The unpredictability of the field service industry has made the management of parts and equipment a difficult task. In addition, having access to the right parts or equipment in a timely manner is another critical issue that field technicians deal with, greatly affecting their customer service. This article discusses tips for how field service businesses can always stay prepared when an important piece of equipment or specific part is needed right away. In addition to investing in a reliable inventory management system, these tips aim to equip your company with the solutions necessary to deal with any logistical problems that may arise.
Familiarize Yourself with Return Policies
In the instance where equipment needs to be repaired or replaced, it is always critical to be aware of return or exchange policies for all equipment and parts. Especially if you are dealing with suppliers you are unfamiliar with, make sure to learn the specific return policies as well as the costs, estimated delivery times, and current inventory stock they may have. This will better prepare you in the case of an emergency, and provide you with the information needed before a crisis even arises.
Learn Where all Delivery Centers are
Being aware of the locations of all delivery centers is another strategy that may be useful. Go beyond learning your specific city and find out if there are delivery centers in nearby towns that you can take advantage of. Parts are ordered and delivered to certain warehouses that may or may not have the specific pieces you need. Rather than waiting for delivery, consider sending technicians to nearby delivery centers to pick up parts and facilitate the completion of work orders. Although it is not a guarantee that your specific needs will be met, having a wide array of options will always be beneficial to your company in the long run.
Utilize Last-Minute Delivery Services
Catering to all types of businesses, last-minute delivery services can be extremely useful during tight timelines. Often these global supply chain management companies specialize in last-minute deliveries or overnight deliveries that can help you get your piece of equipment or part in a few hours. These delivery services are best utilized to accommodate emergency repair or maintenance.
Because many of these companies offer a unique service, they are much more expensive than traditional delivery services. Make sure you are using a reputable company to make the most out of your money. One way to determine this is whether or not they offer an around-the-clock call center and offer after-sales support. A reliable call center and support team is one sign of a reputable company. These call centers are able to track the delivery of your parts, and can let you know when you will be receiving specific parts. By making the extra effort, specialty delivery services allows your company to ensure timely and reliable customer service and increases the chance for repeat business.
Despite how prepared your company may be, utilizing a delivery service or last-minute equipment pick-up is inevitable, and the goal must be to minimize its use. One way to effectively deal with inventory and equipment is through a management software or system. Depending on the size of your business, there are countless mobile apps that can be used for smaller companies, with larger and more sophisticated software available for larger companies. A variety of management systems can be used to ensure that all pieces of equipment are tracked, drilling down to each specific piece through serial codes. In addition, a well-organized inventory and equipment system allows you to know where everything is – whether in the warehouse or out in the field with a technician – in a matter of moments. This mitigates the risk of slow customer service and provides businesses with instant data that informs service managers and technicians whether it is necessary to order new parts or equipment. For more, see our Top 10 HVAC Software Solutions and our Top 10 Construction Software Solutions.
When selecting the right management system, consider ones that integrate far more than just equipment. Many options have the ability to improve communication, streamline work processes and enhance overall customer service. There are plenty of software that can now be used to track equipment locations, scheduling optimization and inventory management. In addition, a variety of systems are able to automatically order and replenish parts when it is running low. Implementing a complete software solution to manage equipment is necessary to facilitate a successful field service businesses. Additionally, having back-up plans in place can also help mitigate any logistical issues you may encounter.