Manufacturers need powerful tools to stay competitive and meet the demands of their customers, while doing more with less.  While strong individually, when Rootstock Manufacturing ERP and Salesforce Field Services (SFS) are united, they provide a host of benefits that allow companies to streamline and scale their operations, improve efficiency, enhance customer service and boost their bottom line.

Certainly, Rootstock is a robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in its own right. It provides manufacturers with real-time visibility and control over their operations. With its advanced inventory management, production tracking, and other key features, manufacturers can easily monitor and manage their production processes, ensuring that they are always running at peak efficiency. But what good is having all this data if you can’t access it easily while you’re on the road? This is where SFS comes in. This solution, also built on the Salesforce platform, provides these same companies with tools to manage and track their field service teams, including scheduling, dispatching, and tracking.

When Rootstock and SFS are combined, manufacturers can ensure their field service teams have access to up-to-date information on order management, inventory, and other key data—from wherever they are–which can help them provide faster and more efficient service.  

The Benefits of Rootstock and Salesforce Field Service include:

1) Improved visibility and control over operations: Rootstock ERP provides real-time data on inventory, production, and other key manufacturing processes, which can be integrated with SFS to give managers a complete view of their operations. This can help them make more informed decisions, optimize production, and reduce costs.

2) Enhanced customer service: SFS provides manufacturers with tools to manage and track their field service teams, including scheduling, dispatching, and tracking. By integrating SFS with Rootstock ERP, manufacturers can ensure that their field service teams have access to up-to-date information on customer orders, inventory, and other key data, which can help them provide faster and more efficient service.

3) Better supply chain management: By combining Rootstock ERP’s inventory management capabilities with SFS’s logistics tracking, manufacturers can have a better insight on their supply chain, and parts availability, allowing them to optimize their inventory levels, reduce lead times, and improve delivery times. For example, if you are using every technician vehicle as an inventory location, as most companies do, provided you are consistently scanning in and out of inventory every time you replenish, this combo platter gives you detailed visibility as to who is using parts when and where and can audit back to work orders at a specific customer location. The mobile warehouses can also be included in material replenishment processes (MRP) to ensure trucks are properly stocked. This means manufacturers can keep their customers happy by meeting their demands in a timely manner, while avoiding overstocking or stockouts.

4) Increased efficiency and productivity: By using Rootstock ERP and SFS together, manufacturers can automate many manual processes, including data entry, which can save time and reduce errors. They can also streamline their workflows and improve collaboration between different departments, resulting in a more efficient and productive organization. In addition, with productivity tools, like Visual Remote Assistance (VRA), companies can reduce or eliminate truck rolls altogether by allowing technicians to diagnose and remediate issues remotely using their mobile phone.

5) Better reporting and analytics: By integrating Rootstock ERP and SFS, manufacturers can access a wealth of data that can be used to generate detailed reports and perform analytics. This can help all layers of management to track performance, identify areas for improvement, and make more informed decisions, all using real-time information.

Don’t believe me. Ask Handsfree how services scale on the Salesforce platform. 

As a former customer and practitioner at two companies where we implemented SFS, I can personally attest to the value of the solution on its own.  However, Chris Jones, Operations Manager at Handsfree provides a broader testimonial.  “We’ve had Salesforce within our sales team for a number of years,” says Jones. “ and then we implemented field service and alongside Rootstock at the same time.”

Based in the UK and with operations in the EU and the US, the Handsfree Group are groundbreaking innovators in the design, development, manufacturing and supply of vehicle technology solutions.  Since 2004, they have installed safety and communications equipment and software into transport, logistics, fleet and emergency service vehicles, helping their clients improve the way their employees drive, communicate and promote safety while significantly reducing their vehicle running costs.  They provide equipment, install and maintain it, both remotely and on premise through their full-time and subcontractor field engineers.

Handsfree was recently awarded the contract to upgrade nearly 50,000 vehicles for Home Office of the Emergency Services in the UK to communicate with their new network.  This compelled them to action. “Our previous system was outdated.  We were on Windows 7.  We always knew we were going to need to migrate to a new system, but the Home Office contract gave us the push that we needed.  And Salesforce made sense because our sales team was already on it and wanted the interaction and traceability throughout the system:  job management to inventory.”

“For any parts we use, we invoice for that stock. When our engineers consume it, it updates our stock system, and that’s what Salesforce Field Service and Rootstock have been able to provide us,” Jones explains.   

