Reducing chances of errors in customer work records

Published on 6 月 22, 2023

Shepherd offers its Ongoing Service solution to help companies with complex servicing contracts stay on top of record keeping and invoicing.

It’s a familiar situation to face: a report needs to be submitted on a particular situation, but that situation goes back a while. Who requested what? When? How many units needed to be returned? All that can lead to inaccuracies or omissions.

It’s no different with job completion reports and the billing that happens at the end of a service that’s lasted several days or been covered by more than one person.

That’s the topic in this blog: an overview of the Ongoing Service solution offered by Shepherd to customers looking for a way to allow regular updates without triggering the job to be closed.

Not all jobs fit the same mold

The standard process is that when job data is entered into the system under a Service Order, that signals the completion of the Service Order. And why not? It makes sense that you shouldn’t know how many hours were devoted to a job unless the job is done. Or which parts were used unless the specialist is no longer replacing them?

But as most reading will appreciate, some things don’t always fit the mold. In principle, a Service Order in Shepherd or NetSuite is simply a particular service that a customer wants its service provider to deliver. It can be as long and detailed as it can be short and simple. In some cases, long and detailed doesn’t quite do it justice. 

A service order could involve work that spans days, weeks, or even months. It could require multiple visits to site. It could cover an entire production line or several. And it could implicate numerous technicians, some of whom can’t start until others have finished.

Who takes care of the parts inventory? Who’s responsible for an accurate tally of hours worked between the beginning and end? Who’s in charge of making sure warranty work isn’t charged while out-of-scope work is?

Giving control back to the ones doing the job

Shepherd’s clients asked the NetSuite-native CMMS to help address these types of challenges.

The “Ongoing Service” function Shephred engineered gives the technician at site the freedom to decide how to enter the relevant data to the job. Sometimes, a job is predictably repetitive, so information can be entered in advance using Ongoing Service. To do so, the function is activated within Shepherd, making all the solution’s benefits available.

Information can be partially entered. For example, one technician enters their work and the parts they’ve used during their part of the service procedure, and only theirs. Then, the next to take over can do the same when they complete their specified tasks. And so on until the Service Order has been done entirely.

Typically, this last example is the most common. On a day-by-day basis, time spent is entered daily, while whoever is the last on a particular job fills in all the missing blanks, such as parts usage and the like.

Step-by-step data entry

The solution makes this possible by allowing the active technician to signal the system that, while they may have entered service details, the service itself is not complete and will continue. This situation can go on until the criteria are met for the service to be considered complete. At that point, when data is entered, the system can correctly read the service as done and feed the relevant information into NetSuite for billing purposes.

Naturally, there were ways around this before, and it has always been possible to reopen a service order, but it doesn’t look great if a company has to reissue invoices because of an admin error they had to backdate. Nor is it ideal that a company misses out on revenue because some items or hours were forgotten because of the time elapsed between the events and the job completion.

Shepherd’s solution takes a situation that was full of opportunities to go wrong, be it in a costly way or an embarrassing one, and turns it into a structured process that is easy to administer and follow.

If your servicing tasks put demands on your technicians, your dispatching, or time management departments, consider talking to Shepherd about a demo, so you can see how your service delivery could become easier to oversee and bill.

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