Service Management in Dynamics 365 Business Central – In and Out of the Box
WD-40 is a household staple. You can use it on everything that squeaks, to remove crayon from walls, keep garden tools and bike chains from rusting, remove bugs from your car, and even loosen screws. But do you think I remember that WD-40 does all that when I can’t turn a screw? Nope, I don’t. WD-40 is like that long-lost tool that’s in the back of the toolbox that can do so much–yet often is forgotten. Service Management in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is somewhat like WD-40. We sometimes forget the ways it can be used or that it’s there (Note that you only have Service Management in your toolkit if you are using a Premium license). The Premium license also provides access to Manufacturing, and the two do go well together.
Let’s talk about what Service Management can do within a service department, and then let’s pull Service Management “out of the box” with other ways it can be used.
A couple of years ago when I purchased my car, I was asked if I would like a service contract. I would get free tire rotation, one free car wash per year, and discounts on oil changes and fluid refills. Let’s say that dealership was using Business Central with Service Management.
When I purchased the car, the order included my car with the VIN number (think serial number for other industries). At that point, the car dealership would see that I’d accepted the service contract, and they would create the service item from the order. This gives them not only my specific car, but also the information about me, the customer. They set up the service contract based on oil changes every three months and fluids to top off, my once-a-year car wash, and tire rotations on request.
All items that would be needed for these services are added to the service order. They also select the resource skills need, such as oil changing technician, fluids technician, tire technician, and auto detailer. They allocate the hours that would be needed for each service, and the order has costs assigned to it. By doing this, they can determine the profit they have achieved in selling the service contract.
Every three months, they send me a notification via email (through workflows, another BC multi-tool) to remind me to bring my car in for service. When I do, they create a service order and attach the service contract to it. They find the resource available (BC does show capacity hours, but there’s a gotcha we’ll talk about later).
The items used for the service are consumed and added to the cost of my contract. I pay what I should from the service order, which includes my discount for the oil change. And let’s say the service man accidentally breaks my dip stick. He can get another and add it to my service contract as a no-charge item to me, but still have the cost allocated to the contract.
With reporting, you can determine the profitability of your service contracts–and the hours of work spent by each resource group. How could this benefit your business? Do you do warranty work? Do you offer tunings for the pianos you sell? It seems like everything I buy these days comes with an extended warranty if I choose to purchase it. Perhaps you’re thinking of starting that type of business but don’t know how to control the costs? Service Management may be the key!
Using Business Central Service Management for Field Service
Field service can be made much easier using Service Management. For example, let’s consider HVAC Unit sales and service. Can warranties be used in the Service Contract? Of course! Can service calls be handle through Service Orders? You bet! Can my field serviceman tell me quickly if he has the part he needs in his service van? With the correct inventory setup, yes you bet he can! Service Management in Business Central can do all those things.
Now, pulling Service Management out of the box and using it creatively, we have some interesting options.
Many manufacturers have moved to having their own fleet for transporting their goods. One of the pain points of owning your own fleet is maintaining it and the inventory you need to keep the truck on the road. You want to have spare tires, brake pads, oil, and all sorts of other stuff on hand to repair anything that goes wrong so you don’t miss a day of delivery.
In this scenario, you can create a separate location–GARAGE, for example–to house the items that keep your trucks on the road. You can create service tickets for your vehicles, which use the items in your garage, and allocate the correct technical skills and time to the job. You can then see how much maintenance is required on each truck and know when it’s time to roll the lemon out of your fleet.
Or let’s say you own a landscaping business. As part of that business, you mow the lawns of some of your customers. The other customers bring their lawn equipment to you for repairs. Every spring, you’re overloaded with requests to do the same things: sharpen the blade, change out the spark plug, and clean the carburetor. My friend, this sounds like a product to me! Your landscaping business can now sell Spring Maintenance plans that allow your customers to get the work required for a discount if they let you schedule when they bring it in. Using the months prior to that first lawn trim of spring, you can level out the workload and not have to bring in extra technicians. Your spring isn’t so busy, and in late winter, when you can’t do much outdoors, you’re still bringing in money.
These are worked as Service Contracts, which are based on the specific item and model. You know what to have on hand and can procure it even before the items are delivered for service. If you play your cards right and have loaners on hand at the time they bring their lawn mowers in, you can be a little more relaxed as to how long it takes you to get their mower back to them and offer a new service for if/when theirs breaks down.
These are just a few of the things Service Management in Business Central can do for you that you might not have thought about.
What BC Service Management Can’t Do
There are some things Service Management cannot do. Notice that I didn’t use the 5,000 miles-per-oil change in my car example, but used 3 months instead? Service Management does not handle metered usage. If you are maintaining a product based on the hours used, miles travelled, or some other specific measurement, you may need to investigate other products. ArcherPoint offers another product for Equipment Rental that does accommodate metered usage.
Service Management does not allow you to spread the costs and profit using specific GL Accounts for each order or by Dimensions. If you are servicing different lines of equipment and want to report by each type (i.e., forklift, bulldozer, tractor, etc.), you might need to look at another product. The Equipment Rental solution mentioned will do that as well.
I hope this has your wheels turning as to how you can use Service Management to make your day easier, or possibly sell a service product. Contact ArcherPoint for more information on service management in Dynamics 365 Business Central.