Field service inventory management: Control costs and complete jobs faster

Integrate your CRM with other tools

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How to connect your integrations to your CRM platform?

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Techbit is the next-gen CRM platform designed for modern sales teams

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Why using the right CRM can make your team close more sales?

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What other features would you like to see in our product?

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How do you run a well-oiled field service business? Well, technicians need the right guidance and schedules. You might want to speed up billing cycles with automated invoicing, too. Better directions for what to do and where to, as well as seamless payments for completed projects, will save hours and days on admin. The results? More efficient work and quicker revenue collection. 

However, there’s something else to consider — a responsibility that’s easy to overlook when modernizing your processes and taking them up a notch. We’re talking about field service inventory management. Done right, it’ll keep more cash in your pocket and push assignments toward sign-off without any delays. The best work orders tell your technicians what they need to finish the job as well as what the job actually is. 

Field management software can take care of this for you. You’ll finally have an accurate, changing perspective on the tools, equipment, parts and materials due for any maintenance service. Join us for a deep dive on handling and planning inventory for your technicians, as well as billing it appropriately for the customer as you grow

Track and assess the inventory you have 

Keeping an eye on your assets is vital. Why? Because you must make good investments, never storing too much or too little of the inventory you’ll use. For example, there’s no point paying for a warehouse that you barely visit. Those assets can depreciate over weeks and months, making them less effective or valuable for resale. Plus, your contractors have to know that specialist equipment is available. They’ll waste hours on the road trying to pick up enough inventory or leaving jobs to find it. 

So, you have to understand which assets are paying off, where they’re stored and whether technicians are stocked up for unique service requests. 

Consider the following inventory categories: 

  • Maintenance, repair and operation (MRO): Your primary tools for preventive and emergency work e.g., screws, wrenches, cutters, spare filters and other replacement components. 
  • Packing materials: Protections for MRO inventory en route to the customer e.g., bubble wrap, boxes and specialized casings. 
  • Safety stock: The warehouse inventory you’ll keep in case of a sudden spike in certain service requests. 

You might need more of some inventory and less of the rest. Also, it’s worth thinking about whether you have enough for ongoing and critical maintenance? To find out, do a “cycle count.” This breaks your inventory up into chunks for assessment, prioritizing your most profitable assets first. You can count these items more regularly and only look at others several times a year. It’s a great way to ensure your inventory stays manageable. 

Mobile field service software can also reveal which field service assignments are bringing in the most cash. Once you match those work orders to the most popular, useful inventory, you can determine your cycle count priorities. 

Give workers what they need in the field 

Once you’ve optimized inventory levels by focusing on what you really need, it’s time to improve scheduling. Your employees in the field will work faster and more effectively when they’re never lacking tools, spare parts and materials. Your customers will appreciate it, too. If technicians know exactly what to take on site, they can stick to their schedules and completion targets. 

All of this relies on how you create and share a work order. Pen and paper directions just aren’t enough anymore — especially with mistakes and bad handwriting. Instead, you should automate work order generation with templates, set prices and inventory checklists. A top-tier field management platform lets you generate schedules with assignments that every technician can finish in one visit, whether they’re heading to several sites nearby or preparing for a big project. You don’t have to keep writing the same work orders and inventory notes. The software does it for you. 

Digital work orders should be able to show: 

  • Customer service histories, explaining what inventory was used and whether it was effective. 
  • The list of available tools and parts you have and where to find them. 
  • Which assignments are the most critical and where to go next.

Meanwhile, software helps your field technicians and office staff communicate instantly. If they need anything from each other, they can ask a question instantly. This is super useful for inventory demands that can (and will) change on a dime. 

Automate service billing and charge for consumables 

Before we go, let’s discuss one more part of asset management: how much you’re charging for materials and components on the job. 

Too many field service businesses try to track these expenses on paper or Microsoft Excel, which means they can easily lose a work order or inventory adjustment log. They can also run into trouble by billing the wrong customer for someone else’s service request. It’s a recipe for aspirin as well as lost earning potential.

A solution like Operix — the industry leading field service management software with integration for QuickBooks Online — makes billing far simpler and more reliable. Every work detail, from the field inventory consumed to project timeframe, is calculated for the final bill. Once approved, this bill is sent directly to QuickBooks for instant invoicing. As a result, you’re accounting for the inventory you’ve used and avoiding any mistakes. The customer sees it, agrees and pays. 

Field service inventory management becomes stronger with Operix for clearer processes, real-time insights and quicker billing cycles. Give it a try today — we have a free demo for you. 

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