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In this blog post I will explain how to use a 3PL-managed site to support spare parts management for on-site service orders.

As a prerequisite, you need one site to be marked as externally-managed location with a warehouse provider assigned to:

In addition a transport lane needs to be established from this site to transport zones to ensure proper ship-from site determination in the service order.

Then, in the fine-tuning task 'Document Numbering Formats for Outbound Delivery' you need to add an entry for the 3PL-site for document type 'Spare Parts':

In case you also want to return spare parts to the 3PL site, in the fine-tuning task 'Document Numbering Formats for Inbound Delivery' a corresponding entry for 'Spare Parts Return' has to be added for the 3PL site:

Now this site can be used in the service order as Ship-From location for spare parts. Please be aware, that only item type 'Spare part - advanced ship or sales' is supported for 3PL locations, thus the 'Location of Service Provision' must be 'On-Site'.

The rest of the shipment process up to creation of a released outbound delivery follows the same steps as a normal sales order delivery from a 3PL site:

  • Service Order: Submit - Release Order

  • Outbound Logistics Control - Customer Demand: Release Order

  • Third-Party Logistics - 3PL Outbound: Delivery Proposals - Create 3PL Request

  • Create Outound Delviery:

    • via message from external warehouse provider

    • via 'New Outbound Delivery' action in 3PL Outbound: Third-Party Logistics Requests list

  • Release Outbound Delivery

Remark: The external outbound delivery ID has to follow the document numbering format specified in the fine tuning activity 'Document Numbering Formats for Outbound Delivery'.

As a result the spare parts inventory is now moved into the custodian stock of the customer. Owner still remains the company executing the service. Also, the stock type is changed from 'External Warehouse' to 'Pre-delivered'.

After service execution it might happen, that unused spare parts remain in the custodian stock. In my example only 2 ea of the 3 ea pre-delivered spare part got used in the service confirmation. Thus, 1 ea remains in pre-delivered custodian stock:

To return the goods to the 3PL site, you now have to use the common task 'New Parts Return Notification' in the 'Third-Party Logistics' work center, that will create an inbound delivery notification. This again can be sent to the 3PL service provider via XML message:

Once goods receipt is executed with reference to the notification, the remaining spare part is moved from custodian to the external warehouse stock:

Remark: The external inbound delivery ID has to follow the document numbering format specified in the fine tuning activity 'Document Numbering Formats for Inbound Delivery'.

It is also possible to return unused spare parts, that got pre-delivered from a 3PL site to custodian stock, to another site of the company and vice versa. Please ensure to use the 'New Parts Return Notification' common task in the 'Inbound Logistics' work center instead, when returning goods to a normal site.

Please also have a look at the following video.