App Building Two Cents’ Worth - Assign Jobs to your Mobile Workforce via Dispatch

By Jason Good on May 23, 2013
Tags: GoCanvas Product News

App Building Two Cents' Worth

Overview

Dispatch allows you to pre-populate GoCanvas apps and then assign them to any users in your account.  This is a great way to assign jobs to your mobile workers so they know where to go, who to talk to when they get there, and what needs to be done.  Almost any GoCanvas app can be enabled for Dispatch.  Dispatch is only available on Android, Apple (iPhone/iPad), and the Windows desktop versions of GoCanvas.

Jobs can be dispatched via a web interface on the GoCanvas website (Best for assigning jobs on a small scale as your customers call in for help.) or in bulk by uploading a CSV file.  You may also utilize WebServices to push dispatches automatically to GoCanvas from your own system.

Watch this brief video for more information about Dispatch.

Enable Dispatch

The first step in using Dispatch is to enable it for the GoCanvas apps that you intend to use it for. 

STEP 1 - Go to "My Apps" and choose the "More" menu next to the GoCanvas app you want to use Dispatch for. Select the "App Features" choice.

Dispatch - Step 1

STEP 2 - Click on "Edit" to enable Dispatch.

Dispatch - Step 2

STEP 3 - Check the box and push the "Save" button to enable Dispatch. Now you can use the Dispatch feature for this particular GoCanvas app.

Dispatch - Step 3


How to Dispatch Jobs via the GoCanvas Web Interface

STEP 1 - Click on "Dispatch" in the blue navigation bar to access the "Dispatch Manager".  If you do not see that option, click on "My Home" first.

Create Dispatch - Web Interface - Step 1

STEP 2 - On the "Dispatch Manager" page, push the "Create Dispatch" button.

Create Dispatch - Web Interface - Step 2

STEP 3 - Since you can use Dispatch across multiple GoCanvas apps, you are now asked to choose the GoCanvas app that you want to create a dispatch for.  All GoCanvas apps that are enabled for Dispatch are listed in the drop-down.

Create Dispatch - Web Interface - Step 3

STEP 4 - There are standard fields that must be completed in order to assign a job to a remote worker via Dispatch. 

  • Select App - You did this on the previous screen but you can change it now if you like.  But the system must know what GoCanvas app you are creating the dispatch for.
  • Item Description - This is the name of the dispatch you are creating. Think of it as a "filename".  But this name will show up in the Dispatch Manager to help you identify jobs and it will show up on your mobile worker's device in a list.  They will appear in alphabetical order on the device so use a naming convention that makes sense for your organization.
  • Assign Item to - This is the user that you are assigning this dispatch to.  If you need help adding users to GoCanvas, please click here to learn more.

Create Dispatch - Web Interface - Step 4

STEP 5 - Pre-populate the data that you want to send out to your remote worker.  Hit "Save" at the bottom of the screen when finished ("Save" button not pictured below).  That's it!  You have now assigned a dispatch out to your mobile worker!

Create Dispatch - Web Interface - Step 5

STEP 6 - Click on "Dispatch Manager" to return and see the dispatch you assigned.

Create Dispatch - Web Interface - Step 6


How to Create Dispatches in Bulk

STEP 1 - On the "Dispatch Manager" page, click on "Sample Dispatch File". GoCanvas will create a CSV file for you that contains the fields (columns) you need to assign dispatches in bulk.

Create Dispatch - Bulk - Step 1

STEP 2 - On the "Dispatch Samples" page you see a list of all of your GoCanvas apps that you have enabled Dispatch for along with a "download sample" link next to each one.  Click on the sample you need.

Create Dispatch - Bulk - Step 2

STEP 3 - A CSV file will be downloaded to your computer.  Open it in Excel (Or another editor).  The first 3 columns represent the 3 fields you must complete in order to assign a dispatch to a user. 

  • App Name - It will auto-populate the app name in the second row based on the sample you downloaded.  You can drag that value down to populate more rows.  You can dispatch to multiple GoCanvas apps in a single file.  Just make sure your app name is accurate.
  • Description - This is the name of the dispatch that will show up in the Dispatch Manager and on the user's mobile device.  Use a naming convention so you and your mobile user know what each dispatch is.  They appear alphabetically on the mobile device so if you want your users to complete jobs in a certain order use an appropriate naming convention (IE. 1 - Jones House; 2 - Smith House, 3 - Moore House, etc.).
  • User e-mail - This is the GoCanvas username (email address) of the mobile worker you want to assign the dispatch to.  You must add users to your account if you intend to assign dispatches to your mobile workers.  Plus, each user needs their own account anyway in order to be compliant with our licensing. 

