Welcome to eSSETS Support. The Table of Contents below provides links to information to help you get the most out of our application. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at [email protected]
One of the first and most important tasks for implementing eSSETS is to design your Places hierarchy. The primary purpose of Places is to answer questions related to your locations. Where is it? How do I get there? How big is it? How does it fit in the overall scheme of things? Who is responsible for it? Are there pictures? Drawings? Floor plans? Schematics? What’s it costing me to maintain it? What resides inside of it?Is there anything else I should know about it? And the list can go on and on…
Places Tree Hierarchy Structure
Places are for either a logical grouping or a physical location. Examples of logical grouping might be “Midwest” or “Projects”. A physical location could be a campus, a building, a floor (level) within a building, or a room within a floor. If possible, try to keep your Places hierarchy to five levels or less. While the system can accommodate more, some of the reporting selections only go five levels deep.
Places List View
Clicking on Places from the black menu bar takes you to the Places list view. When the list first opens it is collapsed to the top level of the hierarchy. Clicking the carrot icon in front of the Place name expands to show the next level. You can keep drilling down to the lowes level of the hierarchy. Clicking the Place name (anywhere you see a Place name) opens the Place dialog.
Place List “Drill Down”
In the example to the right, the Place named District 1 has been expanded to down to the Store level, and store 115 has been expanded to show areas and rooms within the store.
Clicking on the Filters button of the Filter bar opens the Filter dialog box. This shows any currently active filter selections, and allows you to add or remove any of the six available filters. The ones with the black push-pins are “pinned” to the Filter bar for one click access.
Tip – “pin” the filters you used most often to the filter bar. If the push-pin is grey, click it once to activate it.
Place Dialog Sections
Below is a list of the types of information you can enter into or view in the Place dialog.
Basic Info Section
- Type – This is a drop down list with selections that provide a label that can be used for reporting.
- Maintainer – Primary users (not Requesters) can be designated as the responsible person for a Place. A Contractor Organization can also be designated as a Maintainer. An Action List item can be configured to notify this person or Organization if an observed condition is outside of a defined tolerance level.
- Organization – This field will only appear if configured to do so from Settings>Account Settings. You may choose to use this to identify Lessors from which a Place (property, building, office space) is leased.
- Square feet/meters – Either square feet or square meters can be entered. Alternatively, if the Place being edited has “children”, you can select the option to calculate the space by “rolling up” the space of its’ children. Note that you can enter either square feet or square meters, and the system automatically calculates the other for you. This can be especially educational for the poor people in the US that must continue to suffer through archaic measurements inherited from the UK. We decided that, over time, we’ll present all measurements in both metric and archaic US.
- Notes – This is intended for free format notes to describe the Place that does not fit neatly in its structured attributes.
- Possession – A Person or Organization name will show here if the Place has been “transferred” to that Person or Organization.
- Parent – If the Place being displayed is a child, then it’s Parent Place name will show here.
- Children – If the Place being displayed has Children, then they will be listed here. These names are hyperlinked allowing you to click and open the selected Place dialog.
- Physical and/or mailing addresses
- Geo-Code – Latitude and Longitude can be used for Places that do not have a mailing address
Contact Methods Section–
- Phone Numbers
- Fax Numbers
- Email addresses
While an attachment in itself is not an attribute, it sure can tell you a lot. It can be a picture, a floor plan, a drawing, a specification—about any kind of image or document that provides knowledge about the Place. Currently, whatever image you attach first is used as a thumbnail in the Places List.
Places Action Buttons
So, you clicked on a Place name. The Place dialog box magically appeared. Besides entering or consuming information displayed therein, what else can you do? Take actions by clicking on one of the Action buttons.
- Activities – takes you to a listing of the history of the Place. Entries appear with the most recently completed item at the top of the list. This can include transactions, service requests, action lists, attachments, notes, reservations, and transfers. Just about anything that happened to that Place can be recorded as an activity.
- ToDoQ – This button takes you to a list of open jobs (service requests and action lists) associated with the Place.
Clone – Let’s say you run a chain of restaurants. You defined all the rooms at one of your properties. If other properties are the same, or even very similar, you can save time by cloning the first one. Clicking the Clone button launches a wizard giving you the opportunity to select just which portions of the Places tree you want to copy, and giving you the option of renaming and re-addressing in the process.
Hint: If you frequently search Activity history by Place name, you can “pin” the Place filter to the Filter bar of the Activities List.
The Places tree can be used for controlling permissions—who can see what. If, for example, Sam only works at Campus 1, the admin can set Sam’s permissions so that when he logs in he only sees the subset of Places under Campus 1. He will not be bothered by the “noise” of Campuses 2, 3, 4 and 5.
There are different ways you can construct your Places tree. One of those is to click the Organize button at the top of the Places list. This will launch a dialog box allowing you to move around Places. The dialog box will look something like the sample screen to the right.
Click the “Add ” button at the top left of the Places list. This will open a yellow input area at the top of the dialog, as shown in this example. After naming your Place and selecting the Type of Place from the drop down list, click the Save button. The new Place is now at the top of your Place tree. The next step is to drag it and drop it where you want it in the tree structure. You do this by clicking on the row (somewhere other than the Place name hyperlink), holding your mouse button while you drag it down. If it is going to be a child of an existing parent Place, you will want to expand the parent by clicking the + in front of the name before trying the drag and drop. This may take a little practice. If you want the Place to become a child of a parent, then drag it slightly to the right of the parent name. When you let go of your mouse button, it should land where you were pointing. If you miss, just click and hold and try it again.
