Most fleet managers understand the value of an efficient, integrated vehicle parts inventory system. Nevertheless, improving parts inventory—the foundation of any parts management system—is often given a lower priority than other vehicle maintenance operations due to the perceived tediousness of the task.
The irony is that this tedious job “offers the fastest return on investment in information technology,” Charles Arsenault, the President of fleet management software developer Arsenault Assocs., told Fleet Owner Magazine. When businesses transition to shop management software systems, “the first thing they want is vehicle maintenance tracking, then automated repair orders and PM scheduling,” explains Arsenault. “Parts inventory has a much lower priority.”
Business owners and managers looking to identify systemic problems and optimize IT solutions should keep these 4 parts management steps in mind, as outlined by Government Fleet:
- First look internally and start with parts inventory for the fastest ROI
- Consider what you can do better, faster, and less expensively in-shop
- If changing a process will result in greater efficiency and service, try this first
- Lastly, outsource if you must for the benefit of your clientele
Making the Right IT Investments with Vehicle Parts Inventory Software
The largest hurdle to parts management in the beginning is setting up the right automated program. Web-hosted services make it practical for small businesses to have a parts management system for a monthly fee without making any other IT investments; mobile apps and telematics now offer technological solutions beyond scanners that read barcodes or QR codes.
Last year, TMW Systems introduced cloud-based maintenance software called FleetCheck, which is aimed at smaller fleets whether they outsource repairs or do the work themselves. The FleetCheck software, according to Transport Topics, is being heralded as a more cost-effective option that enables users to avoid the hardware and related investments often required by on-premises software. The FleetCheck software works both for businesses that outsource their vehicle maintenance (the software integrates preventative maintenance schedules, fuel usage, and warranty recovery for fleets), as well as handles parts inventory, labor tracking, and more.
“The advantage we see in the marketplace over other smaller maintenance systems is we are preconfiguring this solution,” Scott Vanselous, executive vice president of TMW, told Transport Topics. “We can deploy a non-shop solution in less than a week and the shop solution in two weeks. We do this through a preconfigured template, so the overall cost to that fleet is aligned with their cost structure.”
Making the Right IT Investments with Vehicle Parts Inventory Apps
Part of TMW Systems’ maintenance software for smaller fleets includes TMW Parts Room app for users of its TMT Fleet Maintenance software. With this new mobile app, parts managers or other employees can use an Android or iOS device to perform a complete physical inventory for the parts room, or narrow the list by bin, part number range, or part type, points out Truckinginfo: “Filters are available, such as uncounted parts, or parts that show a quantity variance. Users also can scan the part number for lookup in conjunction with an inventory adjustment.”
Today there are countless cloud-based software programs and apps to assist with parts management. Choosing the IT investment that will offer the fastest ROI for your company, however, begins with vehicle parts inventory.