The Maintenance Plans add-on offers a way to provide your customers with support entitlements from a depleting fund. This could be, for example, maintenance for a device, telephone support or training. We call these Maintenance Plans, but they can be used for any billable service provided to a customer in the form of a time-deductible fund.
Maintenance Plans are inventory items that can be added to quotations or sales orders in the same way as any other service. They are assigned a user-defined Maintenance Plan Type, which defines the main attributes of the plan.
Time logged against cases that are considered maintenance-enabled and deductible can be drawn from a customer's maintenance plan.
If you're looking for information on how to log time against a maintenance plan, check this link. For more information on how maintenance plans work, and how to configure them, read on.
What makes up a maintenance plan?
Maintenance plans are effectively defined across three levels. It is important to understand the role of each one.
Maintenance Plans (Services)
These are the actual services that will be added to quotations and sales orders, then converted to assets.
They have all the properties associated with a standard service. As such, they are configured in inventory.
As each plan is a service, it can have its own settings, such as price, term, SKU etc.
Maintenance Plan Types
Plan types allow you to define a set of maintenance plan archetypes that can then be attached to maintenance services in your inventory.
For example, you could create a flexible plan type and a fixed plan type. The former might allow your sales people to modify the number of hours given to the customer, whereas the second would be fixed.
You could then create multiple maintenance services of each type. For example, for our fixed example, you could create one service with 20 hours, and one with 50 hours. The salesperson then has a choice of plans to sell.
There are more variables that can be configured for each plan type. These are detailed further down this article.
Maintenance Plan Groups
Maintenance plan groups are an optional third level of configuration for maintenance plans. They allow for the virtual aggregation of plans at the point of time logging, and in a number of reports and grid views.
They essentially allow a user to withdraw from a customer's bank of time without having to choose a specific individual maintenance plan.
This is particularly useful if the customer has been given numerous plans of a similar type over a period of time, for example if they were supplied alongside other goods or services (e.g. engineer / repairs with hardware).
Maintenance plans of the same group will be presented as one aggregate when logging time, allowing the time logger to select the aggregated plan. The system will then choose the individual plan that is expiring soonest, providing that it has enough remaining time.
Maintenance plan groups are optional. Any plans that do not belong to a group will be shown standalone.
The below diagram shows just one possible example of how these three levels can be used.
Converting a service to a maintenance plan in inventory
Once maintenance plan types have been set up (see the next section), you can start creating maintenance plan services in your price book.
Inventory items of service type can be assigned a Maintenance Plan Type from the menu shown below. The service will then be considered as a maintenance plan.
In this example we have set up a price book category for maintenance plans, but this is not required - you can add plans to any category e.g. IT plans within an IT category. Any service can become a maintenance plan.
You can use Data Manager to update any existing services in bulk, by populating the Maintenance Plan Type field with the name of an existing plan type.
Maintenance plan types - configuration
Maintenance plan types are configured from the Maintenance Plan Types area of the Settings zone.
There are numerous variables that can be set on a plan type. For each plan type, think about what common factors each of the linked plans will have.
The variables are as follows:
Plan type name
e.g. Flex IT Support
Summary of plan type for your own information
e.g. Fully flexible support plan
Renewal / period for the plan i.e. how often it refreshes
Flexible Renewal Frequency
Can the frequency be changed by the user at quotation or sales order stage?
Maintenance Unit Type
The unit in which the time is sold / provided, and displayed on the maintenance tab. Note that time can be logged in any unit and it will be converted.
Flexible Unit Type
Can the maintenance unit type be changed by the user at quotation or sales order stage?
Unit quantity - The number of units per renewal / period.
Can the unit quantity be changed by the user at quotation or sales order stage? i.e. the amount of time provided per period.
Minimum quantity of units allowed for flexible quantity plans - not required for fixed quantity plans.
Maximum quantity of units allowed for flexible quantity plans - not required for fixed quantity plans.
Minimum Deductible Unit
Minimum quantity of units (i.e. amount of time) that can be deducted in one transaction (of type specified in next column), and subsequent increments - time entered will be logged in multiples of this. Unit type is defined in the next field.
Minimum Deductible Unit Type
Unit of time for minimum deductible unit.
Minimum Deductible Unit - Increments
It's possible to configure a plan so that time is deducted in increments you choose. Minimum Deductible Unit defines increments for any time logged. For example, a 15 minute minimum will allow time to be logged in 15 minute increments only. 10 minutes will be rounded up to 15 minutes, 20 minutes will be logged as 30 minutes etc.
Defining maintenance plan groups
Groups configuration is accessed from Settings - Maintenance Plan Types via the Plan Groups button.
Here you can add, rename, or delete groups. A group is defined simply as a name, with no other variables or settings.
You cannot delete a group that is associated with a plan type.
Go back to the Maintenance Plan Types view to assign a group to a type, using the Plan Group field.
