Keeping your service vehicle stocked with commonly failed appliance parts is a great way to ensure that you fix your customers’ appliances within one trip. Not only does a well-executed truck stock plan benefit your customer (we all know customers love fast appliance service), but it also saves you valuable time and money.
The first step to creating a successful truck stock plan is to look at your parts usage data. Export the list of parts you’ve installed in the past 6 months to 1 year from your inventory management software. Next, use a software like Microsoft Excel to determine which parts you use and how often you sell those parts.
Now that you have a list of the parts you’ve used, you’ll want to narrow it down to parts that you know you’ll sell again within the next 30-90 days. For example, if you’ve installed an appliance part 3 times in the past 6 months, it may be a good idea to stock that part on your truck. On the other hand, if you’ve only used a part once in the past year, it may not be a good idea to stock that part.
What else should I consider when creating a truck stock plan?
It would be nice if we could offer you a one size fits all “truck stock plan” to download, but there’s no single list of truck stock parts that will work for every technician. Why? Because every technician has his own list of appliance brands and types serviced.
You also have to consider your customer demographic. If you service upscale neighborhoods, then your list will include parts for different models than a technician who services the suburbs.
When you’re creating your truck stock plan, be sure to consider the following:
- Appliance brands serviced
- Appliance types serviced
- The cost of the appliance part (does the cost of the part exceed the benefit of carrying it in your inventory?)
- Always, always, always, consider YOUR usage data. Just because your technician friend insists that the LG water pump is a necessity on his inventory plan doesn’t mean that it is a necessity on YOUR plan. Perhaps that particular machine is popular in his area but not yours.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to only carry parts that you know you will cycle through your inventory every 30-90 days. When you leave parts sitting on your inventory for extended periods of time, you risk loosing money.
Aged inventory can result in:
- Low cash flow. Don’t tie up your cash in inventory that doesn’t cycle. The point of carrying a truck stock is to complete repair calls on the first trip (thus making your business more profitable). If you’re holding onto inventory that doesn’t cycle, then you’re sitting on cash (often thousands of dollars) that could be used to grow or improve your business.
- High storage and management costs. If you’re one of those technicians who can’t imagine getting rid of an old part (“Hey, I may need that someday!”), then you may be hurting your business in the long run. Excess inventory can result in high storage and inventory management costs.
- Obsolete inventory. Aged inventory often results in obsolete inventory. And, for the most part, obsolete inventory doesn’t sell. In this case, your best bet is to list the inventory on Amazon and get it out of your truck!
- Overstock of low usage parts. Paying close attention to the parts that you actually use will prevent you from restocking parts that don’t sell very often. Keep in mind, there’s no need to stock 5 Whirlpool range elements if you only sell 2 elements per month. Only stock as much as you need. And always determine need based on your actual sales number, not your intuition.
If you live in the Tampa area, you can rely on Tampa Appliance Parts to help you with your truck stock plan. Stop by today to learn more about how we can help you with your appliance parts needs.
What strategies do you use to manage your parts inventory? Leave us a comment below.