Inventory management with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service: A real growth opportunity

March 13 2019

As the economy grows, service contractors in the HVAC, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing industries are experiencing rapid growth in their businesses. As a result, what was previously working in terms of operations and processes often becomes unmanageable with the increasing scope of activities. Specifically, when contractors have five or more service trucks in the field maintaining inventory, handling appointments, dispatching jobs to field technicians, ordering materials, and completing service jobs becomes overwhelming with the old pen and paper methods.

Small service contractors are sometimes reluctant to slow down and fix inefficiencies because the impacts are limited. But as businesses grow, the negative effects multiply and the ability to meet customer demand is reduced. To scale, service contractors must use technology to automate processes in ways that allow them to continue to serve customers well. 

There are many moving parts in the service industry where technology can play a large role in alleviating pain points. Technicians moving from one job to another need to know that they have the parts to complete the job the first time, how much the job will cost, collect payments, and know what job is next on their list. If these tasks and operations aren’t accurately tracked and managed in real time, it will lead to a high probability of errors and inefficiencies that negatively affects the field technician’s productivity and impacts the company’s profitability.

Of all the critical field-service tasks, proper inventory management is essential to ensure both quality customer service and sustainable business growth and profitability—and Dynamics 365 for Field Service offers a great solution.

Integrating inventory management with D365 for Field Service

When service contractors deploy mobile inventory management, they gain visibility across all parts of their organization and a new understanding of their cost structure. With analytics, they can develop an overall company inventory plan that ensures each service truck and stocking location maintains optimal levels of inventory. With auto replenishment, manual processes are reduced, which eliminates tedious paperwork and phone calls, freeing technicians to quote jobs more accurately and complete them on the first trip.

Manual methods of tracking inventory create excess paperwork for technicians. Mobile inventory management, in conjunction with field service software like Dynamics 365 for Field Service, empowers technicians to focus on completing jobs without worrying about having the right available parts to do so. Many cloud-based mobile inventory solutions can also integrate with financial software (like QuickBooks Online or Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations) to help integrate purchase requisitions with customer orders, materials receiving, vendor invoice processing, provide data for fiduciary reporting and more. These capabilities lead to more efficient bookkeeping and accounting processes.

Inventory management and cost savings

Mobile inventory management helps reduce inventory costs by allowing the software to recommend the best time to order and replenish relevant items. By setting predetermined rules, inventory can be batched and ordered automatically. This reduces both the overall cost of inventory and the time spent generating purchase or procurement orders.

Mobile inventory management technology can also reduce costs by tracking and reporting consumption in the field. These analytics help service contractors better understand their materials consumption trends and enable them to help the business run more efficiently.

Data also helps business owners price services appropriately, understand their margins more clearly, and find savings through eliminating stock wastage and unnecessary purchases. When you know how materials are being used and how individual trucks are consuming material in the field, companies are also better positioned to make cost-saving decisions.

Inventory management and growth

With better inventory management, service contractors are in the driver's seat. In other words, service contractors will have the data they need to run a more profitable business. Business owners will no longer need to guess. How many more jobs could you complete each day if all your trucks were stocked efficiently? How much time could you save by reducing the number of expensive last-minute purchase trips to a supply store to get the right part?  

Service contractors looking to capitalize on the booming economy need to integrate inventory management with field service. Using both provides a full picture of business sales and operations. And by ensuring that the right material items are stocked in the right places, and eliminating the holding of the wrong items, business owners will have taken back control of their inventory and realized associated cost savings.

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About Allan Lee

Allan Lee is the Director, Strategic Partnerships & Channel, responsible for growing MarginPoint business through alliances with Software Vendors (ISVs) and Reseller Partners. He has 20+ years of experience in the Software and Cloud Services industry, having served in various leadership roles in Business Development, Strategy and Software Development at major technology companies: Microsoft, Cisco, Ingram Micro Cloud. Prior to joining MarginPoint, Allan was Global Director at Ingram Micro Cloud, responsible for building commercial partnerships and technical alliances with ISVs to deliver Cloud Services Product offerings to market through Ingram Micro Channel partners to their Enterprise and SMC end customers.

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