This is the fifth in our series of reviews of ServiceMax vs Salesforce Field Service Lightning and Service Cloud, the two leading service management software solutions built 100% natively on the Salesforce.com platform.

We are comparing Salesforce and ServiceMax products in major functional areas. With the Spring ’17 release Salesforce now supports some inventory management out of the box, but a small piece. ServiceMax has built a solution around Field Service and there are automations that update inventory when a part or product is used against work orders.

[Our first four reviews in this series compared Salesforce vs. ServiceMax call center management featuresasset/install base management and preventative maintenance; schedule and dispatch management; and contracts, warranties and SLA management. Stay tuned for our next review on ServiceMax and Salesforce functionality for Inventory Management. Follow us on LinkedIn for updates on all our field service and call center service management tips and expertise.]

Comparison of Inventory Management Solutions: Salesforce vs. ServiceMax

 Let’s begin by looking at the way ServiceMax and Salesforce handle inventory management along several different dimensions:

1.  Locations: When tracking inventory, you need to have visibility to the deepest location levels to find the box, part, or pallet that you are searching for.   Locations can vary between mobile inventory such as van or truck stock, forward stocking locations or warehouses.  It is important to know how much stock is available, what the minimum levels are for replenishment, how much inventory can fit into that location so you do not overstock, and when to order more product.

a.  ServiceMax’s Inventory management system gives you the ability to track inventory down to the pallet or box. Truck or van stock is also supported.  Minimum and maximum stocking levels for each piece of inventory can be set. ServiceMax does not allow you to define multiple addresses for one location but requires you to create a record for each address.b.  Salesforce has the ability to track locations like warehouses and vans and you can define the physical and shipping address for the locations and stock parts. It does not have an automatic process to define when to replenish or track maximum or minimum levels for the location’s stock. These would have to be defined through configuration.  It does create product transactions when adjusting the quantity. 

2.  Inventory Consumption: Technicians may carry and use stock while performing repairs, installations, and maintenance in the field.

a.  When the technician enters those parts as consumed on the work order, ServiceMax will automatically decrement the inventory balance of the location from where the part was consumed from. The part will also be added to the installed product’s record if used in direct relationship to an installed product.b.  Salesforce allows you to use the Products Consumed object to automatically adjust the product items from a specific location.

3.  Stock: There a multitude of different processes that involve the movement of stock including stock adjustments, stock transfers, and the introduction of new stock.

a.  ServiceMax makes moving of stock seamless and easy. They have intuitive steps that allow you to transfer stock and make stock adjustments. Stocking of serialized parts is also supported.

b.  Salesforce allows you to change the quantity in the Product Items list, but it does not allow you to specify a location from where you are taking the item from to automatically adjust it if performing a transfer. For example, if a part is taken from another technician’s van stock, you would have to adjust both records instead of defining where you transferred the part from and the system automatically being adjusted itself. This functionality can be configured.

The following chart gives an overview of the inventory management capabilities of Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning and ServiceMax, showing whether different components are standard out of the box or require configuration or development work.

Inventory Components for ServiceMax vs Salesforce Service Cloud

*More functionality

Standard:  Standard out of the box functionality.

Config.:  Standard functionality that can be configured.

Dev:  Requires development and/or customization.

$$:  Requires extra product and/or license.