, can be found in our technical documentation.
✅ To access this feature, contact your administrator or check the Price Management rights in the contracts.
To use the contracts and all their features, you must be a Praxedo CLASSIC or PREMIUM user. If this is not the case, please contact your administrator to request access.
End of attachments in scenarios
CLASSIC and PREMIUM versions
Use PDF viewing links to minimize the size of messages to your customers.
You can no longer send a report as an attachment to an email, via the notification scenarios. Due to the fact that some PDF files were too large for the recipient's inbox, they were never able to receive them.
To solve this problem, you can use the code provided to insert the link corresponding to the given report. This way, your recipient can click on this to access the report, without the file cluttering up their inbox.
As soon as you insert the link, a field is displayed, where you can customize the name of your file.
💡 To find out more: all the details about the use of the code, can be found in our technical documentation
✅ To use this new code within the notification scenarios, you do not have to check any user rights.
To use the notification scenarios, you must be a Praxedo CLASSIC or PREMIUM user. If you are not, please contact your Administrator to request access.
A redesigned interface is coming soon…
We are actively working to make Praxedo as intuitive as possible. That's why we have launched a project to redesign the Praxedo interface. The goal is to bring more usability and visual appeal to Praxedo.
These pages will be rolled out gradually over the coming months. By the end of the year, you will see this new version of the interface on equipment types, skills and characteristics, zones, and site types’ pages.
In these new pages, the left side panel has been removed to provide more space for the referentials list. The New button is now in the top right corner and the search field is at the top of the list. By hovering your cursor over the items in the list, you can edit the item , delete it or display the details in a new tab.
✅ To take advantage of the new version of the Praxedo web application interfaces, you do not have to check any user rights. The new pages will be updated one after the other over the next few months. If you wish to keep the current design of these pages, please contact Support.
New features of our new mobile application PM3 (previously PM2)
The beta version continues to evolve, and you’ll have new features to test.
We are continuously developing the new version of our mobile application and we aim to deliver version #3 sometime in 2023. Presented in beta version last June, some of you were able to explore the main upgrades to improve the user experience on our mobile application.
Since then, we have developed additional features to the existing application that you are using today.
New user-friendly design of the tables
Let's start with the user-friendly design of our tables. You can, for example, choose where to add a row in the table, or delete a row.
Report an activity from the past
The field resources can now report an activity that has already taken place. So, if they forgot to report an activity at a certain time, they can add it directly on their mobile app. However, that's not all. It is now possible for the field resources to adjust an activity if they realize they made a mistake. For example, if they forgot to end their activity, they can adjust it easily.
In addition to these two new features, the functionalities under development on the PM3 side continue to evolve.
The team management feature is now included in the system. You can now view the members of your team, change the members of your team, and reassign the role of team leader.
The display settings are also changing with a dark mode now available on our mobile application. To activate it, you will have to enable the dark mode on your cell phone, and the application will automatically switch to this display mode.
Adding attachments (iOS)
iOS users should switch to PM3 in order to add attachments to their work orders! This feature is only available in the new version of Praxedo Mobile.
Plug- in (Android)
As for Android, managing the plug-in is already available! As a reminder: the plug-in allows you to retrieve information from third party applications. For example, if you use measuring devices connected to a mobile application, Praxedo will be able to retrieve this information and enter it in the report field provided.
Would you like to try PM3 in its beta version?
If you want to be one of our beta users, have a look at this page to learn about the available features. If these features match your needs, you will be eligible to be one of our early access users!
New Web Services
CLASSIC and PREMIUM versions
Web Services Field Resources: modify working hours
The field resources file can finally be completely edited using Web Services! In fact, it is now possible to change the field resources' schedules through Web Services.
There are several objects at your disposal to manage all the parameters related to the schedules of your field resources, via Web Services. You will be able to specify the working hours, the authorized overtime and travel time, as well as the break times.
💡 Find out more: for more information on Web Services in general, refer to the online documentation.
✅ To take advantage of these Web Services, no action is required if you are already using Web Services.
To use Web Services, you must be a Praxedo CLASSIC or PREMIUM customer and have an active Web Services subscription. If this is not the case, please contact your administrator to request access.
We hope that you find these new features useful. If you have any questions, need to activate a feature, need assistance, or would like to get the latest version of Praxedo Web Services, please contact our Customer Care team by phone on +33 (0)1 40 33 79 79 or by email at email@example.com.