Lately here at MIBAR.net we have been coming across new Acumatica clients whom not only deal in the common distribution practice of buying and selling merchandise, as well as manufacturing products for sale, but also have teams of employees/technicians out in the field, servicing many of the products the company sells or produces.
While most of these companies have gone about processing this type of “service-type” work through work-arounds in the sales order, as well as inventory modules (inter-company billings at zero charges, inventory adjustments, etc..). Some of our clients have taken advantage of the very slick, easy to use Field Services module in Acumatica.
Although the module has some great ADVANCED functionality, like the ones I have highlighted below, its really the simple things about the program which I appreciate the most and feel holds the “real” value for a business that services their sold products/customers in the field.
First off, it’s the business of INVENTORY, and accountability of the field technicians of our clients for said inventory. Meaning by simply setting up each of our technicians in the field as Acumatica warehouses, when we transfer items to be used at customer locations to the technician’s site, we should have a fairly accurate accounting at the end of each period as to what our employees state is on said trucks, and what the system believes ON HAND stock should be. In other words, inventory should have increased from our transfer from MAIN SITE to the truck, and then eventually decrease from the usage and invoicing of the customer, which will be seen in the next steps covered.
One of the other facets I appreciate about the Services module is the granularity of the “service order types”, much like in the Acumatica Sales Order module, where we can control certain behaviors related to the BILLING of your clients dependent upon which Service Order Type is chosen by either the Field Tech or Field Services Manager making the appointment with a customer, as seen below.
And then finally the effortless way in which our Service module integrates with both the Sales Order, as well as Time & Expense modules in the system, as our field technicians do their work out on client site, either utilizing the UI in Acumatica, or the Acumatica mobile app on their phones (to be covered at a later time…but reads and writes directly into our SQL database in the cloud).
For example, home office gets a call from a customer, needing a repair for their A/C unit.
- A service order is created by the Service Manager as per below, assigning our field tech Peter to do said work on the Service Tab of our work order, where estimated hours and per unit charges default based on set-up.
- From said service order, an appointment can be made, where the tech not only logs their ACTUAL hours for said job, but also can pull “stock” from their truck, accounting for it from their own specific Acumatica warehouse, as per below (will be able to do both of these tasks on phone if using the mobile app).
- At that point, appointment can be closed, and customer can be billed, which brings about the seamless feature we discussed earlier. The Service Modules auto-integration with the Sales Order/AR module, as per below.
- Then lastly, as your company technicians add their labor to respective appointments assigned to them during the course of the week, we also can view the modules integration into Acumatica’s Time & Expense module. Where our techs time entered on the appointment we displayed earlier can be seen below, and can then go through any Time Card processing approval flow if your company implements such a process.
So that about covers it. Although there are plenty of more advanced features in the Acumatica Field Services module, ones which would allow managers to assign jobs by skill sets, view all technician calendars and move appointments to their schedules through a “drag & drop” routine, having customers sign off on service appointments through the use of the phone app…capturing said data on the appt itself in system as a note, etc….what I think might work best for most of your clients out there would be the simple task of assigning responsibility for stock to technicians out in the field, have them record their time spent, as well as inventory used, on customer appointments, and then finally have the record in our Service Module easily transfer into our sales order module, where customers will be billed for the techs services & parts, as well as inventory relief taking place.