Places Setup Wizard
Another option to help you get Places setup quickly, is to try the Places Setup Wizard button at the top of the Places List. This will start with a list of Templates containing Place names within tree structures that are common for certain types of organizations. Our list of templates is growing all the time. Simply pick one that looks reasonably close to your industry, and the wizard will step you through selecting whatever subset of the template you want to use. The wizard allows you to rename the Places to fit your naming convention. After you’re done, you can reorganize the list by using the Add/Organize button at the top of the Places list.
Places CSV Import
Another option to populate your Places tree is to use the CSV Import function. While this is on the Account Settings menu, we recommend you enlist help from the eSSETS support team if you want to go this route. The import is pretty picky. Every column needs to be just right, or you’ll get a list of reasons why it did not complete, sometimes eliciting violent notions towards your computer or others in your vicinity. In the interest of world peace, let us help.
Things are for just about anything you want to track and manage. Cars, trucks, machinery, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment (HVAC) computers, smartphones, tablets, printers, scanners, kitchen equipment, and so on. If you are new to asset tracking, we suggest using the 80/20 rule. Identify those 20% of Things that cause the most headaches and/or cost the most, and get them into Things first.
Things List View
The Things List View page displays a list of all, or a subset of, the Things in your asset portfolio. Things are listed in alphabetical order by the Name column. The name of a Thing is automatically assembled by combining the following*:
Asset ID>Brand>Model>Type of Thing.
*An exception is when an Alternate Name was given.
The second row of the page, just below the Menu bar, is called the Filter bar. In the above example the Name filter has been pinned to the filter bar. You can customize your filter by adding your favorite, most commonly used search criteria to the bar!
Filtering your list is a powerful tool to find a single Thing, or some subset of your overall asset portfolio. Any subset you select can be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis by clicking the Export icon in the Action bar (just below the Filter bar).To use a filter, or add one to the Filter bar, click the + icon on the right side of the Filter bar. This will open the Filter selection dialog as shown.
Notice you have lots of search/selection options! You can use any of these at any time, but if you want to save time, you can pin the ones you used most often to the Filter bar. You do this by pointing and clicking the pushpin icon on the right side of the name. That changes the color of the pushpin from grey to black and adds it to the Filter bar when you close the dialog. In this example, the Asset ID, Brand, Long Description, Model and Model Year filters have been “pinned.”
To remove a filter from the Filter bar you can open the Filter dialog and click the pushpin changing it from black to grey. You can remove a filter directly from the bar by just clicking the pushpin in front of the filter name.
The app needs to know what Type of Thing you are recording in order to know what questions to ask and what information to present on the page for your input. For example, a clothes washer is a different animal than a solar panel. They can have different attributes.
Enter a portion of the Thing Type into the search box to find items in the system. You should type in the word or phrase representing what this type of Thing is most commonly called. In the example below, we have typed in the word “Air” and clicked the enter key or the click the search icon. If you find the Thing Type you’re looking for, click the checkbox in front of the name. If you don’t find a good match in the selection list, just key the Type name you want to use and select “Other Type” on the list.
HINT: Start with a broad search term. For example, HVAC will bring up rooftop units, room air conditioners, furnaces, and air handlers. Select the closest match. For example, a search using “Computer” will bring up Desktop, Notebook, All-in-one, Server, and yes, Computer.
Add or Change a Thing
Basic Info – This first section is expanded when the dialog box first opens. You can enter or change the info in most of the fields on the form.
Some items will have a ? after the label. You can hover your mouse over this question mark for an explanation of the item. In this example we have selected an existing Thing from the Things List View. The Thing edit dialog initially displays in view-only mode. Administrators have the option of clicking the Edit button in the bottom left of each section to switch to edit mode. After doing so, the button label changes from Edit to Save.
Type of Thing – is very important because it affects the information that is available for viewing, input or editing on the rest of this page. Changing the Type of Thing will result in a warning dialog that some data might be lost. For example, the specifications for a vehicle are quite different than those on a rooftop HVAC unit. Therefore, once a Thing has been setup, it will be very rare that you will change its Type. The exception is if it was originally set-up as the generic “Other”, and eSSETS has since added a specific Thing type, you will want to change it from “Other” to the new Type.
Brand and Model – These are useful for searching, filtering and reporting.
Asset ID – An ID # is automatically assigned as Things are added. The next ID# is set in the Account Settings page. The ID # can be overridden. If your company uses a fixed asset accounting system, you may wish to use the ID # from that system.
Alternate Name – By default, the Asset ID, Brand, Model and Type are used as the Thing name throughout the application. If you prefer a different naming convention, you can use this field to override the default name. For example, the default name for the Thing in the sample page may be “1001-Kohler 30REOZK4 (Generator)”.You can call it Gen 1, or you can call it Fred, or anything else you want.
