With the busy season coming, it’s important to make sure that your company trucks are in good mechanical condition and well-stocked with all the parts, tools, and products to make sure your technicians can perform the necessary repairs as quickly as possible and maximize their time at each service appointment. This will reduce trips to suppliers, prevent callbacks, and increase productivity during the busy season.
For a service department to run smoothly and efficiently, trucks must be well stocked with the proper tools to diagnose problems, detect dangerous conditions, and make fast accurate repairs as well as a strategic list of parts that are likely to be needed. Technicians cannot sell parts they don’t have. Too often, a technician will see the opportunity to make additional repairs or upsell but won’t because they don’t have the parts. Rather than come back later, they just don’t mention the opportunity to the client. To ensure that your techs don’t miss these selling opportunities, here is an easy plan to make sure your trucks are ready for busy season:
1. Establish a Truck Stock List
You should create a truck stock list that includes parts and supplies that each technician will need based on the technician’s level of experience, expertise or truck configuration. Since trucks may differ in their capacity for storage, you should make sure that your truck stock list takes that into consideration. Ideally, you should keep enough inventory in your trucks that the tech should only need to restock once per week during the busy season.
2. Create a Tool Requirement List
Since the HVAC industry is very tool-intensive, it is important that you establish a clear written policy of what tools your technicians are expected to own and which ones the company will provide and how those tools are to be managed and replaced on your trucks. After you have determined the tool policy, you should create a list of tools that all technicians will be required to have in their possession. This list should be determined by job title or function to ensure that your technicians have the right tools based on their knowledge, expertise and experience level.
In addition, it is important to establish rules for who is financially responsible for tools that are lost or broken. Having the correct tools and diagnostic equipment on your trucks will increase the efficiency and overall profitability of your service calls.
3. Track Inventory by Warehouse and Bin
Since the truck inventory is a big part of your business expense, it is important to track truck inventory by vehicle, warehouse, and bin location so that you can have an accurate accounting, as well as by the cost of the inventory and the labor cost to determine your overall ROI. To keep it consistent and easy to track, each truck should be organized as similarly as possible based on the experience/job title of the technician. You may consider using one of the various HVAC business management software programs that makes tracking inventory by warehouse and truck quick and easy. Through the use of these types of programs, you can easily place orders with your local Source1™ HVAC Supply Center and can reduce trips to pick up supplies, increasing your productivity and profitability. In addition, by using online software programs, technicians will be able to see what parts (and equipment) are on which trucks to make sharing resources possible.
4. A Simple Reordering System
If you use mobile software, you will have some type of automatic reordering system or reports that will make the process easy. Since these platforms are online, technicians will have instant access to the inventory re-stocking information, which will allow them to better manage their service appointments – improving productivity, shortening service call times and increasing overall customer satisfaction.
If you are still using paper, you should come up with a simple, user-friendly system for your technicians to notify the purchasing manager to place an order for parts. A simple removable labeling system for all parts on the truck could be used. When the part is used, the technician would remove the label and place it on the service order. Your office can then use the service orders to create a re-stocking list and place an order over the phone. At the conclusion of your weekly meeting, each technician can pick up their box of restock items.
For restocking purposes, keep at least one full truck list of parts in your office or warehouse. You will draw on that list as necessary to avoid ordering from a supplier more often than necessary.
Source1™ HVAC Supply has all the parts, tools and products you need to keep your trucks fully stocked throughout the year. To prepare for the upcoming busy season, visit www.source1hvacsupply.com to find your local dealer and get started with your truck stocking plan today!