This is the third of a series of articles on the Assignments tab of the Work Order Tracking application.

In the first article – Simple Work Assignments in Work Order Tracking – I showed that you could use the Assignments tab to dispatch a labor to a work order without using a Job Plan or using the Plans tab of the application. You can find the article here: https://maximosecrets.com/2020/11/30/simple-work-assignments-in-work-order-tracking/.

In the second article – Work Order Tracking – Assignments without Work Zones I showed how to plan and schedule work orders just from the Assignments tab, still without using Job Plans or the Plans tab. This included the action Reschedule/Unassign Assignments action and the Available Labor dialog. In this article the available labor was not affected by work zones, you can find the article here: https://maximosecrets.com/2020/12/09/work-order-tracking-assignments-without-work-zones/.

In this third article we will see how the available labor dialog is affected by the work zones associated with location and asset records.

A Task Influences Available Labor on an Assignment

In this scenario I want to show that if the work assignment references a task then the task rather than the work order influences the filtering in the Available Labor dialog.

In the Locations application for the OFFICE location, I have created a Work Zone record, NEMA – North East Massachusetts. NEMA belongs to the Work Zone Type ZONE1.

On work order 1299 I have added OFFICE as the primary location on the Work Order tab.

I’ve removed the task from the first work assignment for craft PLUMB. The Available Labor is filtering according to the Scheduled Start on the work order which is currently 16-December-2020 07:00, but it is not showing our two plumbers who work the DAY/DAY calendar/shift, BRO – Bryan Rose and PBA – Pat Barker. This is because they have not been associated with a work zone, the NEMA work zone in particular. Work Zone filtering occurs when you reference a location or asset that has a work zone.

When we review the Available Labor dialog for the second work assignment against Task 10, it is filtering according to the Scheduled Start on the task which is 14-December-2020 07:00, and it is showing our two plumbers who work the DAY/DAY calendar/shift, BRO – Bryan Rose and PBA – Pat Barker. The reason it is showing the two plumbers is because the task does not reference a location or asset to derive a work zone, hence work zone filtering is not occurring.

I’ve changed task 10 to reference location OFFICE which has an associated work zone. You can see that the Scheduled Start on the task is 14-December-2020 07:00.

Now the second work assignment against task 10 shows no available labor for the PLUMB craft.

The work zone has an effect on the availability of labor. It uses the default work zone on the location or asset referenced on the work order when the assignment does not reference a task, and the default work zone on the task’s location or asset when the assignment references a task.

Available Labor based on Work Zones

A Work Zone is a way of grouping Labor and Crews based on the locality of where they work. Labor and crews can belong to multiple work zones. Locations and assets can also be associated with one or more work zones. The work zone on the location or asset referenced on a work order or task influences the filtering of available labor and crews, but not the labor and crews that can be assigned.

Work Zones can be considered during assignment optimization to reduce the travel time of labor and crews performing multiple work orders. This is not limited to geographically dispersed work, it can take several minutes to get from one side of a oil refinery or chemical plant to another, or to move from one floor of a hospital to another floor, especially if access to areas will take time.

For the work zone NEMA – North East Massachusetts, I have associated our two plumbers BRO – Bryan Rose and PBA – Pat Barker, also PLA – Peter Lawrence, but his default craft is ELECT-FIRSTCLASS, an electrician. For BRO and PLA, the work zone NEMA is designated their default. For PBA their default work zone is NWMA – North West Massachusetts. A Labor or Crew can only have one default work zone. If I made NEMA the default for PBA then she would no longer have the default field checked on the work zone NWMA, I won’t actually do that. The OFFICE location was associated with the NEMA work zone.

On the Assignments tab for work order 1299, the Available Labor dialog shows BRO – Bryan Rose as being available. This is additionally filtering by the work order location’s work zone, for labor which has that work zone as their default work zone. For PBA – Pat Barker we know from the previous scenario that her craft and calendar/shift is a match, but she has NWMA as her default work zone. Incidentally, the Select Value on the Labor field shows just BRO as well.

We’ll select BRO – Bryan Rose for our first assignment, the status is changed to ASSIGNED and the assignments Scheduled Start is 16-December-2020 07:00 defaulted from the work order’s Scheduled Start date.

For the second work assignment against task 10 which references the OFFICE location, when we enter labor BETHUNE we receive the warning “BMXAT0786W – The labor or crew resource has been assigned work outside of its work zone. Click OK to assign the work anyway. Click Cancel to select another resource.”

