Controls For The Service Department-restorator

ERP, Accounting, CRM Systems and Spreadsheets Provide Inadequate Controls for Tracking Service Transactions In the highly reactive world of field service, accounting, ERP, CRM systems and spreadsheets provide inadequate controls for tracking service transactions and improving performance Production and financial management are inextricably linked in any business, and whether their core business focuses on manufacturing, distribution, contracting, and telecommunications or services, businesses typically recognize the need to address management of accounting and common operational functions within a single integrated system wherever possible. These are most commonly ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems which manage financials and related rule-intensive operations functions such as purchasing, payroll, human resources and inventory. FIELD SERVICE IS DIFFERENT Service operations, encompassing both field service and depot repair, however, are not rule-based in the same way as the highly structured world of accounting. Rather, service departments are frenetic centers of activity which is often reactionary and always time-sensitive. In addition to pre-planned preventive maintenance work orders, service departments are in constant receipt of emergency or near emergency break / fix calls requiring instant action; most commonly quotes, work order creation and technician dispatch. Regardless of the specifics, service departments attempting to account for their work are often forced to do so with more duplicate effort and less capable tools than their co-workers in other departments. FIELD SERVICE AS A COMPANY WITHIN THE COMPANY Those companies that have in the past viewed and managed the service department as a necessary overhead function have begun to take a more strategic approach. In order to fight the commoditization of their products, businesses have begun to treat the customer experience, and thus the service department, as a means of competitive differentiation. With an emphasis on forging customer loyalty and long term customer relationships, many service organizations now recognize the service department as a company within the company, extending the leadership and decision-making autonomy necessary to operate as a profit center and set themselves apart with exceptional service delivery. No longer only reactionary, the service department is now tasked with becoming a critical driver of new revenue and curator of existing customer accounts. That means taking on many new roles and responsibilities, including sales, estimating and even public relations. Some of the ways companies are planning to improve service delivery in 2012 include new service and services development, field service department career development programs and training, individualized customer relationships (such as extended warranties, customer-specific pricing or free installation) and service technology upgrades. FIELD SERVICE CAN BECOME A PROFIT CENTER IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE COST The new managerial perspective on services contribution to the bottom line places a higher importance on closely tracking and intimately understanding service costs. Answers must be found to a series of new service management questions, such as: Warranties – What do warranties cost? Do todays warranty tracking procedures capture enough information? When does the warranty start? Contracts – Are our service contracts profitable? How do I price service and maintenance contracts? How do I track scheduled maintenance? Products – What products hold up best? What changes are needed to our line? Human Resources – Who are our best performing technicians, and why? How can I schedule and dispatch more effectively? How can I increase my technicians billable utilization? Depot Repair / RMAs How should we track cross shipments? Do I repair my customers equipment, or replace with a reconditioned unit? When I replace, what happens with the warranty? PROPERLY ACCOUNTING FOR FIELD SERVICE ACTIVITY IS A UNIQUE CHALLENGE Executive management may have a clear picture of what they want from the service department, but operations personnel know very well that obtaining a clear picture of costs in such a dynamic department is easier said than done. For managers tasked with transforming service operations from an overhead department to a profit center, identifying and promoting department-wide key performance indicators (KPIs) is a necessary first step. Industry standard field service KPIs for 2012 include service margin, customer retention, year over year change in service revenue and year over year change in service cost, to name a few. Armed with this performance measurement baseline, service managers can turn their attention to the procedures in place to track field service activity. The service business management issues encountered every day in busy service departments are numerous, and in most cases, cannot adequately be addressed with ERP, CRM, accounting systems or disconnected spreadsheets: Is an annual contract todays sale? Do I receive returned goods to inventory? Is this repair Chargeable? How do I track Van inventory? Do I invoice for cross shipments? How do I handle a partially scrapped item? FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE = ACCOUNTING FOR THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT Field service departments are becoming smarter about their businesses, and smart service businesses are realizing that administrative automation is a necessity. Best in class service organizations are planning to invest in upgrades to field service technology in 2012 in the areas of field service management (50%), service call center (44%), service contract / warranty management (36%), asset management, billing and accounting management (31%). Scores of field service industry research reports prove the real and lasting business benefits of a capable, properly-implemented field service automation system. These include higher technician utilization rates, higher first time fix rates, better management visibility of field activity, and better competitive differentiation. A thorough and organized software selection and implementation process can help you realize these benefits for your service organization as well. Mike Pandl is Vice President of Marketing for MSI Data ( .msidata.. ). 相关的主题文章: