Announcing Field Service!

Happy Holidays!

Work orders, preventative maintenance, repair orders, service calls, deliveries, pickups, calibrations, inspections. Finally an add-on solution that handles it all.

B1 Fixed Assets is proud to announce that our Field Service Solution is now officially available to the SAP channel.

Whether in the cloud or on-premise, FAMe with Field Service has become the most popular solution for Equipment Rental, Fleet Maintenance, and Plant Maintenance companies that run on Business One.

SAP Business One Field Service

Features Dispatchers and Schedulers love:

  • Auto-Assign Jobs (based on 15+ Business Rules)
  • Auto-Schedule Recurring Jobs (including Preventative/Scheduled Maintenance)
  • Drag & Drop Interface
  • Real-Time GPS Tracking
  • Predictive Inventory Management
  • Benchmark Technician Time/Performance

SAP Business One Field Service

Features Mobile Technicians love:

  • Generate SAP Invoices & Quotes from the Field
  • Work in Connected / Disconnected Environments
  • Manage Mobile Stock Inventory
  • Service History Tracking
  • Update Meter Readings/Equipment Usage
  • Barcode Scanning
  • Google Mapping
  • Photo Capture
  • Signature Capture

Questions or want to learn more? Just reach out to Greg Lewis at greg.lewis@b1fixedassets.com

Do You Know What and Where Your Fixed Assets Are? [Part 1 of 3]

Untitled design (1)We asked our good friend Bob Kinsler, another passionate advocate for properly managing Fixed Assets, to offer some insight on the importance of knowing where your assets are at all times. This is part one of a three part series – look for the remaining two over the next couple weeks.

There is a little challenge in fixed asset management called personal property tax responsibility. Many counties within the U.S. have this little requirement each year where your firm has to send into your total assets categorized by type, price at acquisition of the assets (add to that all the related cost to get the asset to working condition, and could include sales tax on the items used), date of acquisition and if the asset was new or used upon acquisition. Then the county, township, corporation, school districts, hospitals and the like depreciate that asset using either a state depreciation schedule or other methods, attach an assessed rate to the fair market value they come up with and bill you to support their individual needs.

We all know if we own a house or property this yearly bill comes in. These rates and the amount billed are on the fair market value of the home and/or property appraisals performed using what other homes and/or property sold for during the previous years. The challenge here is the home and property is not depreciated as many have noted in the past few years, those values are continuing upwards.

Not so with the fixed assets of your firm, they tend to wear out after a few years, but during this normal wear and tear cycle you get to pay an additional tax to own them.

If those fixed assets are a combination of a project where you have many items tied up into the completed asset. Take for example the building of a motor vehicle where you require tires, a motor, a transmission, seats, a cabin to put the seats in, glass for the windows, electronics to insure the motor vehicle is controlled, pedals to convey your desire to the vehicle to move ahead or reverse and at what speed. It is wise to look into what makes that asset.

As noted in parts one through three, there are those creative types that might slip in something that does not reflect the final asset (e.g., an internal software project in which was found a motor vehicle purchase being added into the final cost. Those spare parts, extra bits, cleaning items, and other items that really do not continue the useful life from the machines past the normal cycle or add value to the machine should be subtracted. Along with all items that really do not belong to the fixed asset(s), by using a little common sense you can find them.

The reason is that personal property tax will take that whole asset and bill you for something that is not related without providing your firm a deduction or an exemption of those items not relative to the final outcome. If the item is an expense, than expense it, since in most areas expenses are tax deductible. If an item should have been a separate fixed asset then make it a separate fixed asset.

If after one totally depreciates the asset(s) and it is still being used, keep it on your fixed asset management system. You will need this information (along with the source documents) for a possible personal property tax audit as many local assessors are doing these now to increase the money into the local, county and state coffers. If the fixed asset is no longer being used, sell it as soon as possible and inform the local assessor(s) of its sale (also keep copies of the bill of sales for those audits). Saving it for its parts only adds to that personal property tax bill, since there is a floor depreciation level, in many states that they will not go below. You know all those computer monitors you might have in some storage area, warehouse or the like? Those too are not fully depreciated by the local assessors, and disposing of them has to be done through the proper method.

