Parts Instruction: an Essential Part of Account Oversight

Published on November 29, 2021

The Shepherd mobile application offers technicians many options for inventory item usage. The first method that Shepherd supported was discretionary parts usage. Shepherd extended the bin feature in NetSuite to allow for the assignment of bins to each technician representing (1) parts signed out by, for example, an inventory manager and awaiting technician receipt, (2) accepted or directly signed out parts that are available for technician use on any service order to which he is assigned.  When it comes to non-inventory item usage, there is, of course, no need to sign items in or out.

PM Configurations, too, allow for the inclusion of inventory items upon the execution of each PM Task.  As part of their Field Service Management responsibilities, technical managers may, for example, require that a mechanic record the usage of four liters of oil when reporting an oil change. Optional usage is also supported.

Adapting to the client service landscape

Later Shepherd introduced the concept of consignment inventory stored at customer sites, which relies on the assignment of a NetSuite bin to a customer.  Often Shepherd’s customers have service contracts requiring them to store certain critical spares with their customers so that they are readily available in case of a failure.  In this example, not transfer of parts ownership or title occurs until a technician records the parts as used.

In all cases above it is useful to assign all technician bins to one Field Location, for example, and all customer bins to one Customer Location.  This way inventory reports will separate and report on all warehouse, technician, and customer parts without the need to build custom reports.

Shepherd introduced the concept of direct fulfillment of inventory items in late 2019.  This method bypasses the requirement for an inventory item to pass through any bin before usage.  In effect, technicians have unbridled access to warehouse stores, which is a permission that can be too broad. Shepherd urges its customers to consider seriously granting this type of broad access.

Parts: used, replaced or simply delivered?

Shepherd also offers ‘Parts Delivery’ functionality.  In this case the technician, who is already going to site, takes along with him sold parts as opposed to contracting, say, FedEx or UPS to do the same.  As your present delivery service does, Shepherd configuration also allows for customer signature at time of delivery to document the transfer of possession.

In November 2021, Shepherd introduced the new method of parts usage. In this case, the technician’s manager or scheduler instructs the technician to use a specific part(s) in specified quantities when performing a service.  A mechanic might, for example, receive an instruction to change all four tires on a truck.  The service order will relay this instruction to the mechanic and require confirmation from the mechanic that he has installed all four tires as shown below.

Whether the item usage is discretionary or instructed, Shepherd enables communication from the field or the shop floor directly to NetSuite where your inventory lives. 

Shepherd may have features you’ve yet to hear about that could change the way you manage your accounts: call to find out the time and money a move to Shepherd could make you.

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