Serial Number – This is not required, but it is highly recommended that you enter the serial number, at least for new acquisitions. Serial numbers can be important for warranty claims, and sometimes for identifying the correct replacement parts.
Long Description – Use this to provide a detailed description of the Thing. Use keywords that will facilitate searching. Tip: Go to a shopping site that carries the Brand and Model of the Thing and copy and paste selected info from the product description.
Product Manual Link – This allows insertion of a URL pointing to online reference material about this Thing. Many manufacturers have Operation & Maintenance manuals available from their websites. Using this resource allows these manuals to be retrieved with one click.
Place – A Place selection is required. Clicking the Choose Place button will allow selection of, or changes to the Place. A dialog box will be displayed showing the Places tree hierarchy.
Model Year – This is for reference only, when applicable. While model year can be important for some types of assets, like vehicles for example, it may not be important for many others. For the latter case, we recommend just plugging in the year it was purchased.
Parent Thing – If the Thing being set-up is a component of a system, then clicking the Change Parent button allows searching and selecting the associated system Thing from a list.
Children Things – A Thing can have one or more Children Things. For example, an engine could be a child of a vehicle. A compressor could be a child of an AC Condensing Unit.
Possession – Sometimes staff members or contractors are issued company assets such as tools, computers, and vehicles. You can track these possession transfers in the application by creating a Transfer Activity, which allows entry of the date/time the asset was transferred to their possession.
Maintainer – Primary users (not Requesters) can be designated as the responsible person for a Thing. A Contractor Organization can also be designated as a Maintainer. An Action List item can be configured to notify this person or Organization if an observed condition is outside of a defined tolerance level.
You can upload a picture to replace the generic image based on the Thing Type with an actual picture from your mobile device, or a picture captured from a website. The first image uploaded will become the one displayed on list views. You can also upload multiple images or documents, such as pictures from different angles or supporting maintenance documentation. To upload an image, click on the Select Files button. This will launch a file selection dialog box. Clicking on the image will download the image or document. The type of file will determine which program is launched for viewing.
Tip: Clicking on Add File from a Smartphone or Tablet will give you the option to take a picture or browse your file system for an image.
The Cost section can vary depending upon whether your company uses eSSETS for managing depreciation calculations.
- CAPEX– This is an abbreviation for Capital Expenditure and is a view-only summary of all life-to-date Transactions to Category types of “Fixed Assets.” This is the capitalized cost of the asset, so it will not include maintenance expenses.
- OPEX – This is an abbreviation for Operating Expenditures and is a view-only summary of all expense type Transactions.
- Depreciate – If yes, then straight-line depreciation transactions will be generated and summarized below under LTD (life-to-date) Depreciation. If no, then some fields described below will not appear.
- Useful Life – Generally, this will be the number of months based upon the depreciation accounting rules used by your company. If depreciation is not being used, this information is just for reference.
- Depreciation Start Date – This identifies the month when depreciation transactions begin. For most organizations, this will be the month the asset was purchased.
- Salvage Value – This is the assumed value of the asset when it reaches the end of its useful life. This is subtracted from CAPEX as the cost basis for depreciation transactions.
- Depreciation Cost Basis – Calculated as CAPEX less Salvage Value
- LTD Depreciation – LTD means Life to Date. This is the sum of all depreciation transactions during the life of the asset.
- Net Book Value – Calculated as Depreciation Cost Basis less LTD Depreciation.
- Fair Market Value – This is the current estimated value of the asset if it was sold.
- Replacement Cost – This is the estimated cost to replace this asset when it reaches the end of its useful life. This amount is used on the CAPEX Planning Report.
- Replacement Target Year – This is an estimate for capital budgeting planning purposes. This is the year used on the CAPEX Planning Report.
Ratings & Readings
The Ratings and Readings section can contain different information for different Types of Things. This example is from a generator. Because generators generally have an hour meter, the last Hour Meter reading and Reading Date are displayed. These are view-only because they are updated automatically from Action Lists.
If this were a vehicle, it would show Odometer Reading instead of Hour Meter. The Condition rating and date is shown for all Thing types. It is view-only because it is updated automatically from Action Lists.
The recommended practice is to fill in these warranty expiration dates (and depending on Thing type, odometer or hour meter readings) whenever new assets are acquired. Warranty expiration date range selections are available on the Warranty Report, which lists Things with their expiration dates. It is also recommended that any nuances about the manufacturer’s warranty policies be included in the Warranty Notes section.
The contents of the expanded version of this section are highly dependent on the Thing Type (i.e. a diesel generator has a very different set of specs than a dishwasher). eSSETS periodically updates the Specifications for different Thing Types.
Organizations are any entity you interact with to aquire, support, maintain, or use Places and Things. Examples include:
- Contractors – service providers, like HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing contractors
- Suppliers of parts and materials
- Suppliers of equipment (fixed assets)
- IT Service Providers
- Utility companies – guess that’s a type of material—fuel
- Lessors – if you don’t own your Places, you probably rent or lease
- Government agencies – like building inspectors
- Architects, Engineers, General Contractors (AEC)
- Customers – if you provide facilities services, you have customers. If you lease or sublease space, you have customers.
The only information that is required to create an Organization is a name. However, we recommend you record all you know about this entity, such as:
Notes – Use Keywords that identify trade, skills, etc. In other words, identify why this entity is in your organization list. You can use the Notes Filter to search on these keywords!