Mr. Kinsler is a United States Army veteran after 20 years of service where he first discovered his passion for Fixed Assets. Since then he has worked in a few different capacities but most notably his own endeavor, Kinsler Kapital Kost Kontrol where he consults with firms on Capital Cost Control procedures and policies.


 

Best Managed Assets for Your Best Run Business – Announcing FAMe Version 2.8.1

We love to hear from our customers and resellers.  Of course, we love to hear how our solution has made the business day a little more manageable and enjoyable.  But we also love to hear practical suggestions on how we can make our solutions incredible to use.

Over the past several months, we have been meeting with clients, from around the world and in a variety of industries, who have provided us with invaluable ideas, feedback and suggestions.  They each have their own nuances, but some also overlap where we can create broader enhancements.  The result is our latest version of Fixed Assets: Enterprise (FAMe).  We’re thrilled to announce that version 2.8.1 is ready to go, and ready to make life a little easier for our users.

Here are a few of the updates we think you’re really going to like:

General

  • All FAMe Contracts that create SAP Marketing Documents have been upgraded to insert a Remark into the SAP Document Header, with that Remark being consistent with the SAP Generated Remarks.
  • All FAMe Contracts that create SAP Marketing Documents have been upgraded for Multi-Currency support, allowing the Contract to create documents in any Currency defined to the Business Partner.
  • FAMe now supports the new SAP 9.0 64-bit Client.  Several forms, particularly set-up forms, have been changed to accommodate this in SAP.

Asset Accounting and Tracking

  • Improved and expanded the capabilities when auto-adding Assets.  Assets can be auto-created from several places within SAP, and this enables better control and more functionality.
  • Enhanced Component Management to allow non-Asset Components (for accessories and additional description information), non-capitalized Assets, and Capitalized Assets.  Also, added a Component Cost column for added information.
  • Enhanced Asset Tracking by expanding fields for Longitude and Latitude.  This is preparation for Google Mapping, GPS Tracking, Mobile Physical Inventory Taking, RFID, and other tracking capabilities.
  • Added the ability to delete a Retirement Transactions that has not been posted.  In addition to other uses, this is necessary for the new Rental Return functionality that auto-creates Retirement records for missing equipment.

Equipment Rental, Leasing, and Service

  • Added ‘Select’ and ‘Clear All’ buttons to the Details tab on the Rental Contract to facilitate billing the Contract detail
  • Made several enhancements to the Billing process to provide more functionality and control
  • Added the capability to auto-generate an Asset Retirement (Disposal) when an Asset is not returned from a Rental Contract.
  • Added a ‘Return All’ button to the Rental Returns form to make it easier to enter Return information
  • Added an alternative Lease accounting option on all Lease Contracts.  The new option accounts for the Lease as a Financing or Sales Lease in addition to the historic Direct Lease.
  • Expanded the number of SQL Queries and Crystal Reports

Equipment Maintenance

  • Provided the option to integrate SAP Activities with each Maintenance Work Order (MWO).  This capability provides for creating a related Activity whenever an MWO is added (from all sources), updating the MWO when the Activity changes, and updating the Activity when the MWO changes.   This also allows the new SAP 9.0 Calendar to be used to assign MWOs to Technicians.
  • Enhanced the Scheduled Maintenance facility to change the Maintenance Schedule depending on the Item used in the Maintenance Procedure.
  • Added a Related Documents tab and a Work Order History tab to the Maintenance Work Order, providing even more information about the Asset and the Work Order.
  • Added a ‘Status Promotion’ button to the MWO to make it easier to capture a Status change, as well as the date and time of the change.  This will enable the MWO to better work in a mobile access environment.
  • Added a Master MWO to provide another option for managing small Projects.  This enables several Work Orders to be linked into one common Parent Work Order for scheduling and control.
  • Added ‘Select’ and ‘Clear All’ buttons to the Items Billing tab on the Maintenance Work Order to facilitate billing the Work Order
  • Enhanced MWO Billing and billing processes to be more flexible and provide more capabilities.
  • Enhanced the MWO Maintenance Outsourcing (creating SAP Purchase Orders) to provide more functionality and control.
  • Expanded the number of SQL Queries and Crystal Reports

For more information, feel free to contact us at any time.

