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Scheduling Resources into Microsoft CRM

With Microsoft CRM, you and your staff can easily deliver timely customer service. The first thing you need to do is set up your resources — that is, your facilities and equipment — on the schedule.

Here's how this works:

1. At the bottom of the CRM navigation pane, click the Settings button.

The Settings window appears on the right.

2. From the Settings window, select Business Unit Settings. Then select Local Facilities/Equipment.

You can now begin adding your resources. From here, you can also view your resources, local facilities and equipment, and subsidiary facilities and equipment using the View drop-down list.

3. In the window's toolbar, click the New button.

The Facilities/Equipment: New window appears.

4. In the Name field, name your resource.

Use the common name for the item, so that everyone in your company can find it. Naming the heavy-duty winch "Big Cheese" won't do any good if you're the only one that calls it that. You have up to 100 characters for the name of your resource. Remember that all fields in bold (red on your computer screen) are required.

5. Next up, select a Business Unit.

This field automatically defaults to your company's business unit, but you can change it by clicking the magnifying glass.

6. Choose a site for your resource.

This optional field is useful if you have more than one location for your resources. For example, you might want to indicate whether you want to use the heavy-duty winch at your Newtown facility or the one at your Portville location.

7. Enter an e-mail address.

You can use this field to send e-mails about this resource. For instance, suppose you're taking the heavy winch out and want to notify Steve, the equipment manager. You can set up a business process so that every time you schedule this resource, an e-mail to Steve is generated.

8. Choose a time zone.

The default time zone is the one for your company. However, you can change it by making a selection from the drop-down list.

9. Last but not least, enter a description of the resource.

This field is optional.

10. Click the Save and Close button.

You return to the Facilities/Equipment window.

Now that you've entered your resource into Microsoft CRM, you should create a schedule for it. The schedule tells everyone when the resource can be used.

Say you just purchased the Big Cheese (the winch) on Saturday, and it's ready for deployment in the field. However, you want downtime scheduled for maintenance every Friday:

1. In the Facilities/Equipment window, select the resource you just created by double-clicking it.

The window for this resource appears. Eyes up: Note that it has its own navigation pane.

2. In the resource's navigation pane, click Work Hours.

A tab called Monthly View appears with a monthly calendar. To change months, click the arrow on either side of the month at the top of the calendar.

3. Double-click a day where you want to either restrict work or start the schedule for the resource.

4. Choose one of the following options and then click OK:

* This day only: Changes only the date you've selected.

This date onward: Changes the schedule from this day onward.

Entire recurring weekly schedule from start to end: Changes the schedule for all dates, including past dates.

For our example, select the second option. The Weekly Schedule: Edit screen appears.

5. Fill out this page.

Most of the fields in this screen are self-explanatory. You can change or select your work hours by double-clicking the bold (blue on-screen) hours listed after Work Hours. Uncheck any day that is not available for scheduling (the default is for everything to be checked).

6. Click the Save and Close button.

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