Why Your Purchasing, Parts, and Inventory Management Systems Need Automating
Inventory management is key for ensuring that your workers complete jobs successfully and on time. It is the leading factor of knowing if and when a job can be scheduling and completed. Without good inventory management of parts and equipment, jobs can be delayed. Resulting in poor customer service for clients. Warehouse stock can be managed manually on spreadsheets and whiteboards. But, manual methods like these have their limitations. Whereas automated inventory management can provide several benefits for field service operations.
Tracking Warehouse Stock in Real-Time
Warehouse stock is the source of all stored inventory required by engineers and service teams. It is where all spare parts, tools, and equipment are located. Warehouse stock can be vast and require a detailed level of inventory management. Something that manual methods just can’t provide. Although 52% of service companies still perform functions manually.
Duties of warehouse staff include:
- Identifying the location of work order parts
- Review purchasing orders
- Dealing with returns
- Tracking equipment transfers between on-site to off-site properties
With Field Service Management Software, these duties are automated. Warehouse staff can use IoT devices and asset tracking technology to track inventory. Such as barcode, RFID, and GPS systems. These digital tools make it possible to give company-wide stock updates in real-time. Allowing off-site engineers to see quantity levels of spare parts while on the job. As well as displaying purchased inventory and units allocated.
Mobile Inventory Management in the Field
Using mobile devices in the field has revolutionised the field service industry. Mobiles possess the tools to improve job scheduling and digitise job sheets. As well as improving inventory management processes. By equipping field workers with mobiles, they can view inventory data from anywhere. Simply through the use of a dedicated field service app that links to your centralised dashboard. This benefits field service operations in several ways:
Increased Communication Between Warehouse and Workers
Real-time data updates mean engineers don’t have to contact warehouses for stock updates. Typically, they would call or email office staff to enquire about spare parts inventory. Or, possibly even travel back to the premises and check inventory themselves. This would result in job delays and costly call-outs.
Detailed Inventory Management on the Go
Engineers and technicians can see what parts are available for a job and where they’re located. All while in the field or at a job on their mobile device. This ensures that your field service workers have accurate inventory management data. In 2019, a study found that 45% of mobile workforces were wasting time due to inaccurate data. Mobile apps include fields that can be searched to easily track inventory. These include searching by location, product type, quantity, and part number.
Easier Parts Ordering Process
Inventory management systems make it easier to improve the parts ordering process. Attached to each piece of equipment and spare parts is an order number. Along with either the contact details or catalogue of a supplier. This makes it possible for workers to order inventory from anywhere at any time.
Automate Inventory Purchasing System
With supplier details on hand, you’re able to automate the parts and inventory ordering process. This eliminates delays to work orders as well as making sure warehouses are fully equipped. By keeping stock optimal, engineers will always have available spare parts needed to complete a job.
The ordering process for optimal inventory management can be automated in several ways. Allowing warehouse staff, office personnel, and field workers to place orders when needed. While also maintaining a strict purchasing budget. Ensuring procurement costs don’t spiral out of control.
Another way to automate the parts ordering process is to set alerts and notifications. For instance, parts are automatically ordered from suppliers when stock levels hit a set number. Helping to replenish warehouse inventory without wasting time.
Improving Customer Service Through Inventory Management
With an automated inventory management system, your field service processes can prosper. All of which combine to improve the overall customer service experience. Ensuring your engineers and technicians provide good customer service is key. It not only improves revenue but also increases the likelihood of client recommendations.
Inventory management tools are available to field workers via dedicated mobile apps. This means that inventory data is always on hand at job sites. With access, engineers can see if the correct parts and equipment is available. Resulting in a greater possibility of a first-time fix for customers. Whereas, if the right parts aren’t available to complete a job, the work will be delayed. Meaning engineers will have to go back and complete it, resulting in higher operating costs.