Six Significant Problems with Managing Fixed Assets as Inventory

tumblr_static_logo_-_just_wrench_and_hammerWe talk a lot around here about having the right tool for the job. Using a wrench to drive a nail will certainly work, at least to a degree, but it’s definitely not the most efficient way to do it.

The issue of managing Fixed Assets as Inventory is something that has been around for quite a while. Is this the best way to manage assets, or is it just another way to manage assets? You purchase goods and/or services, or manufacture goods, and record it all in the Inventory system. One could argue that it seems easiest to have Assets go there as well.

Further, we see the convenience of keeping Item Descriptions, Serial Number tracking, and Purchase/ Manufacture History and Tracking within one application area (Inventory). The only key differences are the GL Account Number (Fixed Asset versus Inventory), and, possibly, the Warehouse. This eliminates re-keying information that was already captured during the initial purchase or manufacturing processes.

Despite these modest advantages, there are at least six disadvantages to this approach that I must address.

1. The Keyword is “Fixed”

Fundamentally, Inventory is expected to be transient, while Fixed Assets is not. Managing Fixed Assets is a much different discipline and business requirement than managing Inventory.

2. Different Purposes

Similarly, Inventory focuses on Quantities of an Item, while Fixed Assets is about a specific use of that Item.

3. Valuation Differences

Inventory revaluation is a business exception that’s typically reserved for obsolete Items, or used when the value changes drastically over a short period of time. But the value of a specific Fixed Asset can change at different points during ownership, due to completely different reasons, such as damage, improvements, etc. The accounting for these changes is vastly different and more complex with Fixed Assets. At a minimum, there must be a change to the depreciation schedule.

4. Location Issues

What if the Asset moves? Whether within the Company or between Customers (e.g. Leases and Rentals), tracking the movement both physically and financially requires precision. Inventory Systems aren’t in a place to accommodate such changes.

5. Inventory Registers

Inventory Registers that tie out to the General Ledger must account for the portion of the Inventory — specifically, the Fixed Assets portion — which really isn’t Inventory at all, and must instead be tied out to the Fixed Asset Accounts. While this can be done, it’s always better to be direct, and thereby more efficient.

6. Multiple Transactions

Many Fixed Assets are created and valued based on two or more purchase/manufacturing activities. A simple example is the acquisition of equipment that requires installation and set up. The initial purchase is one transaction followed by the installation and set-up, which can be several additional ‘related’ transactions. Once again, getting this exactly right with a Fixed Asset Management system is challenging, but it’s even more cumbersome when only using an Inventory system.

We’re proud of how powerful and useful FAMe is for our users. Even more so, we’re delighted when we hear that sense of excitement followed by, “This is so much easier!

That’s right – excitement about Fixed Assets!

So, about that wrench in your hand….

Life, Death, & MRO: How FAMe:Maintenance Keeps Medical Equipment (and you) Healthy

We hear all the time that ERP systems are important, but it’s not like life-or-death.  But for our Customers who provide Medical Services, that is not true. Properly maintaining diagnostic equipment is a matter of life-or-death — or at least avoiding serious injury.

While FAMe:Maintenance has become a key tool for SAP Business One Customers in many industries to address the maintenance of their plant and equipment, it has likewise become essential for those Customers who provide Healthcare Diagnostics.  For most diagnostic equipment, our Customers must be able to show that the equipment is properly and regularly maintained, calibrated, and in some cases certified.

