7 Ways Stock Control Database Software Can Revolutionize Your Business
June 16, 2021 - 10 minutes
Stock control management is a nightmare for many field service businesses. That’s why stock control database software is becoming more and more essential. After all, these systems centralize valuable parts data, and some can even automate orders. If you want to reshape your parts operations, keep reading.
Let’s review 7 features you should include in your digital stock management solution.
Knowing your stock inside out is nearly impossible without stock control database software. Each minute of the work day counts. Time spent searching for parts, stockpiling inventory, and losing parts eats away at both productivity and profits. Controlling all aspects of your stock is necessary for growing your business.
Real-time knowledge of company stock matters. Improving efficiency and supporting team synergy is where stock control database software shines. At the least, you should know which parts are reserved, are being returned, and what your next order looks like. With real-time inventory updates, your team can stay ahead of the curve and prepare for anything.
When technicians need a specific part, they won’t need to call the back office or check the stockroom themselves. Up-to-date stock data will be available from their smartphone to instantly show them if and where they can find the part. For your business this means less admin time and consistently using existing stock before purchasing more. For your customers, it means faster job completion and ultimately greater satisfaction.
Of course, your stock control database also comes in handy when the required parts are not currently available. Knowing for certain that the part is out of stock gives you the confidence to put in an order.
This takes us onto the next essential feature of a stock control system – automatic reordering.
Automatic Reordering To Stay Prepared
Many aspects of the ordering process are out of your hands. While your team can’t control how long it’ll take for a part to ship and arrive, you can cut unnecessary time wasted when placing a typical order. If your technicians don’t have the right parts, at the right time, your customers will book future jobs with competitors who are better prepared. Put yourself in their shoes; wouldn’t you do the same?
The more streamlined your ordering process, the better. Stock control database software should cut down on ordering time to best serve your stockroom manager and team. An automatic reordering system is a fantastic way to ensure that the standard parts your team utilizes will always be available.
For example, you could set your software up to always keep a stock of 10 blue widgets and 20 red widgets. As soon as the stock level drops below those numbers, the system automatically orders more in your pre-defined quantity. This automated tool guarantees that essential, everyday items will always be available for your team.
Automatic reordering optimizes jobs where technicians need to have the right parts upon arrival. But these jobs aren’t the only situation your company will face.
This leads us to our next stockroom database system feature: purchase orders.
Purchase Orders In The Field
A call-out, or diagnosis job offers another avenue to utilize the full capabilities of a stock control system. In these situations, there’s a reasonable chance your technician won’t have the correct part in their truck or in the stockroom. To get that part to the customer as quickly as possible, technicians need to be able to place orders when they’re in the field with minimal effort.
For some businesses, technicians may need to call the office, relay the request to the stockroom, and wait for the order to process. This process relies on several people per order. Of course, this adds avoidable time to the workflow and delays the job’s completion, resulting in a less happy customer.
An optimized system will look like this: A technician needs a part for a job, so they order it right away using their mobile phone app, with the costs and PO record logged against the job. They then have the best chance for the part arriving sooner and completing the job.
Once ordered parts arrive, it’s vital that your stockroom manager has a smooth workflow and the supporting tools to get everything inputted correctly.
Mobile Barcode Scanner For Easy Check-Ins
A long and tedious parts check-in system leads to mistakes. A barcode scanner, acting as a further extension of your stock control solution, can be a tremendous time-saver. If you’re imagining a handheld scanner like those at a grocery store, you’re thinking too big. A barcode scanner on a mobile app is an efficient and economical solution that can improve your parts check-in process.
When new parts arrive, instead of manually recording data on a spreadsheet (or even worse, a paper-based log), this lightweight solution allows your team to scan the part’s barcode, select the quantity, and add it to your inventory. Checking in a new part should be easy too. After the first scan, you assign the barcode to the new part and the system will now recognize it going forward.
With an intuitive barcode scanner built-in to your stock control system, your stockroom manager can check in new deliveries and stock in moments. Plus, all newly checked in parts will automatically sync to your database, meaning your up-to-date stock levels will be accessible to your office staff and technicians right away.
Checking in stock is only part of a stockroom manager’s responsibilities, once everything has arrived it needs to be organized.
Efficient Picking Lists
When parts arrive and are checked in, transitioning them from your stockroom to your technician’s trucks takes up a lot of admin time. Managing this movement via spreadsheets can be a time-consuming and chaotic process. But it doesn’t have to be this way. A stock management software can accuratelyfacilitate inventory from your stockroom to your company fleet.
Think about it, shortening the transfer time means your team can get on the road quicker, and have the capacity to complete more jobs.When parts need to be moved from the stockroom to your technicians’ trucks, your team can stay on schedule with easy-to-build picking lists.
Picking lists bring accountability and organization to your stock management. By having a location assigned to each list, like “Stockroom”, or “Tony’s truck”, your stockroom manager can oversee the correct movement of parts to various locations.
Building a picking list should be easy too! For example, if the stockroom manager can see all the parts needed by technicians, by date, they can build a list for each technician. All that’s left to do is to prepare the necessary parts for the technician. When the technician arrives at the warehouse, they’ll need to confirm that they have collected the parts.
This stockroom database management system logs the transaction and transfers the parts from the stockroom to the technician’s truck.
By supporting the ability to build customizable picking lists, your stock control database software can streamline a vital aspect of your day-to-day stockroom workflow and get parts out to technicians quickly. Once that’s done, it’s then essential to give your technicians thorough insight and control over the stock that they are storing in their trucks.
Track What’s In Your Trucks
Technicians play a vital role in stock management, and they deserve to be ingrained in your inventory operations. Fully involving them with stock control, with all important data accessible on their smartphones, will further increase productivity.
A stock control database system that supports multi-location functionality should empower technicians to track exactly what is in their truck and give them the power to make transfers while out on the road. Forgoing the picking list process, if Tony the technician needs a part for the job, and knows Bill, another technician, has the part in his truck nearby, they can meet up. They can exchange the part, then record the transfer within the company database using their smartphones. Tony doesn’t have to drive all the way back to the stockroom, and can install the part and complete the job quickly.
Of course, sometimes parts go unused and may not be required for other jobs, which is where our final feature comes in – streamline stock returns.
Streamlined Returns Workflows
How often are you returning parts? Never, or rarely returning parts to vendors can be the result of two situations. The first means that your stock control solution is currently working well enough to limit overstock. Awesome! The second indicates that your current stock control database isn’t accounting for lost parts and backstock. Piles of unused parts at the back of your stockroom is a costly use of both your stock and company budget.
Equally, when parts are left in trucks too long, they’re prone to becoming lost or broken. Across your company fleet, if left unmanaged, this practice will chip away your company profits.
With the right software, you can mark items for return, track their progress and current status, plus communicate with vendors too. By ensuring a transparent returns process, you stand a better chance of completing the return and recouping your investment.
The ability to both easily and accurately return unused parts to vendors should be a regular aspect of your stock control management system. Stock returns software will support your company’s growing cash flow and help your team keep track of every part.
Let’s wrap up…
A dependable stock control database software functions as an essential assistant to your stockroom manager and team. As your business continues to grow, you can stave off the common stock pitfalls and problems that field service businesses face. Instead, your stockroom and parts management systems will remain organized and uncomplicated.
As covered above, 7 revolutionary features to include are…