Service and repair business has specific requirements that an ERP system should meet to be useful. For example, such companies need to handle sales, manage orders, engage their customer, and control the cash flow and the service quality, which can be tricky as many tasks are solved by field staff.

How to set up a requirements list

An excellent approach to follow when outlining the list of requirements is mapping them to current business processes. For example, this list can look as follows:

  • Sales management and Order tracking

  • Service quality control

  • Field pre-repair diagnostics, field employees management, and workload control

  • Warehouse management and procurement planning

  • Project costing and ROI calculation

  • Support for complex business processes

  • Invoicing and cash flow management

  • Customer relations management

After the business processes-based list of requirements is ready, it is time to evaluate the specific ERP product. Here is what you should be looking for.

Order and pricing management

Service companies can deal with multiple order types depending on the specific service and the industry. The list may include installation requests, freight requests, orders, etc. The ERP system should be capable of completing a particular task, from creating an order to receiving money from a client.

Also, many service companies worldwide use custom pricing, offering discounts for specific customers or works. If the volume of such orders is high, it is hard to track all the data. ERP as an automation system should accumulate all pricing data for post- and pre-payment options and automatically apply discount and custom terms following the specific business logic.

Service Management

One of the primary goals of an ERP implementation is to get a 360-degree view of the whole business. This means the software should provide real-time data on services and employees' performance, key metrics for sales, and productivity for the service company.

Service management includes thorough information by service to understand which of them generate good ROI, and where there is room for improvement. The ERP should provide flexible service management to change service parameters or roll-out new ones fast.

Also, for the service business, many tasks are solved at the customers' side by field staff. So, the ERP should support field operations, or it will be practically useless. The management team should be able to track employee load and performance right away.

ROI calculation and inventory control

Services and repair may be hard to evaluate from the ROI standpoint. And this is what a good ERP system should provide to the business. The company should understand the cost of the repair or particular service in this specific case.

To do so, the ERP system has to track the availability of the necessary spare parts, the delivery time based on the information from suppliers, etc. Moreover, the client can postpone the service like a repair or refuse to order all. If the employee had spent his or her working hours for the assessment, this also needs to be taken into account for cost calculation.

Customization opportunities

Service businesses often use custom business processes. Therefore, there are no ERP solutions that can solve all tasks out of the box. Some customization will be required for maximum efficiency. And the software should support such customization. However, in reality, many ERP products do not provide a high level of flexibility, forcing companies to fit their existing business processes into the current software implementation, not adapt the solution to the business needs.

This approach is rarely successful. When choosing an ERP for a service business, it is crucial to evaluate its flexibility and customization options. For example, the software should provide an opportunity to change its UX, add new modules, and integrate it with the existing business software.

Easy-to-use interface

While it is a common perception of an ERP system as something 'complex' that should be hard to use, the lighter and easier the UX is, the better results the software delivers. Overly complicated interfaces make workflows harder, generate more data entry mistakes, and demotivate employees working with a system.

So, maximum efficiency must choose an ERP that is lightweight, easy to adopt, and use. The shorter the onboarding period for each user is, the faster they will reach the highest productivity level.

Support

Quite often, business automation solutions vendors do not offer first-line support and training. This can significantly reduce the overall efficiency, extend the learning curve, and affect the implementation project timeline.

In turn, if the vendor provides all the needed document forms for different scenarios from the service company lifecycle, it will make the adoption of the solution a lot easier. There are multiple features and business processes to automate, and it is great to get an opportunity to ask questions on how to do it faster and in a more efficient way.

Localization

International software vendors often lack the proper support of local regulations. For example, in some Latin American countries, businesses are required to store all operations history. To send this data to regulators, the ERP should be integrated with the State Tax Service (facturacion electronica). Lots of well-known ERP solutions do not have this integration, while 1Ci:Drive does.