Whenever I go through the functionalities of NAV, I always talk about financials, distribution, manufacturing and warehouse. But there is a little forgotten child in there called Service Management and it’s actually pretty good.
Most service systems are isolated to the main service business process. They are quite good at handling the scheduling and service call. The tech can seamlessly record his activities, the dispatch scheduling is graphical and so forth. But the back-office is usually severely lacking.
What about if the item being serviced is leased to the customer? How do we account for that fixed asset? What if we also want to depreciate that asset? This is where vertical solutions usually fall short. Accounting just gets a report and is told to handle it. They usually do, but it’s extremely inefficient and error prone.
Let’s also talk about inventory. Managing inventory cost is one of the hardest concepts in business software. Grown up ERP systems like NAV, have this worked out. Systems that started the design from the business process and worked their way backwards usually find themselves painted in a corner. Again, they just send reports to accounting so they can deal with it. Inventory costing issues tend to be even more complicated than fixed assets. When it comes to inventory value, you don’t mess around.
When accounting gets fed up with the audits and inaccuracies, companies usually try to find a unified solution. Then a proper ERP system comes into play. Most enterprise systems don’t have a good service management system built in, but NAV does.
NAV’s forgotten child, the service management system, is actually quite versatile. It handles service contracts, service orders, dispatching and much more. You can manage inventory natively in the enterprise system and all the transactions are posted to accounting automatically. Accounting does not need integration or reports. Everything flows.
Now some people might criticize NAV for not having a graphical scheduler for service. But that gap has been filled with add-ons like Dime Scheduler, which is just a presentation layer add-on. All the business logic is executed in NAV. This is optimal because we are piggy backing on logic that has been tried and tested for decades.
What about mobile access? Having access in the field is critical. NAV is now device agnostic. It can be run as an app on any of the three major mobile OSs. You can do virtually everything in the app as you can in the standard client. Using the NAV app for techs in the field is a definite possibility. If you need offline access, you can go with a product like Anveo, which is a natural extension of NAV that supports data synch. They already have an excellent interface for service and sales.
Because NAV is an open framework, all of the gaps that exist can be filled from the vast ecosphere of add-on vendors. Their goal is to naturally extend NAV or add presentation layers to the business logic.
So, if you have a service company and your accounting department has become surly and drained, the auditors are staying late into February analyzing inventory, or if you simply don’t know if things are being handled correctly and you think you might be sitting on a financial bomb. You might want to consider implementing an enterprise system that connects all the pieces together, like Dynamics NAV.