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Barcode Inventory System for Field Service Businesses

February 11, 2023 - FSM Software - 6 minutes

Inventory management that includes a barcode inventory system can be a challenge for any field service business to implement. Whether you’re a plumber, electrician, or HVAC technician, you’ll handle various parts every day that need to be properly ordered, checked in, stored, and managed.

When looking to develop a new and better inventory management workflow, it can be difficult to know where to start. The best place to begin is with a barcode inventory system that will handle your entire process from the arrival of parts to returns from customers. 

If the software includes a barcode inventory management app, this will offer the warehouse manager the right tools to quickly scan barcodes and check in parts.

To decide what sort of inventory management software your business needs, it’s important to first understand the problems that you have with your current solution. Here are some common issues that field service businesses face when managing inventory:

  • You don’t know what (or how much) is in stock
  • It takes too long to check in new inventory
  • You don’t use up existing parts before ordering more
  • Parts are lost, broken, or stolen
  • You have to cancel work orders due to low parts availability

If that sounds like your business, keep reading to learn what can be done to remedy these problems. A barcode inventory system can help solve many of these challenges by giving you access to real-time inventory levels, barcode scanning, and a returns workflow.

stockroom with barcode system

What are the Benefits of a Barcode Inventory System?

Instant Inventory Levels

A properly implemented barcode inventory system should give your team access to instantaneous inventory levels. This means everyone can know exactly what items are in stock and how many of each item is available. 

When technicians need a part on site they could first check if it’s in stock and request it from the warehouse, instead of ordering another. Without real-time inventory levels, it’s very difficult to manage the flow of parts in your business as the system would always be one step behind.

inventory management image cta

A Barcode Inventory System App for your Stockroom

One of the major benefits of a barcode inventory system is being able to utilize the barcode already attached to a part. When parts arrive from the supplier to your warehouse, the warehouse manager will need to log all of the delivered parts. If you wish to benefit from real-time inventory levels, those parts must be added to the system when they arrive.

A barcode scanner is the quickest way to check parts into storage. Simply scan the barcode on the part to add it to the system. Through this method, you would be able to build an entire barcode library that matches up with your parts list. 

Ideally, warehouse managers will have access to an inventory management barcode app on their smartphones. This means they can see all the parts due in and out from their mobile device without carrying a laptop around the storage facility. Warehouse managers would be able to check in hundreds of parts in just a matter of minutes with their barcode stock control app. It doesn’t get much more efficient than that.

Additionally, barcode scanning can help you identify unknown parts. For example, if you’ve found an old part, but you’re not sure what it is, you could simply scan the barcode and check the system record.

If you’re struggling to move all of your inventory, consider taking on a new pricing strategy. Read this blog for information on some of the most common pricing methods in the industry.

A Barcode Inventory System App for Technicians

It’s important for your technicians to know exactly what parts they have with them. A barcode inventory system app for technicians differs from an app for warehouse managers because of the capability to see what parts are currently in their van. 

Without having to waste time physically searching in the back of their van to see if they have a certain part or not, checking their app is an easier and more efficient solution. 

Additionally, this app allows technicians to transfer parts to each other while in the field: the part doesn’t have to return to the stock room, creating a time-saving and organized process that cuts out the middleman.

barcode inventory system technician

Track Parts Everywhere

Managing inventory is only half of the problem. The ability to track multiple locations, allows you to track parts across all your warehouses as well as technicians’ trucks. Knowing which parts are in stock or on the truck, the parts that have been installed, and which have been requested from the site allows you to comprehensively manage inventory across all of your locations.

A Reliable Returns Workflow

Without a reliable returns workflow, technicians will leave unused parts in the back of their trucks. These parts often get forgotten or broken and are unable to be used later on. With the right inventory management software, returns can be monitored and technicians can even be prompted to return unused parts to the warehouse.

Increased Cash Flow

Because a barcode inventory system can stop your techs from unnecessarily ordering new parts, it can help improve your business’s cash flow. 

This allows you to reduce stockpiling by guaranteeing you use existing parts first. Additionally, proper management of returns reduces the associated expenses of lost and damaged inventory.

Improved Customer Experience

Real-time inventory levels and a streamlined check-in process can help improve customer service by letting you know if parts are available for a scheduled work order. 

With the right data, you can know in advance if parts will be ready in time for a work order and can give the customer notice if the appointment may need to be delayed. No customer likes finding out on the day that the work cannot be completed.

What is the Best Inventory Management Software?

If you’re looking to drive efficiency in your business with a new barcode inventory system, consider Commusoft’s inventory management feature, which is offered as part of our work order management software. 

It handles the entire inventory workflow, from requesting and ordering parts, checking parts in and out of the warehouse, all the way through to returns and inventory audits. 

Our software includes a barcode inventory app that allows warehouse managers to organize their daily tasks and quickly check in parts with a mobile barcode scanner. Learn more about Commusoft’s inventory management.

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Thanks for checking out the Commusoft blog - I’ve been helping business owners improve their strategies for a few years now, so I hope you were able to take something away from the content I’ve written. Feel free to continue exploring the blog - or reach out to us with any questions!

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