What is Parts Management for Fleet Operations?
Your fleet operation needs to know what parts are available to be able to successfully complete work orders. Implementing a parts management program can help give fleet operations real-time updates on what parts are available. It can also monitor what fast-moving parts need to have spares on-hand, which obsolete parts need to be removed from shelves, and which parts need to be re-ordered. Without a program in place, fleet operations can risk losing money by keeping too many parts in stock, or they can delay work orders from being completed by not having the right parts on-hand.
Successful parts management programs can address these needs to help fleet operations run more efficiently by making an updated parts inventory available and determining the magic number of parts to keep on the shelves.
How to Improve Your Parts Room Inventory
Reduce Inventory Time with Barcode Scanners, Organized Parts Room and Staff
Taking inventory of your parts room can be a cumbersome task for fleet operations. If done manually, it can take several employees days – or even weeks – to complete it. To improve this process, it’s important for operations to use the right tools and methods to conduct inventory.
- Organize Your Parts Room: Make the area as organized as possible to allow for easy access to parts. Categorizing the parts and placing them in specific locations can also help employees quickly locate and record the parts.
- Have a Dedicated Parts Room Staff: Having a dedicated staff work in the parts room can help keep it more organized and make inventory easier. If the employees are familiar with the room and its organizational system, it can ensure the parts are placed in their correct locations and prepped for a quick and easy inventory.
- Use Barcodes and Barcode Scanning Devices: Placing barcodes on each part can greatly reduce the amount of effort and the risk of human error during the inventory process. Once labels are placed on each part, employees can quickly scan each item to perform inventory.
Ways to Better Organize Your Fleet Operation’s Parts Room
Label Parts, Shelves and Bins to Create a More Functional Parts Room
Having an organized parts room can help your fleet operation quickly locate parts, perform faster inventory, and make it easier to monitor how quickly parts are used. It can also make it easier to designate between special-order parts, warranty claims and core parts.
- Keep Parts Off Floor and Walkways: All parts should be stored on shelves and in bins to avoid employees tripping over them. This also ensures the parts are placed in a specific location to make finding them easier when technicians need them to complete work orders, or when conducting inventory.
- Store Parts in Bins: Avoid placing parts – especially small ones – on shelves separately. Instead, store them in boxes or bins to keep the shelves organized. This will let parts room staff find the parts quickly to provide to technicians or when putting away new parts.
- Label Rows, Shelves and Bins: Label all rows, shelves and bins with a specific structure. One way to organize the parts room is to use a letter for the row and numbers for a shelving section, shelf number and bin number.
- Establish a Naming Convention for Parts: To consistently label parts, create a naming convention. This will be beneficial when entering parts into your fleet management software solution, when performing inventory and when trying to locate parts in the parts room.
- Use Barcodes: Label each part with a barcode. This will help employees quickly take inventory of in-stock parts, will help provide fast access to what parts are on-hand, and will let employees easily put parts away to their designated places in the parts room.
- Create a Special-Order Shelf: To easily identify special-ordered parts, and to ensure they are not used on another job, designate a shelf that’s only used to store special-ordered parts as they come in.
- Designate a Warranty Shelf: Parts that are being replaced under warranty should be kept in a specific area so staff members know not to use them on other vehicles. They can also be tagged with a specific color or label to identify them as warranty parts.
- Create a Core Shelf: Designate a shelf in the parts room for return core parts. Employees should include a note with each part to describe when it needs to be returned and the Credit Purchase Order number.
How to Determine When to Order New Parts
Track Inventory Turns to Save Money, Improve On-Hand Quantity of Parts
When stocking a parts room, it can take precision for parts room managers and fleet managers to determine when to reorder parts. Ordering too soon can cause operations to end up with unneeded parts and result in added expenses. However, waiting too long – especially on fast-moving parts – can leave operations without parts on-hand and can cause delays in work orders as operations wait for parts to arrive.
- Track Inventory Turns: Use calculation to determine how many times a year your fleet is turning its parts inventory. The ideal number of turns is four. Tracking this number will help operations identify if they are keeping too many parts on-hand – resulting in lower turns – and which parts are moving faster than others.
- Keep an Updated Inventory: Keeping your inventory numbers updated and accurate can help identify when specific parts are getting low and need to be re-ordered.
- Monitor Numbers in Fleet Management Software: Tracking parts in your fleet management software solution can help track what parts are available and when they need to be reordered. In some solutions, operations can set a threshold for when parts should be automatically reordered. This allows the operation to always have a certain number on-hand.
How Fleet Management Software Can Help Track Parts
Software Solutions Can Track and Reorder Parts as Needed
Fleet management software can help your operation track and re-order parts. Implementing the software enables your staff members to quickly determine how many parts are available. It also lets you automatically reorder parts and set preferred vendors.