Most Australian SME Technical Service businesses face the same challenges, challenges that reduce their capacity to service their customers properly whilst remaining profitable.
Instead of focusing on growth and profitability, most SME Technical Service businesses spend their time putting out spot fires a good ERP system would stop occurring in the first instance.
Most Technical Service business managers days are frustrated by a lack of visibility around resource availability, job completion, spare parts visibility, purchase order requirements and liabilities, return authorization management, warranties & maintenance contracts, client confirmation of work and time billing. It doesn’t take much for a single one of these issues to consume an entire day and to blow out a job budget. The lack of visibility over a job, technicians and parts can result in the loss of an entire account.
You need a system that allows you to track where your people are at any one time, as well as knowing who has the requisite skills to undertake the required work. You also need a system that allows you to maximise client-facing time, while reducing travel between jobs. You need a system that doesn’t require technicians to go to your office just to complete administrative tasks
Every client’s needs are different. This even extends to their preference for service people. You need a system, which allows you to track client preferences for particular staff and adequately match mobile van stock spare parts for a job, route or most likely demand based on historical data. This demand can be based on equipment service history or model statistics. Control over these service elements can lead to streamlined service delivery, fewer client visits for the one call out, lower service costs and improved profitability of the service division.
Return Authorisation Management
The right Technical Services software solution for your business will provide you with equipment knowledge, including serial number (at an equipment and or part level) as well as up to date warranties and maintenance contract information. This can eliminate or reduce unnecessary work and increase labor and parts recovery through more accurate billing. A back to back customer – manufacturer RMA process can avoid returns gathering dust in your warehouse at your expense. Good service manager software deals with repairs, returns to stock and seconds stock and multi stock location management.
Warranties & Maintenance Contracts
Whether you sell equipment and then provide installation, and or warranty periods or your business is specifically limited to the provision of services on other companies equipment, leading service management systems will provide your business with the ability to meet your contractual obligations through the provision of SLA triggers and alerts, and scheduled services based on usage (KM’s, units of production or time etc…) and to know where specific serialized equipment is located. Pricing of services, consumables and parts will be tightly linked to the customer and any warranty contracts in place globally or specific to site or equipment.
Client confirmation of work
You want your people to remain in the field, where they are servicing clients and accumulating billable hours. You don’t want them back in the office completing paperwork, especially when such tasks can be completed on a tablet or smart phone. You need a solution that reduces and streamlines this workflow, as well as facilitates client sign off at the time the work is done. Ideally your clients may create their own service requests on line 24/7.
Billing and time sheet management can be quite laborious without the tools to automate data entry; approval and data flows through to the ERP debtors system and payroll. In many cases the same set of data is handled several times to manage payroll, accounts and equipment card records. You need a system, which reduces duplication, reduces errors and allows these tasks to be completed seamlessly in the field. Easy to initiate time clock start and end times on mobile devices against a job can provide much greater accountability and accuracy for billing or contract profitability purposes (Cost of servicing an account).
As a manager of a technical services business, you need fast and an up to date ‘top down’ view of your business at all times. You need Business Intelligence on matters such as the cost to service clients, equipment model servicing costs, and labor productivity and supplier performance. An awareness of these matters allows you to make informed decisions that drive business profitability and growth.
For Australian SME Technical Services businesses there is one solution, which addresses all of these challenges. The solution is Sage 300 with Technisoft Service Manager. Sage 300 (formerly Sage ACCPAC) is one of the worlds best SME ERP solutions. When combined with the ‘best of breed’ Technisoft Service Management product it forms the basis of a strong vertical market offering to small to medium sized enterprises.
When the system also includes Sage CRM and optionally preventative maintenance, employee portal, customer portal and advanced scheduling, businesses have a comprehensive end-to-end ERP system, with market leading service management capabilities to rival the larger mid-market systems.
Technisoft Service Manager
The Technisoft Service Manager product for Sage 300 empowers field staff by providing web access to equipment history, customer account details, stock information and travel directions. The CRM application rounds out the Sage 300 solution by adding deeper geographic, demographic and psycho-graphic data capture to help deliver targeted service and support.
Technisoft provides system users a wealth of information regarding manufacturer and supplier, model and employee performance metrics and assists field staff deliver services based on predefined checklists and technical data sheet information. Technisoft also provides system users with a solution knowledge base.
In addition, Technisoft Service Manager enables tracking of projects, movement of equipment, as equipment is tied to a site, which in turn is linked to a customer. As a best of breed system Technisoft service manager with Sage 300 will satisfy the most demanding service manager whilst supplying owners and finance managers with the accounting and finance functionality they need to manage cash flow, payroll, tax compliance and reporting.