Track Revisions on a Project Quotation during the negotiation with Prospects/Customer in AX 2012 R3

Track Revisions on a Project Quotation during the negotiation with Prospects/Customer in AX 2012 R3

Hello Everyone,

Here is a quick tip for the day about one of the “Small, yet very Useful” functionality which is introduced in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 release.

Until the CU6 release of AX 2012, there was no efficient option track various revisions of project quotation once it was approved internally for the first time, and sent to Customers or Prospects. It was not possible to submit the “Quotation revisions” to a workflow for internal approvals.

Now, in the R3 release, AX allows to revise and track details of the revisions effectively on project quotations, by allowing to submit the revisions to the internal approval workflow.

1. Navigate to PMA > Common > Project Quotations, create, submit and approve a new project quotation

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2. Now, Generate and send the Project quotation.

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3. After sending the quotation to the prospect/customer, you can revise based on the feedback received from the customers and maintain revisions of the quote throughout the negotiation cycle.

4. Click Quote > Revise button on the action pane to revise the quote. With this, you add, modify or review lines from the quote and change any other details as needed. See the screenshot below where I have added 2 additional lines to the original quote.

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5. After revising the quote details, you can submit the revised quotation for internal approval. After internal approval is complete, you can send the Revised Quote.

6. After sending revised quote, click the Quotation journal button to see how system maintains the audit trial of the revisions.

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Quick and easy..:) Keep DAXING till next time.

Regards, Sandeep

Managing After-Sales Services of your organization as a Profitable business in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Managing After-Sales Services of your organization as a Profitable business in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Manufacturing and Services Industries (Especially the Architecture, Engineering and Construction, and Large scale AV Integrators) often perform after-sales services, to retain maximum Customer satisfaction on the products and services they manufacture and sale. These after-sales services are basically classified as “Business to Business services”, rather than business to consumer servicers. It is very important that the Service Managers of these organization keep track of the exact costs and revenues on the hours, expenses and items consumed in a service function, to make sure the Service operations of the organization can run as profitable business.

Are you a Customer already implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX  ERP or actively looking for an all  inclusive ERP application to manage  the various aspects of after-sales services ? Look no further and explore how the Service Management Module of Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP can add value proposition to your business.

In today’s post, I will initiate an introduction to the overall architecture of the Service Management Module and then will discuss all the important functionalities  and the “How-To” to manage those in few of the subsequent posts.

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Let us now understand the various building blocks and important functionalities of the Service Management Module in AX 2012 R3.

A. SERVICE AGREEMENTS: Service agreements acts as the central element in the architecture of the service management module and holds the contractual details with the customer.

    • Defines what objects will be serviced(Service Objects), the tasks(Service Tasks) that will be performed and how these will be charged to the customers.
    • Defines when the services will be performed(Service Interval), Service Level Agreement(SLA), who will perform the service, how the costs and revenues will be managed.
    • Defines how service orders will be created (Automatically, Planned Service Orders/Manually).
    • The Service Management module in AX is integrated with the Project Management and Accounting module for posting the service orders back to Projects, to track the costs, revenues and also invoice the customer for the services performed.
    • This integration also takes advantage of the validations, ledger posting, pricing and other functionalities of the PMA module.

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B. SERVICE ORDERS: A Service Order in AX represents one instance of a scheduled/unscheduled service activity performed by service technician, at a customer site on the day of the visit.

  • Service orders can be automatically created based on the Tenure, Service interval, Time window and the “Line Combining options” specified on the Service agreement and service agreement lines. For example if the tenure of a service agreement is from 01/01/2014 to 12/31/2014 and Service Interval is “Monthly”, then, 12 planned Service orders, one for each month, can be automatically created directly from the Agreement.
  • AX also provides the option to create the planned service orders more efficiently by combining the orders “By Technician”, “By Service task and By service objects (What is being serviced) so that they can better planned and scheduled.
  • You can also utilize the “Time Window” functionality on the service agreement to optimize the scheduling of service orders.
  • Service orders can be created without a service agreement as well, and these can be used to perform One time , unscheduled service visits which might be requested by the customer on demand basis.
  • Service Orders typically consists of service order lines, which represents the details such as the “Hours of work performed by a service technician, related expenses, item consumptions, replacements, or repairs and any service fees, for the tasks performed on the various service objects.
  • Service orders can be created by the Services team of the organization or it can also be initiated by the Customer using the Customer Self service portal.
  • Once the Service orders are created and setup, they are processed through various service stages and the progress, performance, costs and revenues are tracked till the completion of the service.

