Motorola's future of warehousing study predicts that 66% of retailers have invested significantly in warehouse and inventory management systems.
Think of an ideal world where field agents walk onto customers' doorsteps with everything required in hand or in the truck, with parts accurately kept track of and jobs performed with no delays—all ensuring complete customer satisfaction. It sounds dreamlike.
But in reality, there are many obstacles that accompany inventory management, especially if you are managing it manually. The obstacles may range anywhere from global supply chain disruption and lack of inventory oversight to the inability to track inventory consumption and stay on top of perishable consumables.
Luckily the modern world has also provided new solutions to these old problems. Technological solutions, like field service inventory management systems, can help you optimize business operations and increase efficiency.
In this article, we'll talk about how an inventory management system helps FSM businesses streamline their processes, shorten their service delivery cycle, make their employees' lives easier, and, most importantly, improve the customer experience.
What is field service inventory management?
Field service inventory management is a process of keeping track of every tool and spare part used by the field staff to perform their job. By using inventory management, you can record all the transfers, consumption, and adjustments made—providing you with a much better picture of who has what.
Unlike a traditional inventory management system, the field service inventory management platform enables you to automate the whole cycle of inventory operation with just a few clicks. In addition to tracking and managing spare parts, inventory management offers a number of other benefits. Let's take a closer look at them.
7 Benefits of field service inventory management
Inventory management platforms offer many benefits, such as reduction of costs and other expenses, prevention of overstocking, real-time tracking of inventory, and improved customer satisfaction. With inventory management, you can streamline the communication between field technicians and the warehouse, allowing more transparency over your flow of inventory.
Now, let's explore the various benefits of field service inventory management.
1. Minimize overstock and excess inventory
Reducing overstocking can lower your inventory costs by up to 10%. Imagine, what if the 10% of your stock value was no longer resting on the shelves but was put to use elsewhere that could bring in revenue. With a proper inventory management system, you can have real-time visibility of spares and where they are located, and their movements. By avoiding excess, you can cut costs and focus on other aspects of your business.
2. Prevent service bottlenecks and delays
If you can’t find a part, you can’t solve a problem. Limited visibility of inventory makes it harder than necessary to find what you are looking for. Inaccurate ordering and procuring an additional part—unnecessarily—leads to delays that could have been avoided; it also leads to lower customer satisfaction. Effective inventory management makes it easier to see what is there in stock and where and what isn’t. Better inventory tracking reduces delays and helps alleviate bottlenecks.
3. Enhance cash flow
Overstocking inventories can cut your cash on hand and increase associated costs like carrying costs and warehouse fees. Inventory management helps to “right size” what you order and what you keep on hand, and it helps to even your cash flow in the process.
4. Monitor stock levels proactively
Think of a situation where you don't have the required parts. How long will it take to get them, and at what cost? Not having a critical part could take days or even weeks to replace. With an inventory management system in hand, you will receive instant notification whenever the stock quantity falls below the threshold limit. Being notified you need to reorder enables a minimum level to be maintained, which in turn allows you to have the parts you need when you need them.
5. Optimize the storage space
Every square foot of warehouse matters. And overstocking put you at financial risk. Not only are you paying the additional cost to buy and store parts you don’t need, but now you have to contend with things like theft, deterioration, and perhaps even obsolescence! Using your space efficiently is important if you are to properly manage your stock and save on costs, and an inventory management system can help prevent overstocking. Tracking your warehouse stock levels is not only simplified but optimized as well.
6. Improve the customer experience
An ideal field service business relies on being at the right place at the right time. But you also need the right parts. Inventory management allows field technicians to access all the information on parts inventory that they need in real-time. This helps eliminate procurement delays and allows field agents to complete jobs in a timely manner—resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
7. Simplify the reordering process
Disconnected inventory management is detrimental to your bottom line. When you have little to no oversight on existing stock levels, you may end up placing multiple orders for the same item leading to overspending and overstocking. With an inventory management system by your side, you can get a bird’s eye view of your stocks in real-time in multiple locations under a single dashboard.
How Zuper can help inventory management
From customer satisfaction to achieving organizational goals, inventory management is a critical aspect of every field service business; choosing the right solution can help you increase inventory visibility, track the movement of spare parts, and stay on top of your customers' needs.
Zuper is a field service management platform that connects your business to field teams, dispatchers, inventories, and the back office, all under a single platform. With Zuper, you can automate scheduling and dispatching, streamline workflows, and optimize your field operations. Here are seven key features of inventory management software.
1. Sync with warehouse and mobile stock
With Zuper’s inventory management system, you can access an overview of every spare part from any mobile device. By syncing the warehouse stock with the mobile app, field technicians can access all the information regarding available spare parts, speed up service delivery, and increase first-time fix rates by eliminating procurement delays.
Additionally, when a spare is used, inventory data gets updated in real-time so that the back office can reorder as necessary and keep inventories well stocked.
2. Enjoy the capabilities of a rich inventory search
Zuper’s easy-to-use mobile apps empower field technicians to access information regarding inventories and spare in real-time. With rich search capabilities, technicians can easily find the parts they are looking for by entering the name, serial number, or ID—all without any hassle.
3. Respond to customer complaints and requests quickly
Zuper empowers your technicians with the detailed history of any asset that has been delivered or installed, giving you an overview of maintenance history, service dues, and additional parts that have been installed or replaced.
4. Access the pricebook and dynamic stocks easily
With our pricebook, you can set purchasing and selling prices to gain insight into the inventory cost flows without requiring any additional accounting software tools. Dynamic stock helps you keep track of every inventoried item and part used. Additionally, your CRM is kept up-to-date with the more recent details of your current stock levels automatically with bi-directional sync.
5. Setup role-based access and conditional workflows
Role-based access control (RBAC) ensures that employees only access information that is required by their jobs and restricts them from accessing information that they do not need. In addition, you can set up conditional workflows to execute when certain conditions are met.
6. Real-time visibility into financial and inventory KPIs
With real-time visibility, you’ll get actionable insights on your financial and inventory-related KPIS. These may include aspects like purchasing and selling the price of assets, loss from perishable goods, and reducing the time spent on tallying inventory. What’s more, it can even increase the accountability of your field techs with a comprehensive view of inventory data.
7. Seamless integration with CRM or procurement tools for reordering
Zuper can be tailored to fit your various business requirements. Using our APIs you can seamlessly integrate an existing solution, such as Zoho, Zendesk, and HubSpot with Zuper. Syncing all required information with existing tools and automating your reordering process becomes simple.
Field service inventory management helps you track every part you own. A robust inventory management system enables you to cut costs, minimize overstocking, prevent procurement delays, and deliver an exceptional customer experience.
With Zuper, you can automate scheduling and dispatching, minimize downtime, and improve the efficiency of your field operations. Our easy-to-use field service inventory management software is the solution you need to increase productivity and achieve your business goals. Schedule a demo today to see how our inventory management feature can help you deliver a streamlined inventory management experience from end to end.