What’s new in Dynamics 365 for service industries
- Posted on October 27, 2017
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Before becoming a consultant, I served my time in the Asset Management, Service and Maintenance industries. I am talking about crawl-under-the-car and climb-on-top-of-a-dozer trying to figure out how to get them back up and running. In this industry, having the right Information at your fingertips is as important as knowing which way to turn the spanner. Information cannot be stored in a red toolbox, or carried on a greasy tray, so you will need a good business system, literally at your fingertips, to support you.
Microsoft Dynamics has been one of the players in this industry for a while, albeit through extensions of the base product by Microsoft Partners (ISVs). However, businesses that lead a simple operation in this domain did not favour the rich functionality and the price tag that comes with this option. This is not the case anymore since Dynamics 365 comes with a few nice additional features that can fulfill the desired requirements out of the box.
Field service is always a big-ticket item on the ERP shopping list. Microsoft has revealed this very slick module earlier last year that links customer calls to service agreements and service orders. The module empowers the service industry with both resource-based and location-based scheduling and dispatching on a mobile platform accessible from anywhere. Besides integrating with Sales and Inventory, it also links up to customer communication through Twilio and Glympse APIs. This way you can send text messages to the client or photo updates when the technician is en-route.
The other great capability is predictive services, which uses Microsoft Azure IoT hub to provide live monitoring and automate event-based service order creation. Watch the Michelin video case study below where Field Service is putting them at the forefront of market expectations.
This "light" version of field service is available immediately through Dynamics 365 for Field Service. There is an update later this year for businesses that want to utilise the power of fully-blown Supply Chain and Financials. A common data entity integration between Field Service and traditional Dynamics Service Management will become available, integrating Dynamics 365 for Field Service with Dynamics 365 for Operations.
Rental Fleet Management
If you own Assets and Equipment, chances are you will be in the business of leasing them, or renting them out. Your ERP should be capable of coping with you extending your business model into fleet management and rental; and Dynamics 365 does.
Despite the new module appearing to cater for the car rental industry, it can be adapted to other types of leased assets. Defining hire rates, discounts and fleet parameters is all the setup needed to be able to enjoy the reservation management functionality and the data analytics that come with it. See the detailed steps for using demo data.
Who needs to stock all the expensive spares? Any business that cannot afford machine down-time while the parts are in transit, albeit at the vendor's cost until inventory is actually used. This is why consignment stock is so important, and Dynamics 365 has incorporated that into its inventory tracking. There is a new setup for inventory owners, which can be a customer or a vendor. This feature changes the financial posting of receipted inventory into different balance sheet accounts.
Read Part II on how new and existing features of Dynamics 365 can be deployed to the industries’ solution to take it to a new level.