Every field service business loses millions each year just because the field service teams don’t have the right inventory. It’s a nightmare for any owner or manager of a field service business. If you are in the field service industry, you know how crucial your inventory and assets are for smooth operations. However, managing inventory and assets can be challenging, especially with unpredictable demand and multiple inventory locations.
In this article, we’ll examine why inventory matters and how to optimize it for your business.
Why do inventory and asset management matter?
Imagine your technician not having the parts they need while on-site. This causes service delays and frustrated customers, leading to missed revenue opportunities. Or, imagine piling up excess inventory that rests on your shelves, tying up capital—leading to storage costs and obsolescence.
In high-stakes field service organizations, inventory and asset management are the linchpins that make your field operations run like a well-oiled machine. Inventory and asset management is the process of planning, organizing, and controlling the resources necessary to perform field service tasks.
Effectively managing these items can reduce costs by avoiding overstocking, theft, and obsolescence. Additionally, it can improve customer satisfaction through timely and accurate service delivery.
Furthermore, it can increase productivity by minimizing downtime, errors, and rework. Finally, it can enhance safety and compliance by maintaining quality standards and regulations.
How to optimize your field service inventory levels
Use forecasting to predict demand
One of the most important aspects of inventory optimization is forecasting demand. By accurately forecasting demand, you can ensure that you have the right products and the right amount of inventory in stock when you need them. There are a number of different forecasting methods that you can use,
- Historical data analysis: This is the most common forecasting method, and it can be very effective if you have a good amount of historical data to work with—simply collect your historical sales data and identify any patterns or trends.
- Seasonal forecasting: This method is specifically designed to forecast seasonal variations in demand. It is most effective if you have a product or service with a strong seasonal pattern, such as air conditioning or snow removal.
- Trend analysis: This method is used to forecast demand based on long-term trends. It is most effective if you have a product or service with a steady trend in demand, such as smartphones or cloud computing.
Set reorder points
Once you understand demand well, you can set reorder points for your inventory items. Reorder points are the levels at which you need to reorder inventory items to avoid stockouts. When setting reorder points, be sure to factor in lead times and safety stock.
Lead times are the amount of time it takes to receive new inventory after you place an order.
Safety stock is an extra amount of inventory that you keep on hand to buffer against unexpected spikes in demand. The amount of safety stock you need will vary depending on the item, but a good rule of thumb is to have enough safety stock to cover 2-4 weeks of demand.
To set reorder points, you can use the following formula:
Reorder point = Lead time x Average daily demand + Safety stock
For example, if your lead time is 7 days and your average daily demand for a particular item is 10 units, then you would set your reorder point at 70 units (7 days x 10 units + 20 units safety stock).
Track your inventory and assets
Maintaining a balance of resource demand and supply is one of the main challenges in managing your field service inventories and assets. To achieve this, tracking your inventory levels and usage across warehouses, trucks, and technicians is important.
You can track this information using a variety of methods, such as manual inventory counts, barcode scanners, or inventory management software. By tracking your inventory and assets accurately, you can ensure that you have the right items in stock when you need them and that you can meet customer demand without overstocking or understocking.
How do you track your inventory and assets using Zuper?
Manual inventory and asset tracking methods can be time-consuming and error-prone. That’s where FSM software like Zuper takes center stage. Zuper is a cloud-based field service management software platform that can help you track your inventory and assets.
Real-time inventory tracking: Zuper tracks inventory levels in real time, so businesses can always see what inventory they have on hand and where it is located. This helps businesses avoid stockouts and ensure that their technicians always have the right parts and tools on hand to complete repairs on the first visit.
Sync with warehouse and mobile stock: Zuper can be synced with businesses’ warehouses and mobile stock so they can comprehensively view their inventory across all locations. This helps businesses to improve inventory management and avoid overstocking and understocking.
Respond to customer complaints and requests quickly: Zuper empowers technicians with detailed histories of any asset that has been delivered or installed, giving them an overview of maintenance history, when service is due, and additional parts that have been installed or replaced. This helps technicians diagnose and repair problems more quickly and accurately, leading to improved customer satisfaction.
Access the pricebook and dynamic stocks easily: Zuper’s pricebook allows businesses to set purchasing and selling prices, and its dynamic stock feature helps track every inventoried item and part used. Zuper also integrates with businesses’ CRM systems to keep their inventory data up-to-date. This helps businesses to manage their inventory more efficiently and profitably.
Seamless integration with CRM or procurement tools for reordering: Zuper can be integrated with a variety of CRM and procurement tools, such as Zoho, Zendesk, and HubSpot. This allows businesses to sync all required information with existing tools and automate their reordering process. This can save businesses time and money and help them avoid overstocking.
Overall, Zuper is a powerful field service management software product that can help businesses of all sizes track their inventory and assets more effectively and efficiently. By using Zuper, businesses can improve their first-time-fix rates, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
Field service inventory and asset management is essential for any business that wants to operate efficiently and profitably. You can reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and increase productivity by effectively managing your inventory and assets.
There are a number of things you can do to optimize your field service inventory levels, including:
- Forecasting demand
- Setting reorder points
- Tracking your inventory and assets
If you struggle to manually manage your field service inventory and assets, consider using a software product like Zuper. Zuper can help you track your inventory and assets in real-time, sync with warehouse and mobile stock, respond to customer complaints and requests quickly, access the pricebook and dynamic stocks easily, and integrate with CRM or procurement tools for reordering.