Dave Bethune has PLUMB as a secondary craft, but he has no work zones at all. Using OK in the warning message will allow you to save BETHUNE, he works the EVENING/EVENING calendar/shift. The Scheduled Start date of the assignment is that for task 10, 14-December-2020 07:00, it is not adjusted to the start time of his shift which would have been 15:00.

If you had entered a labor that did not have PLUMB as either their primary or secondary craft, then you would still get the warning message if the labor was not working in the work zone of the location or asset. If you continued by using OK, then the assignments Craft and Skill Level is changed to reflect the default craft/skill level of the labor.

A setting in the Organizations application determines whether a warning is provided when assignments are made outside of a work zone, I’ll show you that later. This setting has no effect on the Available Labor dialog.

When you enter labor PBA, who is associated with the NEMA work zone, but not as their default work zone, then there is no warning message. It is only if the selected labor has no work zone or their work zones are not that for the location or asset do you receive the warning message.

Organizations – Other Organizations Options

In the Organizations application and action Work Order Options – Other Organization Options there is a checkbox “Warn if Assigned Outside of Work Zone?” which when checked created the warning we saw earlier – “BMXAT0786W – The labor or crew resource has been assigned work outside of its work zone. Click OK to assign the work anyway. Click Cancel to select another resource.”

Available Labor for same Craft and Different Skill Levels

The other illustration I want to show is whether the skill level of a craft has an effect on the Available Labor dialog, and so I have changed the third work assignment so that it is now CARP-SECONDCLASS, previously it was CARP-FIRSTCLASS. A craft and skill level of CARP-FIRSTCLASS should be able to work on an assignment that only requires a CARP-SECONDCLASS. I have left this assignment against task 20, it does not have a location or asset and so will be unaffected by work zone filtering.

The Available Labor dialog for the third assignment against task 20 which has no location or asset and hence will not be filtered by work zone just shows the labor that have craft CARP and skill level SECONDCLASS as their default craft. Just the one labor is shown, MURPHY – Lee Murphy who works on the DAY/DAY calendar/shift.

The Available Labor does not show labor for craft CARP and Skill Level FIRSTCLASS who would be equally capable of performing the task.

You can filter the skill level as “=SECONDCLASS,=FIRSTCLASS” which would have additionally found GATES and FINLEY as we saw in a previous article. A Select Value on the Skill Level field in the Available Labor dialog would be useful. I chose GATES.

All three assignments are now at ASSIGNED status with an assignment Scheduled Start that reflects that of the work order or task.

Work Zones on Locations and Assets

We already know that the work zone of the location has an effect on the Available Labor, but what takes priority if both the location and asset have a work zone?

In the previous section the work order’s location was OFFICE and there was no asset. Location OFFICE belongs to the NEMA work zone. This section will look at what happens if there is both a location and asset referenced on the work order and what effect it would have if there was a work zone on the asset which was different to that on the location. For example, the office locations from a facilities view might have one set of work zones. The IT assets in the offices may have a different set of work zones.

I’ve created a new work order 1304 – Test of work zone assignments, against location OFF301 which belongs to the NEMA work zone.

The only plumber available with default craft of PLUMB who has the NEMA work zone marked as their default is BRO – Bryan Rose. We have seen this earlier in this article.

There’s a laser printer in location OFF301, its asset number is 1009 and it has no associated work zone. We’ll add asset 1009 as the primary asset on work order 1304.

The Available Labor now shows additionally AWA – Andy Warren who has no work zone and PBA – Pat Barker who is associated with both NEMA and NWMA, but NWMA is their default. These are the only labor with PLUMB as their default craft.

If the work order has an asset with no work zone, then the asset takes priority and there will be no work zone filtering.

I’ve added a work zone of NWMA to asset 1009. Back on work order 1304 and the Available Labor dialog, work zone filtering is now taking effect using the asset’s work zone. Only PBA – Pat Barker references work zone NWMA as their default work zone.

If the work order has an asset with a work zone, then the asset takes priority over the location when performing work zone filtering on the Available Labor dialog.

If you remove the Craft from the filter you will probably find other Available Labor. DOUGHTY – John Dougherty has been added to the available labor. Work zone filtering is still occurring, but it is being affected by the Work Zone Type. DOUGHTY and PBA do not work in the same work zone.

