I have always believed that when it comes to business, appearance is everything. The employees must present themselves well and their paperwork should also do the same. For this reason, it is very important that your technicians have very neat and presentable dispatch tickets when at a customer’s location. Even if the customer does not get to see the ticket directly, it still needs to be understandable and easy to read and to ensure your technicians don't miss anything. In this article, I will show you how to access the Layout Designer for the dispatch ticket and explain its key features. This will give you the ability to customize the dispatch work ticket with the information your technicians need while giving your business a professional and organized look at the same time.
First off, before you can make any changes to the layout of your dispatch ticket, you will need to know how to access the template. Go to File and select Print Options. Click on the Forms tab and you will see a list of all the different forms that can be modified in ESC. For this article, we will be focusing on the options for the dispatch ticket. The links next to the word Dispatch allow you to customize, import or, export the dispatch ticket. Exporting will allow you to take the dispatch ticket in its current form and save it on your machine. I recommend doing the export before making any changes so that you can always restore it if needed. The Import option will allow you to overwrite the existing dispatch ticket with a previously saved one. Finally, Customize will give you the ability to see the layout of the dispatch ticket and modify it to your liking, so click on Customize and let's get to work.
Once in the dispatch layout, take notice of the Designer Fields on the right. When you expand one of the sections you will see a list of fields that can be added to the form. These fields represent information about the customer from the database which can be displayed on the dispatch. For example, if you expand the Dispatch section and check the Job Number field it will appear in the upper left-hand corner of the dispatch layout. Click and hold the red square in the middle of the field to drag it where you want it. You can resize the field by using the other red squares to make sure it fits exactly where you want it.
Not only can you place the designer fields where you want, if you right-click on one, and choose Properties, it will allow you to customize the field. You can add borders with sharp or curved angles at the end, choose a background color and even choose if the field has the ability to grow. The Can Grow feature allows fields that hold an abundance of information, like dispatch notes, to grow vertically as much as needed. With the properties, you can also modify the font, it’s size, color, and style so you can have information that your techs need to see really pop out on the page.
Another type of field you will come across are the body fields which are also a part of the designer fields. They are available for Attached Parts, Techs, Equipment, and History. These fields have the ability to show a lot of information. You can choose from a list of columns that can be shown and even rearrange the order by right clicking on the body and going to Properties.
Another thing to pay attention to, are the tools in the toolbar. The rectangle represents a frame and can be used to create rectangles or squares on your form. The backslash icon is the line tool and can be used to help create individual lines on the form that can be used to separate content. The “A” is the label tool which can be used as headers for fields or to type some additional information you would like to appear on the dispatch, such as a warranty. The picture icon allows you to upload a .JPG onto the form. This can be very handy for logos, just keep the picture size under 1 MB so it will print quickly.
Finally, there is the Options Menu which is used to toggle a few settings on the dispatch. With this, you can make dispatch and/or location notes print out where the attached parts are displayed. Also, you can create a header so that if your dispatch goes on to multiple pages, each page will still display the same information at the top. Lastly, there is the option for all equipment to print on the dispatch whether it is attached or not.
Now that you have an understanding of how all the fields in the layout designer works, all that is left is for you to find the right ones you need and to put them where you like. Eventually, you will have your own ticket that will display the information your technicians need to save time and get the job done.
Written by Vishal Bikhari
Featured in July 2012 Newsletter