One of our Customers in New York has over 50 diagnostic facilities, with equipment ranging from sonograms to nuclear imaging.  I don’t know about you, but if I need a procedure requiring anything ‘nuclear’, I prefer that it operate correctly.  In addition, they have to maintain all of those facilities.  To do this, they have hundreds of maintenance contracts (many required by Medicare) with outside providers, and an internal staff for everything else.  Knowing what requires service, when and by whom, is essential to running a safe, productive, and financially viable medical practice.  To actually do it successfully requires a fully integrated Maintenance Management System.

Using FAMe:Maintenance, which is totally integrated with Fixed Assets: Enterprise (FAMe) and SAP Business One, the Customer is now able to track and manage all of the maintenance contracts (including Vendor obligations for scheduled maintenance), manage all scheduled maintenance, and capture and resolve all unscheduled maintenance – all to ensure that the facilities and equipment are maintained and operating at the highest possible levels.  All aspects of equipment and facilities are now tracked in detail providing KPI data on usage, costs, repairs, calibrations, and maintenance schedules.  While this fully justified the investment in B1:Maintenance, as a bonus, they were able to identify how they could save over $250,000 per year on their Maintenance Contracts.

FAMe:Maintenance provides the client with the confidence that their equipment is properly maintained, tracked and financially managed.  This is key not only financially, since their equipment represents the largest line item on their balance sheet, but more importantly, for their patients, where properly maintained equipment can be a matter of life and death.

FAMe:Maintenance Helps Auto Parts Manufacturer Achieve MRO Goals

Blog - MROMaintaining your PP&E (Property, Plant and Equipment) is as much an art as it is a science.  But, nowhere else in your organization does the adage ‘knowledge is power’ more aptly apply.  For manufacturers, uptime of the plant is essential.  Failure of anything in the manufacturing process causes both down-line and ancillary disruption.  And that disruption is expensive, both operationally and financially.

No one knows this more than one of our Customers in the Auto Parts manufacturing business.  They are ISO 9000 certified, rightfully very proud of that, and dead serious about maintaining the standards and operational efficiencies that they achieve as a result.  We at B1 Fixed Assets know that overall PP&E maintenance expenses can be reduced by over 50% with a properly implemented Scheduled Maintenance plan.  And, the savings from a reliable operation are equally significant.  Our Customer doesn’t just know that – they live it.  Every day, every week.

With FAMe:Maintenance, they continue to meet their existing high standards, get the feedback they are accustomed to getting, and are confident that their operations will continue at their currently exceptional levels.  They receive Analytics like Meantime Between Failures, On-time Performance of Scheduled Maintenance, ‘Wrench-time’ for each technician / mechanic.  And, they even got a couple of huge bonuses.

First, in addition to these ‘in the past’ analytics, they have Predictive Analytics – seeing into the future based on past trends.  OLAP Cubes, Parts Inventory levels based on planned maintenance schedules, repair / replace patterns and criteria — just to name a few.  And, Process Analytics – like being informed about an Equipment Warranty, so that necessary steps can be taken to realize the chargeback.  Or, seeing an upcoming PM procedure, while processing either a repair or another PM procedure, so that the equipment can be taken offline once, not twice.

Second, prior to FAMe:Maintenance, their Plant Maintenance system was a ‘silo’ system, running separately from the rest of the Company.   Now, they have full integration with SAP Business One, its Inventory and its Financials.  They also get the 360-degree view of all Equipment by utilizing FAMe.  Not only does Plant Management see more and see deeper, but now financial managers and executives can see more and manage better.

Is it possible to improve an ISO 9000 certified operation?  Well, they just did.

Imagine the level of improvement you can realize if you are not already operating at their level.

When to Switch to FAMe – Quantity of Assets or Value of Assets?

This is a question we hear Often in our Fixed Assets: Enterprise webinar series.   Should clients make the decision to switch to FAMe based on the number of assets they are managing or their capital value?  The surprisingly short answer to this question is “yes”. quantity-vs-value

Asking the Right Question

Before we dive into that answer, let’s back up a step and answer another important question first.  SAP Business One (version 9.0) already includes basic functionality for Fixed Assets Accounting, and SAP continues to endorse the use of a Fixed Assets Accounting system for almost every organization.  So why is there even a need for a solution such as FAMe?  What does FAMe do that SAP Fixed Assets does not?