Maintenance plans in the Product Browser
When you select a maintenance plan in the product browser you'll see its details at the bottom of the window. The Frequency, Unit Type and Qty values can be changed, if that plan type allows it.
You can also see these details if you edit an item on a quotation or sales order.
Maintenance frequency / maintenance plan term
It is important to consider both frequency and term when configuring plan types and plans.
The frequency is determined by the maintenance plan configuration - e.g. monthly, annually. This dictates when the allowance will refresh.
At inventory / price book level, we can assign a term to a maintenance service. This will determine the contract length.
For example, a maintenance plan with a monthly frequency and a 12 month term will refresh every month for one year.
Cases - maintenance-enabled sub-categories
Cases must belong to specific sub-categories in order to be eligible for maintenance plan time logging. The sub-category must be flagged as both Maintenance Enabled and Deductible. This is done from case category management, which is accessed from:
Settings - Case Categories
From here, click on a sub-category, and check the boxes as shown.
This can also be done with Data Manager if you are looking to update your case categories in bulk.
The following option under Settings - Company Setup - Company will cause any new case subcategories to have these boxes checked by default:
Customer Record - Maintenance Grid
The maintenance grid tab will show you details of any active maintenance plans for that customer, regardless of expiry status.
It will be auto-grouped by plan group, meaning that you can easily see the balances of each group. You can drag other column headers up to the sorting bar to group by that field.
This grid is especially useful for reviewing used and remaining time.
Any plans that do not belong to a plan group will be shown standalone.
Case View - Indicator and Plan Details
There is an maintenance plan indicator at the top of a case record. This can be clicked for a summary view of all maintenance plans for that customer.
The indicator will show green in the event that:
The customer has a maintenance plan asset AND
The case is eligible for maintenance plan time booking AND
There is time left in the plan
The indicator will show red in the event that all of these are true:
The customer has a maintenance plan asset AND
The case is eligible for maintenance plan time booking AND
There is no time left in the plan OR the customer has no active plan
The indicator will show grey in the event that the case is not time-deductible (based on case sub-category).
Logging Case Time
Please check the article on how to log case time for maintenance plan users. This covers topics such as:
Editing / deleting time entries
Actual time vs logged time
Case time notes
The following roles can be assigned to a user.
Allow Case Time Creation after Maintenance balance is exhausted
Permission to allow users to create case time even after the maintenance balance is depleted
Allow Retrospective Case Time Addition
Users in this group can log case time against an earlier date / time
Override Case Time Creation for Cases with Maintenance Type
Permission to log a “non-maintenance plan” case time entry when maintenance plan specified on case sub-category is enabled. This means that time will be logged against the plan, but no time will be deducted.
Edit Case Time Entries
The user can edit case time entries
Delete Case Time Entries
Allows the user to delete existing case time entries
Override Deductible in Case Time Entry
Allows the user to log time against a plan without deducting it.
Administrators may also wish to review the roles relating to assets, as these would allow users to amend existing plans or bypass the proper creation process:
Restrict customer asset deletions
Restrict customer asset editing
Restrict customer asset manual creation
Users with the role Allow case time creation after maintenance balance is exhausted can log time against a plan even when it is fully depleted.
Resolving Negative Case Time
Logging time into the negative may be useful as a temporary measure if you are intending to sell the customer a new plan.
In this case, once the new plan has been set up, you may wish to manually adjust the balances of the two plans accordingly.
A user with the edit role can amend the old time entry so that the plan balance is 0, and create a new entry against the new plan to replace it.
Extending a maintenance plan
Please see this article if you want to push back the service expiry on a maintenance plan.
Maintenance plan statement export
You can export a record of any time logged against particular plan. This is done from the maintenance tab of a customer record:
Export will include all time logged against that plan, whether it was deductible or not. This will show the logged time, not the actual time (for non-deductible time this will be the same).
Export - External will show only deductible time, making it suitable for sending to a customer.
You can choose a date range for time logged, or you can choose Select All to show all case entries for the chosen plan.
PDF and Excel formats are available for export.
An example PDF export is shown below.
Maintenance plan reporting
Users with the required role can access a customer-wide maintenance reporting hub from Apps.
This can be accessed from the menu along the bottom of the screen:
Click on the Maintenance app.
This app lets you access several maintenance-related reports.
Export Maintenance Plans
Shows all active maintenance plans individually, ordered by remaining time (ascending), as of chosen date.
Expired Plans by Date
Shows all plans that expired within a given period.
Maintenance Plan Non-Deductible time By Date
Shows all non-deductible time logged within a specified date range, along with selected custom field.
Maintenance Plan Deductible time By Date
Shows all deductible time logged within a specified date range, along with selected custom field.
Export customer list with selected custom field.
Export Maintenance Balances
Shows all active maintenance plans and balances, aggregated by maintenance plan group, as of chosen date.
Interested in Maintenance Plans?
If you don't currently have access to this feature, and would like to inquire, please get in touch with your contact at The Layer.