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C. SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS (SLA): Service Level Agreement allows the service organizations to record time to identify WHEN the service must be performed at the latest, from the time when the Service order was initiated by a Customer and it also allows the organizations to track the timing of the services given to the customers through out the Service Delivery process.

    • You can create as many SLAs you want based on your business needs. If you have grouped your service agreements by
    • When a SLA is attached to a Service Order and the service order is initiated, the TIME RECORDING starts automatically which can be Stopped, Restarted or even Cancelled at any time depending on the situation through out the duration of the service activity.
    • SLA can be associated with a Calendar in AX, which allows to control the automatic time recording to start. If the Service order was initiated on a non working day, then the Time recording will not start until the next working day.
    • You can link the SLA with Service Agreement groups, which allows to assign the SLA to the Service Orders automatically when you create a new Service Order belonging to that Service Agreement.

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D: SERVICE DISPATCH BOARD FOR DISPATCHERS: The Service dispatch board functionality enables the Service companies and their Service Customers to stay on top of their priories with regards to the on-going services. It Helps the Service dispatcher to schedule the work for the Service engineers and the service tasks/activities they will perform at the customer’s site.

  • Service Dispatcher gets to see an overview of the Service Operations using the Dispatch Board can make efficient and informed decisions about the actions needed at the right time to ensure high customer satisfaction.
  • Graphical display support for the Service Dispatch board.
  • Service dispatchers can view and manage on going service tasks by seeing COLOR coded overview details about the service orders.
  • The dispatcher can see daily activity logs on each Service orders which are entered by the service engineers/technicians.
  • Can create service dispatch teams and manage the service resources more effectively.

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The screenshot above does not show any data, as I have not created the data in the system. We will discuss more about the details of the Service dispatcher and other daily processes of the Service orders in the few subsequent posts and will learn how to use this module in greater detail and see the Dispatch board in action.

E. REPAIR & RETURNS: Service Companies often get the items or equipment back at their location for repair. Dynamics AX supports a decent level of repair management capabilities within the Service Management Module which can be used by companies for better repair management and optimize their efficiency of handling equipment returns and repairs.

  • Manage repair from the time it is initiated from the Customer till the resolution using repair stages, which you can configure the way your business needs it.
  • Track the resource consumptions on various repair tasks such as hours spent by the technician, Item replaced etc. and tie those back to the Service order which can be then accounted and billed to the Customer.
  • Create and Manage Symptom areas, diagnosis areas, repair conditions, resolutions for better reuse to optimize the repair process.
  • Do necessary reporting such as which items (objects) are repaired most frequently and how efficiently your technicians are able to finish the repairs etc.

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F: Service BOMs: Dynamics AX provide the functionality of creating and managing Service BOMs, which enables the service companies to track and store the changes performed to an object during the service. This can be specifically helpful for service organization who engineers their products/services by combining a set of different items on it.

  • It allows you to continuously track the service objects which are serviced a customer’s site  and then it allows to generate the complete audit trial of the object changes over a period of time and also the replacement history of the object.
  • All the changes to the Service BOM during the course of Service, are stored as a separate version as a history for future tracking.
  • Helps service companies to identify required parts on the service visits, so that they can arrange the availability of the parts at inventory and reserve to be consumed in the Service order.
  • It can help you determine any potential changes you might have to do to your Service BOM (Service Product) to manage reduce the number of services required in the future.

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G. SERVICE SUBSCRIPTIONS: If you are a Service company and provide services to clients at a fixed rate for a period, then you can make use the Service Subscriptions functionality of AX 2012 to manage all the accounting and financials management needs of the service subscription process. We will discuss in detail about each of the above processes in the next few subsequent posts.

