In the hyper-competitive energy services industry, field services and distribution companies have to deliver fast and cost-efficient projects, parts, and equipment to maintain a loyal customer base – without losing profits. Many companies, however, struggle to do both.
The “can do at any cost” mentality is necessary, but you must support it with robust operational management and proactive, accurate, and efficient planning, leading many field services and distribution companies to turn to modern ERP solutions designed for energy sector services. With intuitive, dashboard-driven field services management and advanced demand planning in one solution, services companies are upping their game while containing costs.
This post provides an overview of a modern ERP solution built for your energy services business.
For time-sensitive project delivery, optimal safety, and service level guarantees, your operations and management teams must have all relevant information when they need it. Spreadsheets, databases, whiteboards, conference calls, and disconnected systems cannot keep pace as your project requirements grow in complexity. Sure, you can deliver and install any custom assembly to a customer on time, but at what cost? Do you have to pay overtime? Are your assemblies’ parts in stock or do you have to pay expedited shipping due to stock outs? How many people have to scramble and what’s the resource cost when they do?
To overcome these types of drains on your operational performance and efficiency, modern ERP for energy companies incorporates advanced demand planning and field services management.
To be an effective energy industry distributor or field services company, you must maintain a substantial parts inventory with only the right parts and an always-sufficient quantity on hand to avoid service-limiting stock outs. That can be tricky, since your customer base can change, and much of their demand appears as last-minute, unforeseen requests.
Fortunately, modern ERP for energy services companies is designed with unique planning capabilities that address the following needs for your parts and equipment inventory demand planning:
The right ERP system incorporates standard demand planning and consideration for wildcards (random demand events) to avoid impact on service levels and cost. It does so by tracking your order history data and forecasting demand on a rolling basis; the order history includes what you fulfilled as well as what you couldn’t fulfill for a truly accurate picture of historical demand. This data, along with your own inputs for service level goals, allows the system to determine the ideal amount of stock to have at both item and assembly levels. As you take orders, the system automatically recalculates near-term and long-term demand forecasts, adjusting for multiple factors like seasonality, planned incoming shipments, desired safety stock level, and service level multipliers*.
Managing field services is easier when you can harness the advances in digital mapping, mobile, real-time data access, and integration across operational and costing systems. ERP for energy services brings it together in a single interface so your management teams, project managers, and field technicians work in unison from the same data.
For example, the “scheduling” function within the right ERP system helps you plan for upcoming jobs. From a single dashboard, you can check people’s availability, schedule people and resources, and control your utilization rates. Integrated “dispatch” capabilities enable you to make scheduling adjustments on the fly by viewing, in real time, where your resources are and which customer needs them most. At the same time, having updated views of parts/equipment inventory (by location) gives you the insight necessary to complete a job. After all, why send resources to a job when the necessary parts aren’t available?
Bringing all the capabilities together into a single solution helps you deliver successful projects profitably. By understanding the financial impact of intra-project and inter-project operational factors, you can make the right choices to raise customer satisfaction while maximizing profits.
We recognize that energy field services and distribution companies are under pressure to deliver better results for their customers every day. Your business can excel at service while also operating at higher profit margins by using the right modern ERP system – the one that gives you real-time visibility and management of your entire breadth of operations, from front-line technicians and warehouse to sales and supply chain personnel. For more information about getting modern ERP and how it can help you, please contact us today.
*What’s a service level multiplier? Assume you want to guarantee a 99% service level around an important assembly. By setting the service level for that assembly at 99% in ERP, the system will automatically and continuously calculate the amount of each item you need based on a demand forecast that includes each item’s lead time, on-hand inventory, orders in the queue, committed stock, etc. Once it knows the expected stock level, it tells you how much to order and when so you’ll have 99% of the desired inventory level for servicing clients.
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