Glad you asked.  It all comes down to Accounting vs. Management.

Fixed Assets Accounting provides users with accurate accounting and depreciation methods that track their assets and ensure that the company has an accurate estimation of their worth on balance sheets and financial statements.  This is important and must be done well.  Improper accounting of assets affects a company’s credit worthiness, tax burden, and general financial health.

Fixed Assets Management does this and helps to maximize the value of the assets.  Not limited to what can be seen on financial records, Fixed Assets Management empowers businesses to actually manage the equipment.  Just as most employees have someone above them who tracks and measures performance, most Fixed Assets benefit from a system that ensures each is working as efficiently as possible, as much as possible, for as long as possible.

So let’s ask the original question in a different way: When does a company need more than a Fixed Assets Accounting system?

Quantity of Assets

The more assets you have, the more differences there will be between them.  Not every asset should be depreciated and managed the exact same way, nor will they all be kept for the same period of time.  Additionally, the more assets you manage the more you have exceptions.  And though we refer to them as exceptions, they are events that happen quite frequently in business.  Improvements, impairments, physical location transfers, and custodial changes are just a few ways assets change over their life, and all of these must be noted and tracked accordingly.

So as the number and complexity of assets increases, so does the need for a stronger system.  In our experience, we have found that companies who cross over the 100 assets threshold typically have the need for FAMe over SAP Fixed Assets.

Value of Assets

For assets to actually be valuable to an organization, they must be used for their intended purpose consistently and with little down time.  Businesses need a way to initially and continuously account for this – the most basic form is via a physical inventory.  They also need a way to ensure that each asset is managed and maintained properly.  If warranties or maintenance agreements exist, it is critical to utilize them to avoid wasted expense on repairs.

We should also point out the importance of evaluating an asset’s relative value to the company.  Managing thousands of assets that are not mission critical may not require the same time and attention as managing 10 assets that are the lifeblood of an organization.  It’s important to know and understand this distinction.

Attending to the needs of assets is difficult, if not impossible, to manage with only a Fixed Assets Accounting solution.  It’s a bit like understanding your work force by looking at your payroll.  Assets can be complex, and they cannot be ignored.  They must be managed.  It’s worth spending some time considering the differences and implementing a system that properly manages, what is typically, the largest or second largest item on your balance sheet.

If you would like to discuss how to manage your assets better, let’s chat!  We’re happy to discuss your situation and even arrange a demo.

Exciting Opportunities in 2013 Fixed Assets: Enterprise, FAMe:Rental and FAMe:Maintenance

We made it! Another year is in the books and we look forward to 2013 with anticipation of continued success for our SAP Business One community of partners. And while 2012 was a very good year for B1 Fixed Assets, primarily through the success of our Fixed Assets: Enterprise (FAMe) solution, we’re confident that our latest solutions will prove to be even more successful as we move forward.

As we ring in the new year, newly released FAMe:LeaseRental is positioned to be an elite add-on for the SAP Business One community. By filling a huge void in the current SAP B1 solution, FAMe:LeaseRental will provide multiple levels of functionality including Rental Contract Management, Delivery of Goods, Equipment Tracking, a thorough Rental Return process, Rental Analytics, and more.

Clearly a vertical solution for the SAP Business One community, we expect FAMe:Rental to not only bring new users to the table, but to also bring some existing users back to the table – all in need of an SAP caliber solution that can help them manage their Rental processes.

Utilization, efficiency, and rate maximization are tremendously important in the rental world. FAMe:LeaseRental helps users properly manage rental inventory, track costly damage repairs imposed by customers, sell additional goods and services with the rental, and ultimately maximize the profitability of each individual rental asset.

Do you have prospects or clients who:

  1. Utilize a contract to facilitate a rental process?
  2. Need a more robust system for managing their rental assets?
  3. Know they’re bleeding capital, but can’t seem to stop it?

Happy New Year!! Here’s to a most successful 2013 – together!