SAP Maintenance and Service Scheduling – Which solution is right for your company?
Before taking over Solution Management responsibility for SAP’s scheduling portfolio (Field Service Management and SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling), I spent 5+ years as a Senior Solution Advisor (Presales) for Asset and Service Management, working with nearly 200 different asset-intensive customers across many industry verticals and countries. While all of these customers have maintenance and service scheduling needs, few understand exactly which solution from SAP is right for them.
SAP has two primary scheduling solutions, (1) SAP Field Service Management, and (2) SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling. To determine which solution is right for your company, there are a few questions you must first consider:
- What type of work is being performed? Is it internal (in-plant) maintenance, service centric operations, or both?
- What type of assets are you working on i.e., complex equipment, linear assets, buildings or facilities, simple assets (i.e. coffee machines)
- What type of scheduling is taking place – emergency work, long-cycle, customer service, etc.?
- What is the industry?
- Do you have requirements for work center planning, routing optimization, AI-based scheduling and business rules, high-volume work, skills/certification management, customer-self service, or contractor management?
- What is your back-end environment (ERP) – ECC, SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, or non-SAP?
Answering these questions is a good place to start when determining which the right scheduling solution from SAP to meet your requirements, but will not necessarily point you exactly to one solution or the other. In fact, many customers often use both solutions together, covering different business processes, i.e., capacity planning and rough-cut scheduling in SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling, and schedule and dispatch in SAP Field Service Management. Let’s continue by analyzing some of the key differences in functionality between the two solutions:
Figure 1.0 – SAP Field Service Management and SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling: Basic Functionality Overview Comparison
As you can see in the table above, SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling and Field Service Management serve different business processes. To investigate further, lets look at the business needs addressed by both solutions, as well as some of the key differentiators.
SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling
SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling specializes in maintenance-centric (or maintenance-centric service) operations that are in plant. Planning and scheduling is mainly done on work center & utilization level with PM (EAM) orders. Distinctive apps also consider Maintenance Plans, and we also offer dedicated simulations/versions in order to create a schedule ahead of time without manipulating the underlying object.
SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling is part of the SAP S/4HANA core, dependent of the deployment method (on-premise, public cloud, private cloud, etc.), which means no interfaces and standard out-of-the-box integration to core Asset Management processes. The solution also offers a graphical interface to support core maintenance order (or maintenance-centric service) and capacity scheduling in in-house maintenance scenarios i.e., order scheduling, capacity leveling, collaboration on schedules, and execution tracking. SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling currently does not optimize schedules based on business rules, skills/certifications, nor has intention to integrate with GIS systems given the nature of addressing in-plant maintenance.
The solution shines when customers need a solution to perform capacity leveling at the work center level, create schedules based on work orders, visualize maintenance schedules against assets, execution tracking, and release orders for execution without the need to travel to the job i.e., on the shop floor, internal plant maintenance, or at a common work site. Example industries include Mill Products and Mining, Oil and Gas, Chemicals, and Rail. SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling is a successor of SAP Multi Resource Scheduling, specifically the recommended solution for in-house orders in order scheduling and capacity planning/leveling for maintenance and maintenance-centric service scenarios.
Figure 2.0 – Maintenance Scheduling Board in SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling
Figure 3.0 – Resource Scheduling for Maintenance Planners App
SAP Field Service Management
SAP Field Service Management specializes in scheduling and dispatching maintenance and service work where technicians must travel to the job, and when individual resource optimization is required. SAP Field Service Management also allows schedulers to plan directly of the Planning Board or Service Map with GIS integration, includes the ability for customers to use the Self-service Portal to book service appointments, and offers a Crowd Service portal to intelligently assign work to third party certified contractors, service partner companies, etc. Another key differentiator in SAP Field Service Management is the ability to use AI-based scheduling to schedule high-volumes of activities and design custom policies and business rules tailored to your scheduling needs.
SAP Field Service Management is a cloud solution, and offers standard integrations to SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Business One, CRM 7.0, as well as SAP Customer Experience Service Cloud using the Field Service Management Cloud Connector, or SAP Integration Suite, depending on the backend system. The standard integration supports SAP CS, PS, and PM orders in SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA, as well as SAP S/4HANA Service in both cloud and on-premise. SAP Field Service Management also plans to support the maintenance-centric service order, as of 2308. For more information, see the integration overview. With SAP Field Service Management, there are open APIs, which means it can be easily integrated to any other ERP or CRM solution within a customer project.
The solution shines when customers must travel to a physical asset and companies must reduce travel time, for skills/certification management, for customers with a GIS requirement, when business rules and AI-based optimization is required, and when contractor management and customer-self service appointment booking is needed. Example industries include IM&C, Utilities, Facilities Maintenance, Professional Services, Oil & Gas, Rail, or any customer with assets distributed in the field. SAP Field Service Management is a successor of SAP Multi Resource Scheduling and solution recommendation from SAP for customers with field service requirements, as well as customers moving away from legacy Field Service Management solutions (i.e. ClickSoftware) which is not maintained any longer.
Figure 4.0 – Planning and Dispatching Board in SAP Field Service Management
Figure 5.0 – Service Map in SAP Field Service Management
Both SAP S/4HANA Asset Management for Resource Scheduling and SAP Field Service Management address different business needs and industries. However, both solutions can be used together in scenarios where capacity leveling is needed at the work center leveling along with rough cut-scheduling, while having the need for AI-based optimization and routing requirements that consider skills/certifications and different business logic at the time of dispatch. Example industries where this scenario is relevant are Utilities, Oil & Gas, and Rail.
Any thoughts or questions? Please share any feedback or thoughts in a comment. For related posts and more information, please join our SAP Field Service Management Community page as well as our SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Asset Management pages/communities.