Here is the second in a series of articles looking at the fundamentals of Service Management and why service managers should think differently about their business.
In the last article, we looked at smart scheduling and its critical dependence on inventory management for increasing field service productivity and ‘first time fix-rates’. Now we take a deeper dive into real-time inventory management and how it can be transformational for service-based organisations; increasing the efficiency of back-office, warehouse and field engineers; reducing stock loss and over-ordering and its ability to improve a company’s cash flow.
We know that efficient stock control increases ‘first time fix rates’ by ensuring engineers have the right parts, in the right place, at the right time – of course, that’s easier said than done.
What value of stock do you hold; where is it? What parts are in your warehouse, in your engineers’ vans, or at individual sites? Have the parts ordered for a job been received, ready for scheduling? When should you replenish regularly used items? Without the right tools in place, these are challenging tasks for service managers and planners to manage efficiently.
With a real-time inventory management system these complex tasks are managed with simplicity.It speeds up the whole process from the work queue to parts ordering, scheduling and invoicing, having a positive impact on efficiency and cash-flow, as well as customer experience.
Having complete visibility and accurate valuations of service and maintenance parts held at every location, including valuable van stock, ensures you order only the stock you need and reduce costs created through stock loss and over-ordering – an issue most service management companies struggle with.
An inventory management system is at its most powerful when combined with seamless integration with supplier’s catalogues and ordering systems, in-field quotation and your purchase order and invoicing systems.
Advanced inventory management systems like Aeromark seamlessly automate the entire process of ordering, tracking and reserving stock for customer jobs.Warehouse staff pick and despatch stock using ‘Picking List’ software on a tablet.When parts are despatched from the warehouse, jobs move automatically from the planners work queue for scheduling. Crucially, planners have clear ‘at-a-glance’ visibility of the status of all jobs, including stock status and location from an intuitive, visual interface.
Inventory and scheduling mean more completed jobs at better margins and increased profits.