- We recommend starting with the type of Organization (see above list) and follow with the trade or skill. Examples:
- Contractor: HVAC
- Contractor: Plumbing
- Supplier: lighting
- Supplier: lumber
- Utility: gas
- Utility: electric
- We recommend starting with the type of Organization (see above list) and follow with the trade or skill. Examples:
- Contact Methods
- email (company level email—not to be confused with individual email. An example is [email protected])
- People – There may be one or more people you work with at this organization. It’s good to identify who they are.
- Physical Addresses
- Mailing Address
- Attachments – such as a copy of their business license, insurance certificate, or other qualifying documentation.
Assigning Jobs to Contractors
In order to assign a job to a contractor electronically through ToDoQ, you need the Organization name and a primary email address. In some cases, this might be the owner’s email address, which might be duplicated under people. The important thing to note is that the primary email address of the Organization is what will be used for Service Request and Action List assignments.
Types of People
This illustration shows the different types of People that can appear in the People list view.
The top branch shows the types of “Primary Users” which can be managed on the Account Settings menu by the Account Owner or by Administrators. The middle branch shows SmartQ Requesters. Since SmartQ Requesters have a login, their permissions are also managed through Account Settings.
Primary Users and SmartQ Requesters
Primary users (Owners, Administrators, Members) and SmartQ Requesters are added and changed through Settings>Account Users. Since the list of Primary Users and SmartQ Requesters can get long, there are multiple filters available on the Account Users page. Owners and Administrators can also get to User permission control information through the People List accessible from the main menu.
In the example, the Name filter has been pinned to the Filter bar. This allows you to search for a person by name with one click. Notice that clicking the + icon to the right of the Name filter will open the Filter dialog box (see below) where you can apply other search/selection filters, or pin other filters to the Filter bar.
There are two types of Requesters: those with logins to SmartQ, and those without logins. Any person that has the WebQ URL can become a Requester. Also, any person added through New Service Request from ToDoQ, or by clicking the Add Person button at the top of the People List View will also go into the People List as a Requester.
Clicking a name from the People list, or for that matter from any screen where you see a person’s name, will open the People dialog, as shown. There are several sections within this dialog that can be opened to display additional information.
Contact methods can include phone numbers, email addresses, web pages and social media links. To open this section for viewing or editing, click on the Contact Methods bar.
Organizations and People
A person can have multiple Organization affiliations. See the Organiztions topic for a discussion of the various types of entities. Knowing key contacts at your contractors and material suppliers can be handy. You can associate a person with an Organization from this section of the People dialog, or you can associate a person to an Organization through the Organization dialog. Either way, you can identify their title or role.
How to Merge Duplicate People
Over time, people’s names can be duplicated. The most common cause for duplicates are from WebQ requests. Any variation in spelling of the name or contact info will result in another person being added to the People list.. Periodically, it’s a good idea to clean up the People list by merging the duplicates.
- Go to People on the main menu bar.
- Scan the list.
- When you see two or more names that are really the same person, pick the one from the list that appears to have the most complete and accurate information and click on the name to open the People dialog.
- In the dialog header, click the Merge icon, which is just to the left of the red X.
- If there is just one exact match, then click the green check mark in the dialog header and this will complete the merge and return you to the People dialog.
- From the People dialog, make any editing changes needed.
- Closing the dialog will refresh the People list.
ToDoQ (Work Orders)
For many users, the first page displayed when you login to eSSETS is ToDoQ. This is your To-Do list. It contains Service Requests (SR’s) and Action Lists (AL’s). If your administrator has designated your user type as “member”, then you will see a pre-filtered list of only those jobs (AL’s and SR’s) that have been assigned to you. To pick up one of your job assignments, click on either the ID # or the job description. The names shown in the Assigned, Place and Thing columns are also clickable to look up information about them. Account Owners and Administrators will normally see ALL open jobs except for those that have been put on hold (status = Hold).
This screenshot shows the top portion of the ToDoQ page. The black bar at the top is the menu bar. The second row is called the Filter bar. You can customize this with your favorite filter selections by “pinning” filters to the bar.
You’ll notice that Sort Order and Work Status are highlighted. This highlighting means that at least one filter has been applied (i.e. Active filter). Clicking on an Active filter will open that section within the filter dialog to show the current filtering criteria, and allow you to make changes. Clicking on any of the filters opens the section allowing you to define filtering criteria. To remove all filtering criteria within a section, click the red X on the right side of the section.
To add filters to the bar click the + icon at the end of the row just to the left of where it says “Click + to add more filters”. This will launch the filter selection dialog which shows all available filters, as shown.
Frequently used filters can be “pinned” so that they show up in the Filter bar. This saves you a few mouse clicks, which can add up over time. Enable the pin by clicking on the pushpin icon at the far right of the desired filter..
After clicking the done button (green checkmark), ToDoQ will be redisplayed with the Description filter in the filter bar. Now, the next time you want to search for any word in the job description, one click opens the search dialog!
The ToDoQ is initially sorted first by Priority (# of bars), and then by target completion date. More bars indicate a higher priority, thus 5 bars come before 4 bars, and so on.
