Field service organizations are continuously searching for ways to bridge the gap between efficient, fix-it-first service and improving the integration of parts management and logistics.
An article on Service Management Online talks about understanding what your inventory position is and being able to react quickly to your inventory needs. Inventory needs are driven by in-field services, which first must be evaluated to determine efficiency. Customers are focused on quality and faster service, which means your organization must be prepared to meet those needs. This includes not only technicians, but also having the appropriate inventory and logistics in place to back up the technicians.
Some companies manage inventory by using only their service software rather than using the inventory system already in their ERP. While they can still accomplish the task this way, they’ll lose the ability to react quickly. It also creates purchasing issues, because although your inventory and service department will be notified about the part a technician used, it may be not as timely as it could be with an integrated system.
The Service Management Online article talks about several ways your organization can improve integration of parts and logistics. Providing an early warning system to alert technicians to inventory situations, such as the need for a replacement order, is one key point. Additionally, it’s important that management have a clear view of the entire service operation, so appropriate controls can be put in place to keep things running smoothly.
Another key point is to provide incentives to service technicians to comply with timely tracking of inventory and customer service. No matter the course of action, merging logistics and parts management requires buy-in from every level of the organization, from the service technicians to management. Streamlining inventory control, parts logistics and timely customer response can only result in a benefit for the customer, which is a benefit to your business.
Source: Service Management Online, October 2012