In a perfect world completing a service dispatch would be a simple thing. Simply change the status from Traveling to Working to Complete. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. There will definitely be times when you will need to purchase a part you don't have in stock in order to finish the work. This article will show you exactly how to handle this.
If you simply need to run to a local supplier to purchase the item, change the status to Off Job if you don't want to bill the customer for this time. Change the status back to Working when the technician returns to the job site and finally Complete the dispatch when the work is finished. If you want to bill the customer for the time it takes to run to the supplier and back, simply leave the dispatch in a Working status the entire time.
However, if you need to order a part you can't get today, things get a little trickier. The good news is that ESC is designed to make navigating this tricky situation extremely easy. To start out with, right click the dispatch and change the status of the dispatch to Back Order. This will transfer the dispatch to the Back Order column on the dispatch board. Now double-click the dispatch to see it on the Dispatch Entry screen. Go to the Parts tab and enter the parts you need to complete the dispatch.
Once you enter the parts you'll need, click the Activities button and select Order Parts. On this screen you can see if you have the parts in stock and order them if you need to. Simply check the parts you want to order, select the vendor you want to order them from and then elect to create a new purchase order for those parts or add them to an existing purchase order that has not yet been submitted (see blue selection).
Click Create and Edit to view and modify the purchase orders as they are created. This also gives you the ability to immediately email the purchase order to the vendor when it is finished.
Note: If the parts you added to the dispatch had to be ordered from different vendors, a separate purchase order will be created for each vendor.
Now that the purchase order has been created, you will return to the Dispatch Entry screen. Go to the Schedule tab and change the promised date on the Back Order line to show the day you expect to receive the parts, then save the dispatch. This is important because it lets you know that you have ordered the parts and that they are not due in until the date specified. That way you are not constantly looking at the same dispatches on the dispatch board and wondering if you have to do anything to them.
Receive the parts when they come in using the Receive Items screen. After this happens you will actually see the icon on the dispatch change to a PO icon. This lets you know that at least some of the parts ordered for the job have arrived.
To ensure you received all the parts, double click the dispatch to recall it on the Dispatch Entry screen. Click the Activities button and select View Ordered Parts. Verify that the Quantity Ordered matches the Quantity Received for all parts. If they do not match, call the Vendor to see when the parts will be available. Then go to the Schedule tab and change the Date Promised to match the new date you expect to get the parts in.
Repeat this process until all the parts have been received. Then save the dispatch and reassign it to whatever technician and time you desire.
Written by Eric Rausin
Featured in April 2011 Newsletter