If, for example, you want to see the list in oldest to newest order, you can click “Sort Order” in the filter bar which will launch a dialog box allowing you to choose “Elapsed Days” in “Descending Sequence”. See example.
The best way to take advantage of filter and sort selections is to experiment. Try them all to see what they do. You can always turn them all off and return to the default view with a single click of the X to the right of the word “Filters” in the filter bar.
Adding a Service Requests
Each element of the Service Request create page is described below
Date & Time – The date and time are automatically filled in for you. If you are recording this Service Request (SR) in real-time, as in while talking to the person making the request, then you don’t need to change these. However, if you are picking up a voicemail or email from earlier, you might wish to adjust the date and time accordingly. The amount of time from request to job completion is used in the Service Level Analysis report to measure performance.
Person Requesting – If the person has made a request in the past, when you start typing their name, a drop down list will appear allowing you to select the name from the list. If this is the first time the person has made a request, and if they are not a User, then you will see a message in red, like this example.
Add a Person
After checking your spelling, click the New Person button to the right of the red text. This will open a dialog box allowing you to enter information about that person. When the Edit Person dialog box opens the name you entered on the SR form will automatically be filled in. Verify that the first and last names are correct. Next, click the Contacts Methods button (highlighted below). At a minimum, you should put in a Contact Method for the person’s email address. If available, you should also enter their phone number.
After clicking Add New Contact Method, an area will open allowing input. In the example below, we’ve put in a description of “Mobile.” It’s a good practice to label the type of phone in case the person has multiple phones (such as work, mobile, home, etc). Important note: After entering a description, selecting the contact method type, and entering the number, email address or web URL, be sure to click the Save button.
Short Description – This is the description that will show on ToDoQ. The best practice is to limit the description to some keywords that explain the job as succinctly as possible. These words can be used as search terms using the Description filter on ToDoQ.
Work Category – This drop down list has been configured by your administrator to classify the request for searching and reporting.
Long Description – This is the text area where you elaborate important details about the request. Have fun, you’ve got up to 4,096 characters for the explanation.
Thing or Place – Requests must be associated with either a Thing or Place. If you select a Thing, it will automatically bring in the Place. If you’re not sure which Thing it is, then use Place. This can be changed later when more specific information is known.
Assign to Staff – Requests can only be assigned to staff members that are Users (have a login). An SR must be assigned to either one or more Users, Contractors, or both. Start typing in the assignee’s name and a drop down matching list will allow a selection. After the person has been selected, their name will move to the Email Notification grid at the bottom of the page.
Assign to Contractor – In order to assign Service Requests (SR’s) to contractors and for them to receive an email notification, you will need an email address at the Organization level. Some of your contractors might have a company level email address they would want you to use, and some may want the email sent to a specific person’s email address. The system always uses the “Preferred” email address of the Organization.
The system does NOT use email addresses at the Person level. For example, the company might be “Paul’s Plumbing”. The Organization might have two people associated with it: Paul and Peter. This one company would have two people in the People section. We don’t use the email addresses in the People section, we only use the preferred email address of the Organization. The email for the company might be Paul’s email address, so you may end up putting in Paul’s email address twice: once at the Organization level and once at the People level.
See eSSETS in your Organization list for an example of an Organization level email address. If you assigned eSSETS an SR, it would send a notification to [email protected] The email notification the contractor receives will have a URL link in it. When the contractor clicks that link they go straight to the SR form. No login is required. From there they can add notes and/or attachments. They can’t add time or materials, as it is assumed they will send you an invoice, or they can simply attach the invoice to the SR.
SmartQ Requesters are a type of user with a login (WebQ Requesters do not require a login). A requester can submit requests and see the status of previous submissions. Depending upon the administrators personal settings, a request submitted through SmartQ may notifify administrators with a pop-up and/or email notification. Administrators can control the subset of Places SmartQ Requesters see in the Places selection list (chooser dialog).
Work Category – This is a drop down list from a database table defined by your application administrators. Choose the one that seems most approriate to the request. It is required input.
Description – This is intended as a short description of the request. Sometimes this is all that is needed to convey your need. Its best to make is succinct. You can elaborate below, if needed.
More Description – This is an optional elaboration of the short description.
Emergency – This checkbox allows the user to convey a very high priority request that can trigger email notifications to selected people.
Where is it? – All requests must be associated with a Place or a Thing. If the Requestor is in “possession” of Places (such as an office) or Things (computers, smartphones, special tools, cars), these will be displayed in this section to allow quick selection of likely candidates. If the Requester is NOT in possession of anything, this section will be blank and they must go below to Other Places or Other Things.
Other Places – Clicking the Select Place button launches a Place chooser dialog showing the top level of the Places hierarchy with drill down (+ in front of name) to lower levels in the Parent/Child hierarchy. Optionally, the requester can type a name and search for name matches anywhere in the hierarchy.
Other Things – Clicking the Select Thing button launches a Thing chooser dialog allowing searches of the Thing database with multiple search criteria including:
- Asset ID – a unique identification number
- Thing Type – The type of asset/equipment
- Place – where is it located, such as a building, floor, room, etc.
- Serial Number
- Thing Name
- Long Description
Use Personal Settings from the Settings menu (gear icon, top right corner) to configure the placement of available Dashboard gadgets.
