Anyone who sells a product to another company does not have much in the way of control over how that product is used, beyond using warranty contracts. Sometimes those warranty contracts need to be honored in spite of how products are used. 

For example, a car manufacturer may sell cars to a company who then rents those cars out to tourists more interested in the next vista than the next pothole or gear-change. Nonetheless the car maker does have obligations to its buyer in terms of warranty on the car.

When that happens, it becomes more complicated regarding what is billed and what is not. 

Now consider a company making franking machines that it sells to another firm who then lets 3rd party users keep those machines at their premises under a lease agreement. In those cases, not only is the billing more complex, as above, so are the details of where the bill goes in relation to where the item resides. 

Shepherd’s customer had this issue and Shepherd created a solution and they then rolled it out for other similar clients: the leaser/lessee categories.

Shepherd’s approach to help clients with these challenges

Normal invoicing simply marks the place to where an asset is returned, post-service, as the same as the billing address since, typically, the ones with the equipment are the ones paying for its upkeep.

But when these are not the same, the problem becomes ensuring that the billing address and the shipping address are correct: the entity paying for the servicing of franking machines by the manufacturer, is one company in one location, while the organisation where the franking machine is located and to where it should be returned is completely different.

Under Shepherd or the purposes of Shepherd’s mobile app and its NetSuite-native transfer of information, the company billed is the leaser, and the company visited is the lessee. Both can appear in the records of Shepherd’s client, the franking machine manufacturer.

This is worked into the sales order too: the franking machine manufacturer can preset all sales orders as having that customer categories as leaser. The only unknown is who has the franking machine needing servicing. That can be entered manually by the technician in the mobile app, for examples.

What problems are avoided?

NetSuite is designed to streamline the operations for any number of company types and sectors. It’s Shepherd that puts on the finishing touches of functionality for those in specifically asset, and maintenance management. For that reason, NetSuite pulls all company data from the client company profile. It falls to Shepherd to add the extra flexibility of having a means of entering a service address that differs from the billing address.

Without this, a Shepherd user would have to enter all the lessee details as data points in the leaser’s profile so that the service location could be accessed that way. This would be a huge undertaking that would be constantly at risk of being outdated as one lessee stops using a franking machine or when another is recruited. Needless to say, the manually updated lessee data field is a far more practical solution.

This feature can be found in the sales order, equipment record and the service contract. Both these latter two documents will detail who is the physical owner (lessee) and who is the financial owner (leaser). This provides a clear paper trail. When a service order is raised, only the relevant data will be displayed, meaning that the Shepherd user will not need to trawl through hundreds of service contracts to find the right one for that particular machine being serviced.

What happens if there’s an exception to the contract?

Not all servicing is under warranty. Carelessness is often considered as a reason to void a warranty service request or at least the no-charge aspect. So if a franking machine needed servicing because of a spilled cup of coffee rather than a parts fault, it is reasonable to assume that the lessee would cover the costs of their mishap. If this happens, one checked boxed will see the billing redirected to the lessee instead.

For businesses with this dynamic, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps what’s above sounds familiar to you: call for a demo to see this in action for your own company.

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