MB2-718 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) – Field Service, Inventory

As I revise for the MB2-718 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service) I’m creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this post I will look at inventory.

Field Service for Microsoft Dynamics 365 contains ability to manage inventory, the capabilities include warehousing, purchasing, adjustments / transfers, selling products via work orders and returns.

The concept of inventory management within a “CRM system” at first seemed slightly alien to me as I’d typically expect it to reside in the corporate ERP solution rather than within a Customer Relationship Management solution. However these days Dynamics 365 is much more than just CRM therefore it makes complete sense. In this context we are talking about inventory in terms of parts that will support field service activity. In this post I will aim to explain the concepts related to inventory.

In this post I will cover;

  • Product Set-up
  • Warehouses
  • Adjustments / Transfers
  • Inventory Journals

In future posts I’ll review purchase orders, purchase order receipts and returns.

Product Set-up

When defining products in Field Service there are a number of options that may affect inventory management. Including if the Field Service Product Type, which must be set to inventory to reflect the fact that you wish to maintain inventory levels for this product.

Tip: Your CRM forms might already include an out of the box field called “Quantity on hand”. This column predates Field Service and does not play any part in its inventory process.



Warehouses

A warehouse is any location that contains inventory, this might be the physical building you store stock in or may represent “virtual” warehouses such as a field agent’s truck. It is therefore important not to think of them as just typical physical spaces. Defining a warehouse is done in the administration section of Field Service and simply involves giving the warehouse a name and optionally adding a more detailed description.

Tip / Suggestion:
A common customization would involve adding some additional fields to warehouse. You may, for example, want to add the warehouse address and maybe a type.

Below I have shown the record for my “Main” warehouse. By default Field Service ships with one warehouse predefined called “Main”. You can obviously change this or add additional warehouses as required.


From the warehouse navigation bar, you can select product inventory;


Then within product inventory you can see a list of products contained within this warehouse, including their current stock levels, on order levels etc.


Notice that I can see multiple quantity figures including;

  • Quantity Available (Quantity on hand less quantity already allocated)
  • Quantity On Hand
  • Quantity On Order (Quantity current on purchase orders but not yet delivered)
  • Quantity Allocated (Quantity assigned to work orders)

We can also define a reorder point which might help indicate when a purchase order is needed to replenish stock.

Also, when drilling into each warehouse item you can optionally define the bin and row that this inventory item is stored in. This is useful and will work in many “simple” warehousing situations. But if items are stored at multiple locations within the same warehouse this approach may be restrictive. It might be worth keeping in mind that the facilities offered by Field Service are providing basic warehouse management to support field activity, this is not a large scale warehousing solution!


Adjustments / Transfers

Inventory adjustments is a feature that allows you to add or subtract quantities of stock from warehouses. This will typically be done following a stock check or to reflect shrinkage.

Inventory transfers allows you to move stock from one warehouse to another. In a field service environment, a common example of this will be transferring parts from a physical warehouse into the truck of a field agent.

The inventory adjustments and transfer options can both be found in the Field Service ribbon. See below;


To create an adjustment, you first create a “header” record which defined who made the adjustments, who requested them and which warehouse is to be effected. When you save the adjustment “header” it will automatically be given a reference number.

Tip:
The format and numbering logic for the automatically generated adjustment number is defined in the Field Service settings screen.


Once the “header” has been saved you can select the “Products” option from the ribbon bar and add details for the products to be adjusted. The idea being that we have a list of adjustments made for each adjustment number.


In the products option you can then select the product, its unit group and enter the quantity to adjust the stock by.


It is worth keeping in mind that the quantity for an adjustment can be negative to allow for stock shrinkage.


Having added a number of adjustments you can see below that I have a list of adjustments made in this batch. All under a common inventory adjustment refernce.


An inventory transfer works in a VERY similar manner as to an adjustment, expect this time I record the source and destination warehouse in the “header”.


This time creating the inventory adjustment product works in the same manner but will deduct “5” from the source warehouse and add “5” to the destination warehouse. In my example I am therefore moving five laptop keyboards from the main warehouse into Poppy’s Van.

Inventory Journals

Whenever anything adjusts a stock quantity or an on order amount a journal record is created to log the alteration. You might find this useful to track down stock issues. Below you can see I have created a simple advanced find on the “Inventory Journals” entity. In my example I have looked for all journals but I could have just as easily filtered on date, warehouse etc.


My results are shown below, you can see that whenever the quantity on hand or quantity on order has changed a journal record has been created. You might find this information useful for reporting and auditing what has happened.


Hopefully this post has given you a good introduction to the key elements of inventory in Field Service, something you will need to understand for the MB2-718 exam.

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