One of the things that I’ve really been thinking about a lot is why would someone want to buy my products? It’s funny, because I’ve been working on these application for quite a while, and the sales and marketing stuff is finally starting to sink in for me :). I’ve been building because I saw the need in places I’ve consulted at, or things my friends have told me. But what is really important is why the customer would want to buy them. Because of this, I’m trying to focus on what problems customers have, and then see if my applications might fit… so I wanted to go through some of the most common things I’ve seen, and find out if they ring true for anyone else out there.
1. SAP is too complicated for my service technicians to use.
- Why does this matter? because in many organizations, this means that the supervisor becomes the lead data entry clerk for all of the service management information. Imagine if you were supposed to be running a shop of technicians, but half of your day (or more) revolved around entering service notification, repair sales order, planning service orders, and even trying to deliver them back to the customer. The alternative is bad data, incomplete data, or someone spending an hour a day to enter in 5 minutes of information because they hate dealing with computers, they just want to fix things. And even if they are computer savy, they still need to enter data into the confirmation screen, the service order screen, perhaps MIGO to issue components, maybe Resource related billing to quick off the billing or the repair sales order to enter in the cost/price of the repair. Is this how you want your technicians spending their day?
- What does this do to a service shop? pretty obvious that it can’t run efficiently because either you need someone else to enter in the data, or you just come to grips with the fact that it will cost you an extra 5-10% in data entry to complete each repair. Let’s hope your customers won’t care if you pass this cost onto them (ha ha).
2. The service data is all over the place. I have data in the notification, repair sales order and service order.
- Now, you can solve this by designing a form to printout that pulls data from all the locations. But this means your team is tied to pieces of paper. If you make changes anywhere, you need to get a new printout to your team, because they won’t see the change. In some organization, this isn’t a big deal. But for a rapidly changing environment where priorities can change daily or even hourly, this is a lot of paper, and also a lot opportunity for mistakes or late shipments.
- What does this do to your service shop? well, first off someone has to keep printing off more things, but paper is cheap, so it’s no big deal. But if you have significant setup time, and something changes that bumps the priority of a job, you might spend an hour getting something ready to be worked on, only to find out that the boss said to put this on hold till tomorrow because we have a hot job for our best customer. Well, you may have just thrown away an hour of work. What if this happens several times a week? all because your schedule isn’t up to date and aside from a piece of paper, you don’t have any other way to find out if things have changed, unless you go digging into 3 different places in SAP.
3. Scheduling the service orders in SAP is too time consuming.
- Again, you can fix this by running your shop in Excel. Keep a list of all the jobs you have open and when you should be working each one. After all, is there any benefit to keeping all that information in SAP? Not really, unless you need components for your work order, or want to make sure your technicians are available when you need them, or want other groups to be able to see your information to let a customer know when the job is expected to be finished. But hey, I’m sure you can make a lot of phone calls, and tell everyone to look at your spreadsheet, right??? I hope you read the sarcasm in there… if not… trust me, it’s there, and you don’t want to run your business this way.
- Again, this makes your service shop less efficient, because now you’re double entering information, or if you use SAP, you still need to go into each order and make a change in dates or rescheduling, check the component availability, etc. No matter how you look it, it takes time for your supervisor to change the schedule around, because a new hot job jumped into line, and bumper 6 other orders scheduled for today.
These are just 3 of the things I’ve come up with companies commonly complain about. I’d love to hear from you. What do you hear customers complain about when it comes to SAP and service management? What would make your service supervisor or service technicians more efficient? what would make your director of service smile because you found an easy way to get 3-5% (or more) of your time back?
Thanks for reading,