Each gadget can be placed in one of three columns, or removed from view. The three columns are labeled A, B and C. To use the drag and drop function, click on the gadget you want to move and hold your mouse button down as you drag it to the relative location you want it to appear. If you don’t want it to appear at all, simply drag it to the “Unused Gadget” column, where it will remain until you decide you want to see it. Be sure and click the Done button in the top right hand corner when you get the gadgets where you want them.
Activities are about work, actions, information and money. The Activities List view allows you to see a list of current and historical activities. There are numerous filters available, and the list can be sorted in different ways. By default, the list shows in the newest to the oldest sequence.
Parent Activities (PA’s) are a useful way of grouping together related Activity Types. Every Activity has a Parent Activity ID, or PA Number. A PA can have one or more children of various types.
Types of Activities include:
- Services Requests
- Action Lists
- Transactions – Financial
- Attachments – Documents, pictures, videos
- Transfers – Used to transfer possession of a Thing or Place to a Person or Organization
- Reservations – Used to reserve Places or Things for a Person or Organization in the future
[insert chart from slide 31]
This chart illustrates the concept of a Parent Activity grouping together multiple activity types to form a complete picture of job cost, explanations and document references.
- An inspection handled through an Action List (AL) has been configured to trigger Service Request (SR) follow-up to an “out of tolerance” condition.
- The SR is assigned to both an internal staff member and an outside contractor (service provider) to help complete the job.
- Staff member records his/her time on the SR which automatically creates labor cost transactions.
- The Service provider sends an invoice. When the invoice is received a Transaction is entered through Activities>Transactions to record the cost to appropriate expense categories.
- A copy of the vendor’s invoice is uploaded as an Attachment for reference.
A text Note is entered to explain why the Service Provider was engaged to help with the work.
Activities – Lifecycle Records
The Activities List View provides full lifecycle information about Places and Things. You may arrive on this page from the main menu, or you may arrive at a filtered view if you are coming from other pages, like the Thing page or the Places dialog. You can also create Activities from this page. Examples of what you can do from this very powerful page include:
- Complete lifecycle history of a Place or Thing
- All Activities that have occurred within a selected date range
- All Activities within a selected date range for a selected Place
- All Activities within a selected date range for a selected Thing
- All Activities involving a selected User
- All Activities associated with selected Types of Things
- Details about a selected Parent Activity and all of its children (see Activity Types below)
- Filtered list of Activities by Activity Type
- Filtered list of Activities involving selected Vendors
- An almost unlimited number of filtering combinations
- Add new Parent Activity and one or more children Activity Types (except for an Action List)
It should be noted that there can only be ONE Action list (AL) per PA. All of the other Types can have multiples. The reason there can only be a single Action List per Parent Activity is because AL’s are automatically generated by the scheduler. Additionally, Notes and Attachments at the Parent Activity level are independent Activity Types. While Service Requests and Action Lists can have their own Notes and Attachments, these are “children” of the SR or AL and are down a level from the Parent Activity. Thus, to see the Notes on an SR, you must drill down to the SR. Transactions are different in that any time money is spent, either through parts or labor time emanating from SR’s or AL’s, Transaction entries are created and visible under the Parent Activity.
The basis for financial inputs and reporting is through Transactions. Transactions originate from:
- Automatically generated from Service Requests and Actions Lists
- Parts and Materials used on the job
- Labor time recorded on the job
- Automatically generated depreciation transactions, if the Depreciation option is included in your subscription
- Manually entered through Activities>Transactions
Examples of manually entered Transactions include:
- Purchases of Fixed (aka Long Term) Assets
- Purchases of parts & materials for inventory
- Utility bills
Transactions are used for reporting on:
- Transaction Report – available on the Reports menu
- Things Cost Report – available on the Reports menu
- Thing dialog – in the Cost section
- Activities List
How to enter Transactions
First, go to Activities from the main menu, and click the Add New button. This action results in the following screen:
Provide a short description (such as purchase parts, purchase equipment, utility bill, etc.), then click the Transaction button (highlighted above). A sample Transaction entry page is shown below:
Here are some recommendations and best practices:
- Activity Date – if you enter month and day only, it will default to the current year. In the above example only “5/2” was entered.
- Organization – In the purchasing example, this is for the vendor name. If the vendor is not already in the Organization list, then you can add a new one from here.
- Trans Category – Under the Transaction Details section, the Transaction Category is a drop down selection. These categories are set up and maintained from the Account Settings menu.
- Item Number – We recommend using your own item number rather than the supplier’s item (catalog) number. This will allow you to track usage independent of the source of supply.
- What is this for? – Every Transaction Detail line must be associated with either a Place or a Thing. This is used for cost reporting.
Note: A Transaction can have multiple Line Items, as would generally correspond to a vendor invoice. The “Copy Last Line” button can be a time saver if you have multiple similar line items on the invoice.
Transfers & Reservations
Reservations allow a Place (like a conference room), or a Thing (like a projector) to be reserved to a person or Organization for a planned time range.
Transfers signifies a transfer of possession of a Place or Thing to a person or Organization. For example, when a staff member is issued a Notebook computer or a Smartphone (Thing transfer) or when a staff member is assigned an office (Place transfer).
