Tips and Tricks: 10 HVAC Inventory Management Software Best Practices

By Cristina Maria

Posted On: Posted In: Management

warehouse manager using HVAC inventory management software to organize boxes on a shelf

Any great HVAC manager knows that keeping a good inventory is the best, albeit the nerdiest, way to big profits. From properly managing inventory tax to optimizing the rate at which you send out purchase orders, there are a couple of HVAC inventory management software tips and tricks that you can use to boost your business! Read on to find out more:

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1. Accept the facts: inventory management will never be what you’d call fun.

2. Assume from the get-go that everything will devolve into chaos then create protocols that can hold up.

3. Get nerdy!

4. You’ll still need to do regular inventory checks and stock corrections.

5. Don’t fall behind!

6. Increase productivity.

7. Make use of automated workflows.

8. Create forecasts to help you predict future costs.

9. Set goals and stick to them.

10. Educate your team on prioritizing said goals.


1. Accept the facts: inventory management will never be what you’d call fun. 

But you can make it more manageable! There’s no way to sugarcoat it: inventory management is one of the more tedious parts of running an HVAC company. It’s up there with accounting and figuring out the printer. It’s admin heavy and requires a lot of attention to detail from everyone working on it, technicians included. But once you accept the fact that it’s challenging, you can get down to business and figure out a way to tackle it. For example…

2. Assume from the get-go that everything will devolve into chaos then create protocols that can hold up. 

You shouldn’t create an inventory management process that depends on everything going to plan. The classic scenario where you buy a small software that scans incoming parts and produces a spreadsheet that an assigned admin (whoever drew the short stick when office tasks were divided, we imagine) has to edit every single time a part is moved around. This, of course, is dependant on techs reporting parts that change locations and not just taking them out of the warehouse and leaving them in the back of the truck (we’re sure that never happens!).

An HVAC inventory management software that’s designed with this industry in mind, on the other hand, should allow you to create foolproof protocols. Take the last example, where technicians don’t report the parts they use. A software with an overarching design would offer the option to ask every tech, when they mark a job as done and try to close the work order, if they used any parts and if they did, which ones. Otherwise, they simply can’t mark the job as done. Simple, right?

3. Get nerdy! 

In case we weren’t clear enough about it, you need a dedicated person to take care of inventory management and they have to be at least a little nerdy – in the best sense of the word! Shop your own team if you’re not ready for a new hire but make sure you get the right person. It’s not rocket science, but no matter how good an HVAC inventory management software is, you still need a detail-oriented professional to handle it. They have to be aware of the impact stock has on an HVAC company and be ready to handle all the unpredictable ways in which confusion and errors appear. A warehouse manager needs to understand these challenges and be able to adapt, as well as make the most out of the software’s automation features. 

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4. You’ll still need to do regular inventory checks and stock corrections.

Yes, even with software. You still need the human touch and if one thing’s certain, it’s that errors often come with it. Regular inventory checks should be standard but a good HVAC inventory management software will allow you to make stock corrections with ease. Additionally, it should have access levels so that only certain users with security privileges can make said changes. This ensures that you  can trace any edits back to their authors and protects you from employees taking parts out and writing them off in the system, then selling them for their own profit. 

5. Don’t fall behind! 

Be ready for new software. Once you’ve outgrown your old solution, don’t stick around just for old times’ sake and nostalgia. And especially, don’t just stick to it because “it’s too difficult to train people again”. Clunky software is a huge time and money drain on HVAC companies. A product might have been top of the line 15 years ago, but think about how long that is in tech time. 

Just to give you an idea, Twitter wasn’t even around 15 years ago. Neither were iPhones and Mark Zuckerberg was just getting around to creating Facebook. Time goes by faster in the tech world. So make sure to stay up-to-date. Before you commit to any solution, check if they release updates regularly or if their last one was around the time of the proverbial pyramids (or 6 months ago, that is, in tech time). 

6. Increase productivity.

The purpose of software automation is to eliminate the repetitive and error-prone, aiding your team in smoothing out any troublesome processes. Inventory management is the ideal example. A money leak for many HVAC companies is keeping track of spare parts which can easily drain resources. Both overstock and understock can take up precious cash flow as well as increase the amount of inventory tax you have to pay. 

Optimizing asset management is a sure way to eliminate these minor losses that add up, making profits slip through your fingers. Reducing inventory waste, whether it’s because of theft or carelessness, is essential as it’s a matter of disciple and attention to detail, when it comes to using your HVAC inventory maintenance software. Additionally, asset optimization can help to…

7. Make use of automated workflows. 

Ordering and reordering parts is a big… well, part of inventory management. It directly impacts business cash flow so it’s vital that you manage it efficiently. Too many orders and you end up with overstock and no cash to pay for everything; too few, and your techs don’t have the parts they need to get the job done. This is where automated workflows come into place. 

An HVAC automation software with a dedicated inventory management feature should make purchase orders a breeze. If it includes specialized reordering parameters, your inventory manager can set-up the software so that it automatically sends a purchase order when there’s only a certain number of items left in stock before a previously agreed upon time. For example, the software can check everyday, at 4PM, if there are any categories with fewer than 3 items and, depending on your set-up, send out purchase orders to your preferred vendor . This way, you’re never running low on parts, but you’re also not wasting space on items you don’t need yet. 

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8. Create forecasts to help you predict future costs.

Having an HVAC inventory maintenance software also means that you can produce reports on your stock purchasing habits. These reports, in turn, are useful for spotting usage trends and building forecasts. Knowing exactly what you’re going to use and for how long allows you to plan ahead financially and even negotiate prices with vendors, who will be happy to know in advance what you’ll be buying and when. 

9. Set goals using your HVAC inventory management software and stick to them.

Reports are not just useful for spotting trends but also for setting up key performance indicators. Like any other area of your business, inventory management can benefit from selecting KPIs such as reducing asset loss, improving stock accuracy or optimizing usage. Consult your team on what they consider most important and what would be an achievable goal then you can start to…

10. Educate your team on prioritizing goals.

Product tracking is a great example. Train your technicians to understand the importance of being organized and tracking every part that they use for a job. Be empathetic in your approach and let them know that you understand they’re often under time pressure to be quick and that it’s easy to forget they took out a spare part, but these random acts of forgetfulness have a very real impact. You can even use your software to produce statistics about how much inventory errors are costing the company then go for the carrot approach and promise them that if they reduce losses, they can use the money for a team activity. 

If your HVAC inventory management software has the previously mentioned feature, where you can make “Parts Used” a required field for every work order, you’re free of this issue, but there are still many other mistakes that are uniquely due to that oh-so-common! human error and can only be prevented through professional training and attention to detail. 

Discover more about HVAC inventory management software with Commusoft’s dedicated feature. Create automated workflows and optimize your business for profit today! 

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