Service slots

When providing any service (Delivery or Provided) an appointment with the customer is required. The appointment is made for the time slot when the service is to be provided.

A capacity organization within Sterling Order Management System Software can define multiple Slot Groups, each containing multiple Service Slots.

Service slot

A service slot is identified by a start time and an end time. Service promises are made against one of the defined slots.

Slot group

A Slot Group is identified by a Slot Group ID and is a specified set of service slots. You can associate one slot group to a resource pool.

The ability to define multiple slots and slot groups enables you to take appointments of different granularity for different resource pools. For example, for a resource pool providing delivery service, you can only promise 4-hour time intervals, however you may be able to promise 2-hour time intervals for a resource pool being used for some provided service. Also, sometimes the granularity could differ based on the service provider being used to provide the service.

To illustrate this concept, assume that you provide the following two types of delivery services:

  • Curb-side delivery
  • White-glove delivery

For curb-side deliveries, you use a third-party delivery service provider who can only make promises to deliver within 4-hour time slots, where as for white-glove deliveries you use your own fleet and can make promises to deliver within 2-hour time slots.

For this example, you would define 2 slot groups, each containing the service slots listed in the following two tables.

Table 1. Curb side delivery slot group
Start time End time Slot name
8:00 Am 12:00 PM AM
1:00 PM 5:00 PM PM
5:00 PM 9:00 PM Late Evening
Table 2. White glove slot group
Start time End time Slot name
8:00 Am 10:00 PM Early AM
10:00 Am 12:00 PM Late AM
1:00 PM 3:00 PM Early PM
3:00 PM 5:00 PM Late PM

You would associate the Curb Side Delivery Slot Group (described in the first table) with the resource pool providing third-party deliveries and the White Glove Slot Group (described in the second table) with the resource pool providing in-house deliveries.

Hierarchical service slots

The slots within a slot group can be defined in different levels of hierarchy. The hierarchical slot group may comprise parent slots and subsequent child slots. Within a hierarchical slot setup, a parent time slot usually provides the maximum capacity that can be served by all of its child slots. This is to prevent over promising to occur against the actual resources. As illustrated in the following figure, if a FullDay slot is considered as the parent slot, then the Morning Slot and the Afternoon Slot within the FullDay slot are the child slots. The child slot itself can be branched to a number of successive child slots. For example, the morning slot can be divided into AM1 and AM2 and the afternoon slot in PM1 and PM2.

The hierarchical slot model allows more granularity and enables appointments to be taken in smaller time intervals. This aids in providing extended customer service and prevents over promising. The parent slot availability restricts the availability of children slots.

Figure 1. Hierarchical slots

Customer slot preferences

It is possible to define customer appointment slot preference in Sterling Order Management System Software, and associate service time slots with each of them. The associated time slots can either be preferred or mandatory. A customer service representative taking an appointment for a delivery or a service for a customer in the Application Console is able to see which slots are preferred by that customer. If mandatory time slots are used, they are the only ones Sterling Order Management System Software plans an appointment against for that customer.