A Reservation can be changed into a Transfer, in which case the planned start date and time in the reservation can be changed to the actual date/time. Example: Bill reserved the projector for Monday from noon to 5pm. He picked it up at 1pm Monday, but didn’t return it until 10am on Wednesday. The transfer Activity history will show the actual time from check-out to check-in.
A Transfer can stand alone.
- Example 1: a new MacBook Air is issued to Sally when she started work. It will show in Sally’s possession until she returns it.
- Example 2: You lease a spare office to ABC Consulting on 11/1/2017. You use the transfer function to show ABC Consulting (an Organization) as a Lessee of the Place.
Service Level Analysis
This is a performance report that helps managers analyze the duration of time between the time requests are submitted and its fulfillment. The report has different “summarize” options, which are similar to pivot tables in spreadsheets. It essentially allows managers to look at the data from different angles. Examples include:
- Summary by Work Categories
- Summary by Place
The summarize-by options combined with the filter options make this a powerful analysis tool!
Date Range – The report defaults to one year of history from the current date. You can override this and select any date range you like by using the range selector fields at the top of the page. Please be advised that going back multiple years may have an impact on the speed of the report.
Summarize button – The report defaults to Request Categories 2 levels deep. This means the report initially displays with one row for each unique Request Category. Clicking the + in front of the Category name will expand to show sub-categories of that parent. The real power of this report is its ability to slice and dice historical data along multiple dimensions. You can summarize by Place and then Category, or Category and then Place. Or you might elect to summarize by a single dimension, such as Place.
However you choose to summarize, the numbers will be refreshed to show the performance characteristics of your selections. The columns are:
- Count – how many Service Requests (SR’s) were completed during the selected time range
- Minimum – what was the minimum elapsed time between the request date/time and the completion date/time.
- Maximum – what was the longest duration of time between request date and request completion.
- Average – what was the average time it took to complete the jobs.
- Standard Deviation – in brief, this number indicates the level of spread within the data. Use this number (SD) with a plus or minus from the average where:
- -68% of the time the job was completed within +/- 1SD
- -95% of the time the job was completed within +/- 2SD
- -99.7% of the time the job was completed within +/- 3SD
A simple example: If the Average for an HVAC job was 10 days, and the SD was 2 days, then 95% of the time the job was completed between 6 and 14 days.
The report provides multiple levels of drill down. As an example, below we’ve clicked the + in front of HVAC to show its sub-categories:
Now, if we click on the Action row on any HVAC sub-categories, we can select the chart below.
Clicking on any of the bars within the bar chart will produce a grid showing the underlying data with the SR’s sorted in descending sequence of elapsed days. The intent here is to give you a quick reference to the outliers that hurt your overall performance within the selected category (i.e. what HVAC – Mechanical issue took us 483 days to complete?). The drill down can take you all the way to the individual service request that took the longest to complete.
To help visualize the numbers, you can click in the action column to the left of any row and select the Chart option. Please note that the level of indentation where you click on Action affects the chart that is presented. Here is an example of a chart done at the top level of Request Category.
It’s important to note that the higher the count (number of occurrences), then the higher the reliability of the probabilities.
Please note that this is a simplified explanation of standard deviation which assumes a “normal distribution” of the data. We’ll defer a more in-depth discussion of this topic to a future blog article with some guest contributors to elaborate.
This report is for analyzing where money is spent. Like the Service Level Analysis Report, it has summarize options and numerous filter options. This helps managers analyze where and how money was spent.
This is a powerful report that allows financial pivot summaries across multiple dimensions. You have to experiment with this report to appreciate the power. Let’s start with some of the questions this report can answer for you:
- How much has been spent on maintenance on building A over the past _________(month, quarter, year(s))?
- How much has been spent on maintenance on the second floor of building A over the past ______?
- How much has been spent on the roof of building A over the past _________?
- How much has been spent on Rooftop Unit 1, on building A over the past ______?
- How much has been spent on all Rooftop Units on building A over the past ______?
- What exactly did we do to Rooftop Unit 3 this year that cost $12,000?
- What was our total spend on fixed assets across all buildings, all locations, over the past _____?
From the above, you can see the patterns. You can filter and/or summarize Transactions based on:
- Date Range
- Transaction Categories
- Individual Categories
- Item Numbers
- Jobs (Parent Activities)
You can also drill down from summary level to supporting details, to the original source transaction (Service Request, Action List, Purchases)
Time is money. When staff members work on jobs, they are spending money. For the Transaction Analysis report to be meaningful, and the OPEX (Operating Expenditures) costs on Things to be meaningful, workers need to log their time. We strongly recommend that managers view the Labor Time report weekly to ensure that staff members are logging their time on jobs.
By default, this report plugs the date range to the last week ending on the previous Saturday. You can override this date range filter by selecting any from and to date range. The report lists one row for each staff member who recorded time during the selected date range. The hours worked for that employee are multiplied times the labor rate stored in the User profile. In addition to Date Range, the report has other filter options as displayed below.