Create Dispatch - Bulk - Step 3

STEP 4 - Save the file.  On the "Dispatch Samples" or "Dispatch Manager" page there is a button that says "Upload Dispatch File".  Push that button.

Create Dispatch - Bulk - Step 4

STEP 5 - Push the "Choose File" button and select it from your hard drive.  Push the "Save" button to upload.  That's it!  Your dispatches will then appear in the Dispatch Manager.

Create Dispatch - Bulk - Step 5


Dispatch on the Mobile Device

Once you have created dispatches and assigned them to users (Remember: You can create them without assigning them and assign them later via the Dispatch Manager.), the information is available on their mobile device. 

STEP 1 - Your user will need to "Synchronize" his/her device to receive the dispatch.  The message below will appear when a dispatch (or multiple dispatches) is received on the mobile device.  It says the name of the dispatch (MR. Jones) and the name of the GoCanvas app (Service Ticket).  You can also see a round, purple icon next to the Service Ticket app indicating that a dispatch is waiting.

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 1

STEP 2 - Your mobile user will click on the GoCanvas app with the Dispatch assigned to it and see a list of Dispatches available to him/her. There is that "Item Description" or "name" we have mentioned before.  They will show up on this list alphabetically for your user. This is why having a good naming convention is critical to help avoid confusion.  The user simply clicks on the "MR. Jones" dispatch to see the data that was pre-populated.

Also note at the bottom of the screen the user can select "New" if he/she needs to fill out this app for another job not related to the "MR. Jones" dispatch.

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 2

STEP 3 - Your mobile user can see all of the data that you entered for him/her to view.  He/she can hit "Next" to fill out the app like usual documenting the work done at the customer's location.

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 3

STEP 4 - Your user adds all the parts/materials or services provided and a nice summary is available for your customer to view.  For more information on creating this functionality (Adding line items of services or materials provided) in GoCanvas, click here.

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 4

STEP 5 - Like all GoCanvas apps, you can then email the information to the customer.  Type in the address of the person you want to email it to and push the "Add" button. 

As a note, you can disable this capability if you do not want your users to be able to send your data to anyone they choose.  You can also program in email addresses that will always receive your submissions no matter what the user enters on the mobile device.  More about email options here.

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 5

STEP 6 - After pushing "Add" you'll see the email address listed.  You may add other addresses if necessary.  Then push the "Done" button at the bottom of the screen to complete your submission and upload it to GoCanvas (And send your email!).

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 6

STEP 7 - Answer "Yes" to upload your submission to GoCanvas!  Your email will be sent as well upon upload.

Dispatch - Mobile Device - Step 7


Tracking the Dispatch & Viewing your Data

The "status" of your Dispatch will change in the Dispatch Manager throughout this process.  This allows you to see where your mobile worker is in the process of completing this job. 

Dispatch Received - When your mobile user downloads the Dispatch to his/her device, the status in Dispatch Manager changes to "Received".  Now you know your mobile user has the information.

Dispatch - Statuses - Step 1

Dispatch Completed - You can view any "Completed" dispatches by changing the "Status" search box to "Completed" and then hitting the "Search" button.  You'll see the completed dispatch and next to the word "Completed" there is a blue icon that will link you to the "Submissions" area of the GoCanvas website to view the data your mobile user captured.

Dispatch - Statuses - Completed

View Submission - You will be taken to the "Submissions" part of the GoCanvas website. You are taken right into the submission that you dispatched.  You can view the data on screen or you can push the "PDF" button to generate the same PDF that is emailed when you email submissions to people.

Dispatch - View Submission


Summary

The Dispatch feature will allow you to assign jobs (dispatches) to your mobile users out in the field.  This will provide the information they need to get to the job site and know what they are to do, but it also saves them a ton of time entering that data at the job site, too.  They can do their work and fill out the rest of the GoCanvas app capturing information about the work they completed.  That data can be emailed to the customer (Or anyone else) and anyone back in the office can see the data by clicking on "Dispatch" to access the "Dispatch Manager" or via the "Submissions" area.

Questions?  Contact us and we will help you use this powerful new feature from GoCanvas!

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