Competitive Service and Contract Management in SAP Business ONE Implementation: Part 1

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What we will learn in this article?

In this article, we will cover the service module and highlight how it fits in with the sales and opportunities management functionality. The key features, from taking a service call to contracting management, will be explained. In order to establish a practical platform for this, a case study will be expanded to utilize the service module. As a part of this section, a complete workflow will be configured from setting the right parameters in the admin section to connecting the information for service personnel.

We will learn about :

  • Key terms – The common terminology related to service management will be covered. There is nothing major waiting for you here. We will simply learn what the terms entail with regards to the SAP system.
  • Service module core functions – In this section, the available functions and features will be put into perspective—what is available and how much we can expect from it. For example, you will learn what service operations mean.
  • Case study and your own project – The available features of the service module will then be implemented for the case study. By doing so, knowledge will be provided to implement the service module in your own business. We will review some guidelines which will enable you to translate the case study implementation into a set of activities for your own project.

Key terms

Let’s start with the key terms related to service and contract management in SAP Business ONE. By looking at the key terms, you will get an understanding of what can be accomplished with this module

Service contract templates

In the admin section, we can define the service contract templates that can later be used as a basis for actual contracts. Please note the template character. All of the parameters we define here will automatically populate the relevant details in the contract once a template is selected. The following screenshot shows that a contract template can be created not only on a per-customer basis, but also for item groups, and a specific item based on serial numbers. In addition, please note the Reminder setting. You can set a reminder which will provide an alert prior to the expiry of the contract. This way, you can be sure that you contact all customers and allow them to renew their contracts.

SAP

Serial number contract

The most common usage may be the Serial Number contract type. Each product will have a specific contractual service eligibility based on the serial number. Consequently, if a customer purchases an item that is managed by a serial number, a warranty contract template can be associated. This will create a customer equipment card.

Customer contract

However, please note that this concept does not need to be used only for items and serial numbers. As you can see in the previous screenshot, we can create contract templates for customers and whole item groups. For the case study, I will use this concept to create a service contract for key customers. We can then use the service functionality in SAP to make sure these customers get priority treatment. You see, we can use the service functionality in this creative way to improve our service quality.

Item group contract

Just as we may decide to use the service module to guarantee a specific response time to customers, we can make sure that a specific product line is managed. For example, if you have a new specifi c product line that requires technical expertise for implementation, then a service contract may be offered to customers. Therefore, all customers who purchase an item that belongs to this group will be eligible to purchase a contract and receive the relevant expert support.

Customer equipment card

The customer equipment card applies to the contracts that are managed by a serial number. Since the serial number contract applies a unique contract situation for each item, you will need to have the relevant information to be able to categorize a service call. For example, you need to know the serial number to identify the customer and the relevant warranty that remains for the specific serial number. In addition, if a customer calls you, you”ll want to be able to look up all of the serial numbers for this customer. This can be done using the customer equipment card. Please note that a customer equipment card is automatically created if a customer purchases an item that is managed by a serial number. You can assign a service contract when this happens on the level of sales order.

Service calls

Service calls are incoming service requests from business partners. The following screenshot shows that service calls can have many sources. For example, service calls may come via emails, phone calls, web requests, or any other defined Origin. I am highlighting this because, in essence, you can use the service module for any activity where you want to apply a specifi c response time management.

SAP

Queues

As mentioned above, the service module can be used to manage any kind of service-related activity. Queues allow your personnel to be associated with named groups. In the following screenshot, I have created two queues. The first queue is for 1st Level and the second queue for Resolution and Sales. Consequently, I assign personnel who can best accomplish the relevant tasks to each queue as follows:

SAP

Knowledge base

As you work on service calls, you can build a knowledge base that documents how problems were resolved. For example, if the problem resolution department resolved a problem, it will be documented as a part of the service call. If the service call is for a serialized item, then this knowledge is available to the first-level support the next time a problem is reported for the same item type. Therefore, this can take the workload off of the specialized personnel as they can avoid repetitive tasks. In addition, new employees can benefit from the knowledge already acquired for resolved service calls.

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