Deadline Tracker

The Deadline Tracker feature lets you manage your progress toward meeting your delivery deadlines. By using deadlines and Service Level Agreement (SLA) job checkpoints, you can make sure that your print jobs are on schedule to be completed on time. You can see when jobs are behind schedule or might miss their deadlines. This information helps operators prioritize work and take actions to bring jobs back on track for on-time delivery.

The feature has these major parts:

  • Three system objects
  • A step template

With this feature, you can track jobs to a deadline, to a schedule, to both a schedule and a deadline, or to a checkpoint. You can track jobs based on completion of a phase in the workflow or a step in a phase. You can also be notified when work does not arrive in the Ricoh ProcessDirector system as expected.

The feature adds the Schedule risk column to the right of the column of check boxes in the Jobs table. The column heading is blank. You can see the name of the column by hovering over the heading area. When a job is behind schedule or might miss its deadline, a colored dot appears in the Schedule risk column. To sort jobs by schedule risk, with jobs that have the most risk at the top of the column, you can click the column heading.

The Jobs table sorted by schedule risk

System Objects

This feature adds these system objects:

  • Service policies: Service policies define job checkpoints at the end of each processing phase. For example, a service policy defines job checkpoints for jobs that need to be printed 4 hours after they arrive in the system. The administrator creates one service policy for each performance commitment and associates each service policy with the appropriate workflows.
  • No-service periods: No-service periods define the periods of time when no services are provided (for example, holidays and weekends). The administrator creates no-service periods and indicates in each service policy whether the no-service periods apply to that policy.
  • Expected work: Expected work objects define print jobs that you expect to receive at set intervals.

Step Template

This feature adds the SetDeadline step template to the list of supplied step templates. When you add the step template to a workflow, you specify a Deadline step and set a deadline date and time. Each job in the workflow must complete the step by the specified date and time to meet its deadline. If a job misses its deadline, a red dot appears in the Schedule risk column for the job in the Jobs table.

This feature adds the SetDeadline step template to the list of supplied step templates. When you add the step template to a workflow, you specify a Deadline step and set a deadline date and time. Each job in the workflow must complete the step by the specified date and time to meet its deadline. If a job misses its deadline, the row for the job in the Jobs table is colored red.

Tracking to a deadline

You can set job deadlines so you can see whether a job meets or misses its deadline.

When you set a deadline for completing a step in a workflow, the Deadline tab on the job properties notebook shows you values for the Deadline, Deadline step, and Deadline outcome properties. You can add these properties as columns on the Jobs table to make deadline information available to your operators.

You can set up an email notification that watches for the Deadline outcome property for a job to change to Missed and sends an email to one or more users to alert them of the missed deadline.

Tracking to a schedule

You can set estimated durations for steps in a workflow so you can track the progress of jobs as they move through the system and see when jobs are behind schedule.

This feature adds the Set estimated durations action to the Workflow Editor portlet. Using this action, you can quickly set the estimated duration for all the steps in a workflow.

When you set estimated durations for the steps in a workflow, the Deadline tab on the job properties notebook shows you values for these properties:

  • Percent complete: how much of the estimated duration for the job has completed.
  • Tracking status: whether the job is on schedule or behind schedule.
  • Predicted completion time: a date and time computed by adding up the estimated durations of all steps in the predicted path of the job through the workflow.

You can add these properties as columns on the Jobs table to make information about whether a job is on schedule or behind schedule available to your operators. If a job is behind schedule, a yellow dot appears in the Schedule risk column for the job in the Jobs table.

You can add these properties as columns on the Jobs table to make information about whether a job is on schedule or behind schedule available to your operators. If a job is behind schedule, the row for the job in the Jobs table is colored yellow.

For a job in a conditional workflow, Ricoh ProcessDirector uses only the estimated durations for the steps on the branch of the workflow that the job is likely to follow.

You can set up an email notification that watches for the Tracking status property for a job to change to Behind schedule and sends an email to one or more users to alert them that a job is in danger of missing its schedule.

Tracking to a schedule and a deadline

You can set job deadlines and estimated durations so you can track the progress of jobs as they move through the system and you can see when a job has missed, or is in danger of missing, its deadline.

When you set both a deadline for completing a step and estimated durations for the steps in a workflow, the Deadline tab on the job properties notebook shows you values for all the properties for tracking to a deadline and tracking to a schedule. The notebook also shows you a value for an additional property: Predicted outcome. The three predicted outcomes are OK, May miss, and Cannot determine.

Ricoh ProcessDirector calculates the predicted outcome for a job by using the estimated durations, the current date and time, and the deadline for the job. When a predicted outcome is May miss, an orange dot appears in the Schedule risk column for the job in the Jobs table. After the deadline step runs and the deadline outcome is set, Ricoh ProcessDirector does not change the predicted outcome.

Ricoh ProcessDirector calculates the predicted outcome for a job by using the estimated durations, the current date and time, and the deadline for the job. When a predicted outcome is May miss, the row for the job in the Jobs table is colored orange. After the deadline step runs and the deadline outcome is set, Ricoh ProcessDirector does not change the predicted outcome.

You can set up an email notification that watches for the Predicted outcome property for a job to change to May miss and sends an email to one or more users to alert them that a job is in danger of missing its deadline.

Tracking to checkpoints

You can set job checkpoints to track the progress of jobs as they move through the phases in a workflow. Instead of setting estimated durations for each step, you set an amount of time for each phase to complete. If the phase does not complete in the allocated time, the job is late. A yellow dot appears in the Schedule risk column for the job in the Jobs table. However, if the job moves through the next phase more rapidly than expected and finishes before the next checkpoint, the checkpoint status of the job changes from Late to OK. The yellow dot is removed.

You can set job checkpoints to track the progress of jobs as they move through the phases in a workflow. Instead of setting estimated durations for each step, you set an amount of time for each phase to complete. If the phase does not complete in the allocated time, the job is late and the row turns yellow on the Jobs table. However, if the job moves through the next phase more rapidly than expected and finishes before the next checkpoint, the checkpoint status of the job changes from Late to OK and the row returns to its usual color.

Monitoring for expected jobs

You can configure Ricoh ProcessDirector to let you know if the scheduled number of jobs do not arrive in an input device by the time that you expected them. If some of the expected work does not arrive in an input device, an alert (Alert icon) icon appears to the right of the input device. The operator can then respond by tracking down the missing jobs.

You can configure Ricoh ProcessDirector to let you know if the scheduled number of jobs do not arrive in an input device by the time that you expected them. If some of the expected work does not arrive in an input device, the icon for the input device in the Input devices portlet on the Main page turns red. The operator can then respond by tracking down the missing jobs.

 
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