Addressing the age-old issue of not having the parts you need to complete a dispatch has always been a tricky proposition. If the tech can't get the part they need immediately it needs to be ordered and the dispatch rescheduled when it comes in. Thankfully, the ESC mobile client makes this whole process much easier. Let's take a look at how it does that.
In The Field
When the technician realizes that he will not be able to fix the issue without ordering a part, he should recall the dispatch in the ESC mobile client and select View Quotes. Once there, he will select the Add New Quote option in the upper right-hand corner. At this point the technician would create a new quote by adding the parts from the inventory list or using the MAT billing code with a description of the parts that are needed to be ordered. This is what will flow to the office so it is important that the technician is clear about which parts are needed.
After the quote has been created the technician can go over it with the customer and get their signature and authorization to do the work. This is critical, without the authorization no one in the office will know the part needs to be ordered. So be sure someone signs off on the quote, even if it is the tech after he gets the customer's verbal approval. Most companies also use this opportunity to collect deposit or pre-payment from the customer to discourage them from calling someone else after their truck pulls out of the driveway.
At this point the quote can be printed or emailed to the customer. This is particularly important if the customer made a pre-payment so that they have a receipt for their payment. The technician can then complete the dispatch and move onto the next one.
In The Office
In ESC, there is a section on the dashboard called Quotes To Be Scheduled. All accepted quotes that were created in the field will appear here automatically to let you know you need to create a dispatch for them. The office staff would just need to monitor this section throughout the course of the day by hitting the refresh icon in the upper right-hand corner.
When a quote appears in this section you can click on the quote number to open it. If the quote includes the MAT part it should be replaced by a real part number to make ordering easier. You can create a new part on the fly by going to Inventory → Item List → Add if necessary. It is important to note that adding inventory items to your database will NOT slow the system down, so even if you never expect to order this part again it will still save you time to create it now.
Once all the MAT codes have been replaced, select Activities → Create Dispatch to create a new dispatch. Check the Select All button to transfer all the parts from the quote to the Parts tab of the new dispatch. Now that the dispatch has been created go to Activities → Order Parts to create purchase orders for the needed parts. You can then change the status of this dispatch to BackOrder and set the Date Promised to when you expect the parts to come in. Save the dispatch and you're all set.
Quick Note: If you are using QuickBooks and accepted a prepayment, that prepayment will appear in QuickBooks the next time you post.
When the parts are received, assign the dispatch to the technician, change the status back to Pending and set the Promised Time to reflect when you're going to return to the customer.
In The Field - Again
When the technician looks at the dispatch on their mobile device now the invoice will be completely filled out and will show the prepayment or deposit as well. This should enable them to simply do the work, complete the dispatch, capture the acceptance signature and collect the balance due.
Before You Begin
Before you try this procedure, please make sure you have configured ESC as follows:
- Make sure your office staff has the “Quotes to be scheduled” added to the dashboard and your technicians have the ability to create and view quotes.
- Create a Backorder status. Make it like the Off Job status but on the “Transfer to Technician” box, have your Backorder Non-Technician column name.
- Give your office employees the ability to create new inventory items.
That is all there is to it. It doesn't matter if you are using a laptop, phone or tablet; just be sure your technicians are creating a quote and getting it authorized and the rest just about takes care of itself.
Featured in August 2013 Newsletter