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H. SELF-SERVICES PORTAL: Dynamics AX supports various Service Management processes on the enterprise portal. The Service customers and the Service team can collaborate effectively using the enterprise portal and the Customer self-service portal.

  • Customers can initiate the Service Orders using the Self- Services portal on enterprise portal which then can be reviewed  and processed further.
  • Customers can access readily available LIVE information about their past and current and future service orders, agreements anytime using the Self-service portal.
  • Technicians can access details such as her necessary information  such as service objects, tasks, repair etc. about the service calls/orders and even update the service orders at anytime.

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Well, stopping here todaySmile. In the next few posts, we will explore the above mentioned processes and functions individually, in greater details.

Till next time..!!

-Sandeep

An insight to the new and improved Timesheets Management Functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 - Powerful, Simple, Agile

Hi Friends,

I thought of writing about one of the most talked about enhancements in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 which is the employee timesheets functionality in Project Management and Accounting module.

Recording the employee’s times(hours) and expenses is one of the key processes in any services industry today, especially the IT consulting and Management services firms. These firms always look for a timesheet management system in the ERP system which they evaluate for their organization which can make it efficient and easy for their employees to enter their timesheets and expenses.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 empowers the professional services industries with a powerfully simple employee services portal refered to as the Enterprise portal which is based on the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 foundation server, one of the most successful products that MS has released ever.

Now let us discuss about the various capabilities and improvements of the Timesheet system in AX 2012.

Few of the pre requisites for the timesheet functionality to be working are as below.

  • Setup timesheet periods. ( Ax 2012 supports Daily, Weekly, Bi-weekly, Semi-monthly and Monthly etc. periods for registering hours/times).
  • Setup the project management setup for the workers. ( Employees and Contractors).
  • Create required user relations.
  • The project management and accounting module setup. (Projects, activities, categories, line properties etc.).

Assuming that all of the above required setups are done, employees of the organization can log into the employee services portal and start entering timesheets.

The Home page of the employee services portal displays role tailored information depending on the user profile/role which is assigned to the employee.

When an employee/contractor who has system administrator role logs into the enterprise portal, the screen looks as shown below. This shows all the various capabilities and functionalities present on the enterprise portal of AX 2012.

Employee Services Portal

However, assuming the case of a typical service industry/IT consulting services industry, where employees (both salaried and hourly based) deal mostly with timesheets, expenses and their approvals, I have customized a role to prepare the employee services portal to look as below. Ax 2012 provides the flexibility of customizing the enterprise portal content the way you want it.

Role customized Employee services screen - AX 2012

Timesheet Management functionality Highlights in AX 2012:

  1. Provides flexibility for defining different timesheet periods depending on need.

Timesheet Periods

2. Timesheets overview screen displaying details of exiting timesheets.

Timesheets Overview Screen - AX 2012

3. Option to set timesheet favorites/favorite lines and functionality to load timesheet lines

these from favorites.

Timesheets Favorites Management

4. Option to create new timesheet by copying an existing timesheet (Previous).

Copy timesheets Function

5. Setup delegates for timesheet submission, who can enter timesheets on your behalf in

your absence and manage your timesheet delegates and timesheet favorites right on the

web enterprise portal.

Manage Timesheet Delegates

6. Record time on each individual task/activity or the project by entering suitable internal

and external comments for the description of the work. Week summary to date fact box

which displays the total number of hours entered in the week.

Timesheet Entry Screen AX 2012

7. Employees will have to spend less time in entering comments for each line with the consolidated comments entry screen.

Consolidated Timesheet Comments

8. Automatic workflow can be setup for timesheet approval/review. When timesheets are

submitted, they  get automatically assigned to the respective reporting manager’s queue

for review.

9. Print your timesheets right from the enterprise portal.

Print Employee Timesheets

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Apart from the timesheets management functionality, the enterprise portal  in AX 2012 provided several other powerful business process capabilities and this will definitely help every organization in a very great deal.

Till next time !! Keep exploring. 🙂