Fringe Benefits

Handsfree has tailored their workflows in Salesforce to allow approvals for quotes automatically from any device, improving margins and productivity in the field.    In addition, Rootstock and SFS has greatly improved their RMA process.  “We didn’t have one,” jokes Jones.  “It just wasn’t there.  We weren’t able to track returns.  No traceability at all, which created a massive cost for us.” 

“Now we’re able to report on the performance of our products… in terms of how many we’ve had to return compared to how many we’ve actually dispatched.  This helps our sister company, which manufacturers the parts to properly account for warranty.”

When asked about his Key Performance Indices (KPIs), Jones jumps to Handsfree’s great improvement in First Time Success Rate.  “That’s where our engineers go out to do the job the first time without having to go back for a revisit.   Since we’ve been on Rootstock, because of the traceability, we’re operating over 98 percent, which is our business goal, which is absolutely fantastic!  The minimum cost is about £60 to get an engineer to go to a site.  So if we’re having to do less revisits free of charge, that all goes to the bottom line.”   

“And I would love to say we improved in our RMA process, but the problem is that we didn’t have a way to measure before.   The traceability, and the way the business is operating in terms of holding our suppliers accountable… it helps us because now we have all the data.  And data is power.”  

Handsfree On the Move

Jones also points to improvements in customer services.  “The mobile apps allow our team to do things on the move.  I can be at a meeting with a customer, come out, and if there is an issue with a sales order. I can go into that sales order from the mobile app where, previously i’d have to wait until I got back to the office before I could even investigate the issue.  Being able to investigate stuff on the move means being more responsive to our customers,” Jones crows.   

Boosting User Adoption and Employee Engagement

Handsfree has taken additional measures to incentivize its engineers to use the system and motivate them to help customers and boost sales.  “We’ve developed a site referral scheme for our engineers.  If they are on site, and they see other things in the customer’s vehicles that we could potentially help them with, they can take a picture, and send it directly to our sales team in the system. Sales can turn that into a lead and follow up.  If the lead results in new business, then it  turns into side referral, and the engineer will get a bonus.  So now the engineers are really bought into it.” 

Leveraging the Data 

Chris has been impressed by the ability to access data that had previously been locked in his systems, if available at all.  “I have a massive dashboard with loads of different reports that I can refresh instantly,” boasts Jones.  “Through SFS, I can see cases and communications with customers, and if there are any mistakes, we can catch things before the job occurs.”    

On the other hand, “Through Rootstock, we are able to see what stock the engineers have in their vans, which is night and day compared to what we used to have.  I can go on to an engineer’s phone. I can see that they’re showing this item on this van; I can see which job site it was assigned to.   

In our previous system, we just had a list of parts.  We didn’t know which job they came from.  The engineer would claim it went missing and we could potentially be writing that off. So the financial reporting for us has been fantastic!” 

Better Together

Jones recommends that service organizations implement SFS and Rootstock together. “It’s an all-in-one solution, so we decided to put it in place at the same time… just rip the plaster off and let’s go!  There was no reason not to do it all at once.”  He advises others to walk in his footsteps.  “I would combine the implementations, because if you implement a new ERP after Field Service, you could potentially have to do a lot of rework to change how our field service operates.  Or the inverse, if you do Field Service first. If you do it all at the same time, it will flow better end-to-end.” 

“This is my first systems implementation, but to me, it’s a no brainer to implement it together if you have the funds to do so.” Jones advises.  

What’s next for Handsfree? 

Now that they are live on SFS and ERP on the Salesforce platform, Handsfree is on to the next big thing.  “We’re working on self-scheduling, so our customers will be able to log into a portal and book their own work so we can ensure the availability of our technicians and review job sheets, etc., without us having to send that information.   Now that we have solved our issues with returns, our next step is to offer extended warranties online as well.

Built Better Together

As you can see, using Rootstock ERP in conjunction with SFS can help manufacturers improve their operations, increase efficiency, and provide better service to customers. It can help them gain better control and visibility over their entire manufacturing process, from supply chain management to service in the field, and give them the right data at the right time for better decision-making.

As an added benefit, because they share the same platform, and are already in the Cloud, the folks in Information Technology don’t have to worry about system integrations, maintenance, network or hardware. The data is shared seamlessly and the upgrades occur simultaneously three times/year with no need for technical or user testing.  And simple changes to the system can be made through a Salesforce Administrator rather than having to rely upon IT. 

So, if you’re a manufacturer looking to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced field services market, you should definitely consider investing in these two powerful solutions, built better together on the Salesforce platform.