Things Cost Summary
This report has multiple “summarize by” options, and allows you to drill down to the details of individual Things. It includes All cost factors:
- Acquisition Cost
- Salvage Value
- Fair Market Value
- Replacement Cost
- Replacement Year (target replacement year)
- Useful Life (estimated useful life in months)
- LTD (Life to Date) Depreciation
- Book Value
- OPEX – operating expenditures, which is essentially life to date maintenance costs
This report is for Capital Budgeting Planning. When you meet with your CFO, having this report handy for the meeting can help you justify replacing assets that are costing more to maintain than they are worth.
The report is summarized by the top level of the Places hierarchy and allows drilling down the hierarchy all the way to the individual Things.
The report allows for selection of a range of future target replacement years, and provides filter options including:
- Thing Type
Want to know what warranties are expiring next month? Go to this report, select the Date Range filter, and select next month.
QR Code Labels
This is not really a report, but you use this option to print QR Code Labels for a selection of Places or Things.
Note: You need a QR Code Label printer for this. Contact [email protected] for currently supported printer brands and models.
In the black menu bar, in the top right hand corner of every page, is a gear icon. If you are an Owner or Administrator, clicking this gear will take you to the Settings menu. Only Owners and Administrators have access to the full menu. Non-administrators will see the gear, but when they click it they will be taken to their Personal Settings
Action Lists are for Checklists that can be used for Preventive Maintenance tasks or Inspections. Action Lists are like templates defined by an eSSETS Administrator for recurring jobs. An Action List is a collection of Action Items. There are two menu options on the settings drop down for Action Lists. The first one is Action List Setup, which defines the items (rows) that are on the checklist, and Action List Scheduler that defines the recurrence rules for when Action Lists are generated to ToDoQ.
Action List Setup.
You can set up your own Action Lists from scratch, or to save time and wear and tear on your keyboard, browse the library of templates, find something close, and then modify it to fit your needs
Action List Scheduler
Where the Action List defines the checklist template, the Scheduler defines the rules for triggering a job to ToDoQ. These triggering rules use time ranges and/or usage attributes.
This page defines some options for customizing the application for your use, including:
- Your Organizations’s Name
- Your Logo
- Various options (which will change from time to time with new software releases)
- Contractor Instructions that are included in email notifications to contractor job assignments.
This option is for adding new users, or changing the permissions of existing users. Below is an example of Account Users page when the menu option is clicked:
There are three basic types of users:
- Owner – can add or change any other type of user
- Administrator – can add or change other Administrators or Members (but not Owners)
- Member – cannot add or change other users; they will not have access to the Settings menu to get to Account Users. Also, cannot edit Places, Things, Organizations or People.
After clicking the Add User button, you will be taken to a new page where you can fill in the user’s name and email address. After clicking Save on the screen, the page expands, as shown allowing you to optionally identify to whom this user reports (manager).
Control User Permissions
You can also limit the scope of access this user has using the Places hierarchy and/or Thing Types. For example, if you have a location (branch) manager, you may wish to eliminate the noise of all other locations so they only see stuff related to their own branch. If you have a district manager over several branches, you can limit their access to the branches in their district.
You do this by clicking the + in front of Places to expand the list.
The other changes you can make on the page below are to enter a presumed hourly labor rate for the person. This is used for job costing. Most accounts will choose to use an average fully burdened labor rate (ask your accounting department about this) instead of the actual pay rate for the person.
The screenshot below illustrates how you can expand the Places section under Access Rights to limit a user’s access. In this example, Ed will not see Complex B, PS Riverside, or PS Irvine because the checkbox in front of those Places names have been removed.
CSV Data Import & Update
CSV are comma delimited files that can be created by Excel or other tools for bulk uploading of data into eSSETS. We recommend contacting [email protected] for assistance in using this functionality. Once you’ve done a few, it’s pretty straightforward, but the first ones can be a bit frustrating.
Work Categories are used for classifying the different types of work performed on work orders (Service Requests). There are categories and subcategories which are used in management reporting, such as for the Service Level Analysis Report. Requesters and dispatchers will see the subcategories to select from in drop down lists. We recommend keeping the list as short as you can, but still provide for meaningful classifications.
This setup option allows administrators to create or change the instructions to users when they login, and to select the logo that appears at the top of the SmartQ forms.
This setup option allows administrators to create or change the instructions to users when they click on the WebQ URL, and to select the logo that appears at the top of the WebQ request form..
Other Drop Down Lists
While the options on this page may change with new versions of eSSETS, at the time of this writing it includes:
- Hold Reason – as in a list of reasons that a Service Request or Action List might be put on hold.
- Transfer & Reservations – identifies the types of People or Organizations that might possess or reserve a Place or Thing.
Transaction Categories are similar to general ledger accounts in accounting systems: they are used to classify transactions for reporting and analysis. It is important to note that some Transaction Categories are automatically assigned by Service Requests (SR) and Action Lists (AL). Currently, these are:
- Parts Expense – automatically used when Items are charged on SR’s and AL’s
- Labor Expense – automatically used when labor time is recorded on SR’s and AL’s
Also, Transaction Categories with a Type of “Fixed Assets” determine if the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) for the Thing will be updated when a Transaction is entered. In other words, you can have multiple Transaction Categories with a Type of Fixed Assets. Some examples might include Building Equipment, IT Assets, and Furniture & Fixtures.