like implementing Dynamics 365 Field Service for clients in various industries because, in any field service organisation, there are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of rules, approvals and specific processes, and therefore every implementation is unique in many ways. It also underlines how broad and deep the landscape of the product is, to be able to fulfil business requirements in various business verticals.
This article is related to one of those many rules and processes. The question here is:
An example: Car mechanic (field technician/resource) will need ‘Oil filter’ product to complete a ‘Car Servicing’ Work Order. Currently, there are no Oil filters in the warehouse. Now as the work is being executed, Dispatcher tries to add a filter to work order. At that point:
System can throw an error to say product is not in the warehouse, or
System can let the product be added but warn about stock level.
Note: Approach 2 might seem odd but is actually very common due to challenges in keeping various level of inventory synchronized.
It turns out above scenario is all passing through a simple flag in the system.
Go to Settings → Purchase tab. There is a flag ‘Use of Products Out of Stock’ with two values: Restrict and Confirm
In our setup, we’ve got a product which currently sits with zero levels in warehouse.
Let’s set the flag to ‘Restrict’. As you try to add this project in a works order, system throws following error:
Let’s just got back and update the flag to Warn. This time when you add the product, it lets you do that with a warning
How does it impact the inventory? It adds the added quantity as -5 (same quantity as mentioned in Work Order Product).
Above commonly-used scenario is implemented using out-of-the-box flag only. Further approvals (as part of the business process) can be added through configurations.
How do products work in Dynamics 365 Field Service? Let’s look at three examples:
Imagine we work in a fictitious Atlantis Coffee Servicing company where we install coffee machines, refill machines and fix if they are broken. To keep it simple, let’s consider the following three services:
Install a new coffee machine: Coffee machines is a stock item, which means they are maintained in a warehouse. Field Resources fetch coffee machines from warehouse to go & install for customers.
Refill coffee machines: Field Resources refill coffee machines with a sample but these sample pods are not maintained as stock items. In other words, field resources carry pods with them and put them in coffee machines without any impact on inventory.
Cleaning a coffee machine: Cleaning is a service that is charged to customers. It is an intangible product.
All these three kinds of products can be set up in Dynamics 365 Field Service to be estimated, consumed and charged to customers in different ways.
1. Coffee machines = Inventory Product
Inventory products are set up with a very important flag: Convert to Customer Asset. If set to yes, this means once Work Order is completed, a Customer Asset record is created against a Work Order Product carrying this product. The new Customer Asset can be subsequently used in Agreements and Work Orders. You can also set default vendor and costs for this type of product. These types of products can only be added to Work Order Product.
2. Sample Coffee Pods = Non-Inventory Product
Sample Coffee Pods are set up as ‘Non-Inventory Product’. This type of product can also be set up as convertible to Customer Assets, though it is less common. These types of products can also be only added to Work Order Product.
3. Coffee Machine Cleaning = Service Product
The product of type ‘Service’ cannot be converted to an asset, and also do not have a default vendor or purchase name. These types of products can only be added to Work Order Service.
The pricing of these Field Service products is determined on the configuration in the associated Field Service Price List Item.
The configuration allows for:
Various rounding-off mechanisms (top, down, nearest)
Do you charge a flat fee?
What is the minimum charge duration?
What is the minimum charge amount?
Duration rounded to ‘which’ denomination?
..and of course, you can set an appropriate price list (and related currency).
The above configurations allow for a variety of products and services to be maintained and used in Dynamics 365 Field Service. The security model, though sometimes, is a bit challenging because Product Catalog tables entities are maintained at Org level.
For field service organisations, once product is installed at client site, it actually becomes an asset from the operations perspective (since it needs to be serviced and maintained in future). These assets are then inspected (Inspections), maintained (Agreements and Work Orders), and then monitored (Connected Field Service) – all of these are features of Dynamics 365 Field Service and this entire set of functions are called “Asset Servicing”. This articles looks at the function of converting a Product into an Asset with a commentary on limitations.
First let’s setup a Field Service product. For the purpose of this example, we are implementing Dynamics 365 Field Service for a field service organisation that sets up and maintains coffee machines (no brownie points for guessing I love coffee 😊). Therefore we have setup a Field Service product with ‘Convert to Asset’ set as true.
Next let’s create a Work Order to setup and install a coffee machine for a client.
Add a product to be installed in Work Order Product.
Next schedule a work order aka create a booking and mark Work Order Product as ‘used’
This effectively means that the work order to install coffee machine is worked upon and machine is all installed and setup for use. Lets complete the work order i.e. change the status to ‘Open – Completed’.
Magic happens once status of work order is changed to ‘Open – Completed’. Go to Assets and you’ll see a brand new asset record created. Open the record and you’ll see the record is linked to the Work Order Product record.
This concludes our business scenario here but before we conclude, lets have a look at a couple of caveats and limitations:
Only 1 Customer Asset record is automatically created regardless of the Quantity of products in Work Order Product record. This effectively means for each product to be installed, a separate Work Order Product record should be created
While Work Order Product field is populated on a Customer Asset record, in my testing it did not auto-populate the Customer Asset field on related Work Order Product record. This might be a glitch, but should be looked into in real implementation
The default owner of newly created Customer Asset is SYSTEM user. You may want to re-assign or run any business rules based on the business requirements.