Work Zone Type and Work Zone Filtering of Available Labor

An Asset (or Location) can reference multiple Work Zones but only if they have a different Work Zone Type. If you tried to add a second Work Zone of the same Work Zone Type it would result in the error message “BMXAA4129E – The record for Work Zone Type=ZONE1, Organization=EAGLENA, Asset=1009, Site=BEDFORD already exists. Ensure that the key value for the given record is unique.”

The object ASSETWORKZONE has a unique index based on TYPE, ORGID, ASSETNUM, SITEID.

The object LOCATIONWORKZONE has a unique index based on TYPE, ORGID, LOCATION, SITEID.

I had added the ITDESK work zone to Asset 1009 it belongs to the ITZONE Work Zone Type.

DOUGHTY – John Dougherty belongs to the ITDESK work zone and it is their default work zone, which is why they appear in the Available Labor dialog when work zone filtering has been activated.

In the Available Labor dialog example shown previously:

  • Labor PBA has a default work zone of NWMA with a work zone type of ZONE1.
  • Labor DOUGHTY has a default work zone of ITDESK with a work zone type of ITZONE.

Asset 1009 belongs to both NWMA work zone and ITDESK work zone, hence why both PBA and DOUGHTY were shown in the Available Labor dialog.

I’ve added task 10 to work order 1304 which references location OFFICE, but not asset 1009. If you remember OFFICE belongs to work zone NEMA.

I’ve added task 10 to the assignment, now the NEMA work zone is being used to filter the Available Labor, but only where NEMA is referenced as the default work zone for the labor. In the screenshot I had removed the filter by craft PLUMB.

In the Work Zone application for NEMA only PLA – Peter Lawrence and BRO – Bryan Rose have NEMA marked as their Default work zone.

In the details area of an Assignment there is a Work Zone field. This will not appear until a Craft has been entered and the record is saved.

The Work Zone Type field on the Craft record needs to be set for the work zone to be shown on the assignments tab. Here the craft has the same ZONE1 Work Zone Type, hence why NEMA was shown as the Work Zone on the assignment.

I’ve created another assignment against the work order and requiring Craft PLUMB which uses the ZONE1 Work Zone Type. The assignments Work Zone is NWMA.

The work order references asset 1009 and location OFF301, but we know from earlier that the asset takes priority. We also know that Asset 1009 belongs to two work zones:

  • NWMA with Work Zone Type ZONE1
  • ITDESK with Work Zone Type ITZONE

Hence the Craft’s work zone type is used to derive which work zone to display when a location or asset references multiple work zones.

Now the Available Labor dialog shows just PBA – Pat Barker when the craft PLUMB filtering has been removed, there is no labor DOUGHTY. This is because the Work Zone Type defaulted onto the assignment from the craft record is being used to filter the labor.

I’ve added asset 2113 with no work zones to task 10. The asset should take priority over the location for work zone filtering and as the asset has no work zone, we should expect to find many labor that could be a match if the filter for craft PLUMB is removed. We get just the three labor that have work zone NEMA as their default work zone.

As the craft PLUMB now has a Work Zone Type it is used to derive a work zone for the assignment record using first the asset 2113 which has no work zone, then the task’s location OFF301 which belongs to the NEMA work zone in the ZONE1 work zone type. With work zone NEMA now on the assignment record, it is being used to filter for Available Labor.

In conclusion to this article, we have seen that if the location or asset has a work zone then the work zone is used as a filter in the Available Labor dialog, filtering the labor that belongs to the same work zone. If the work order has both a primary location and an asset, then the asset is used for work zone filtering. If the asset has no work zone, then no work zone filtering occurs. If the assignment references a task, then it is the location and asset on the tasks that influences work zone filtering.

However, if the assignment’s craft has a work zone type then a work zone is being derived for the assignment. It looks first to the asset, if it has no work zones it uses the location’s work zone of the same work zone type. Having derived a work zone for the assignment then this is used in work zone filtering.

It will take a lot of effort to enter work zones for all assets, in addition to doing so for locations. Many clients will have both a location and an asset on their work orders and tasks. If that is the case, and you have not associated your assets with work zones then if you make sure your craft has a work zone type then the work zone will be derived onto the assignment from the location, and work zone filtering will still take place. If you do not add a work zone type to the craft, then work zone filtering will not occur if you have not associated your assets to the work zone.