Setting deadlines for jobs

You can set a deadline for each job that enters a workflow. To create a deadline, you add a step based on the SetDeadline step template to a workflow, specify a deadline date and time (or an offset from another date and time), and select the step that the job must complete to meet the deadline.

Setting a deadline for a job is different from setting an SLA target step. If the SLA target step does not complete in the specified time, the SLA outcome is changed to Missed and cannot be reset for the job. Deadlines are used to track the progress of a job and report outcomes. If you want to monitor progress at different point in a workflow, you can set multiple deadlines for the same job. The Deadline outcome reflects the result of the most recent deadline and is reset whenever a new deadline is set. For example, you set a deadline of 3:00 to finish the print step and 5:00 to finish an insertion step. At some point, a job misses the print deadline by 5 minutes, but it still meets the insertion deadline. The final value of the Deadline outcome property is Met even though a previous deadline (for print) was missed.

If you choose to set both an SLA target step and a deadline set by a SetDeadline step in the same workflow, we recommend that you select the same step for the SLA target step and the last Deadline step. With that configuration, you can track to the deadline step to give operators time to recover if the job falls behind, but also record the final SLA outcome for the job.

You must decide how many SetDeadline steps you need and where to place them in your workflow. A workflow can have multiple deadlines, but only one deadline is active for a job at any time as the job moves through the workflow.

No-service periods are not included when calculating predicted completion times but they are used when setting SLA outcome.

  • The Change Deadline action lets you set or change a deadline for a job, even if the workflow does not include a SetDeadline step.

To set a deadline for each job that enters a workflow:
  1. Click the Workflow tab.
  2. Click the name of the workflow.
  3. Optional: Disable the workflow by clicking the switch to the left of the workflow name.
    If you do not disable the workflow while you edit it, jobs that use this workflow continue to move through steps. When you save, the workflow is momentarily disabled then enabled again. Jobs that are processing in the workflow could move into error.
  4. In the workflow editor, click Step Templates in the top right corner of the window.
  5. Select the SetDeadline step template and drag it into the workflow editor. Place the step where you want it.
    Keep these considerations in mind:
    • If you want to set a deadline as soon as a job enters the workflow, place the step near the beginning of the workflow, for example, after the DetectInputDataStream step.
    • If you want to set a deadline that starts when a step processes a job, place the SetDeadline step before the step that processes the job. Make the deadline relative to the Current time property.
    • If the workflow processes child jobs and you want them to inherit the deadline from the parent job, make sure that all the child jobs are processed by the SetDeadline step that sets the value of the Inherit deadline from parent job property to Yes.
    • For conditional workflows, you can create connectors with conditional processing rules that compare the Deadline, Deadline step, Deadline outcome, and Predicted outcome properties to specified values. If you want RICOH ProcessDirector to evaluate these conditions for the jobs in the workflow, the jobs must complete a SetDeadline step before they reach the connectors.
  6. Right-click the new SetDeadline step and select Properties.
  7. Click Deadline. Do these steps:
    1. Set the Deadline step property by selecting the step that a job must complete to meet its deadline.
      For example, if the job must be printed by a certain time to meet its deadline, select the PrintJobs step.
    2. Set the Deadline date property, which specifies the settings used to set the date for the deadline.
      If you select Relative to property value, you can select any property that has a timestamp for a value. Specify an offset to the timestamp to set the deadline time. The property that you select should have a timestamp value set when the SetDeadline step runs. Until a timestamp value is set for the property, RICOH ProcessDirector cannot tell you if a job is on schedule to make its deadline.
      • Do not select the Deadline property.
    3. Set the properties that specify the deadline time.
    4. Set the Inherit deadline from parent job property to specify whether a child job inherits a deadline from its parent job.
    5. If a workflow has two or more SetDeadline steps, set the Override existing deadline property.
      If you set this property to Yes, the deadline set by this step overrides an existing deadline set by another SetDeadline step. If you set the property to No, the workflow does not set this deadline if another deadline is active.
      • Setting this property to No is useful in a conditional workflow when steps from one branch arrive at the SetDeadline step with a deadline already set and steps from another branch arrive at the SetDeadline step without a deadline.
    6. When you finish, click OK.
  8. Repeat these steps for each SetDeadline step that you place in the workflow.
  9. Save and enable the workflow.