A well-stocked HVAC service truck can make all the difference between a smooth operation and frequent setbacks. For years, at Kennihan Plumbing and Heating, we tried to get our arms wrapped around the most efficient and beneficial way to keep tabs on the inventory of our service and installation trucks. We struggled with this for a long time.

One of our best moves was to partner with our distributor — the R.E. Michel Co. – for inventory management. Their proprietary inventory software — ESP — has helped our technicians be more productive. In fact, with R.E. Michel’s help, our efficiencies increased to the point that we get one extra call per day per tech!

When we opted into the ESP Inventory Management Solution, R.E. Michel helped us go through one of our service trucks to
inventory it correctly and enter it into ESP. After that, we added all our HVAC trucks to it.

Now, when my guys are out on a service call and use a stock item from their truck — like a capacitor — they press a button on the mobile app, which deletes the item from the truck inventory, then flags our management team to reorder that part from R.E. Michel, who delivers that part back to us the next day.

We have a bin in our dock area for each HVAC truck, and R.E. Michel puts the replacement inventory in each bin. There’s no excuse for not having that or any part in that truck.

In addition, my techs no longer waste time driving to the distributor to get parts, increasing their time efficiencies and productivity.

Though this setup is specific to R.E. Michel, many systems are out there to help you manage truck inventory. If you are currently eyeballing it or leaving it up to the techs, you open the door to wasted time, which costs you money.

I think the worst thing a technician can say to a customer is that they don’t have a part and will have to come back. That opens the door for an unhappy customer who may decide to use a different company next time.

Nobody wants to lose a customer like that when it can be easily avoided by having a truck inventory control system.

Here are a few reasons why truck inventory management is so important:

  • Efficiency: A properly stocked service truck ensures technicians have the necessary parts and tools readily available, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Timely repairs and installations are crucial for customer satisfaction. The right inventory enables technicians to complete jobs promptly and effectively.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Avoiding unnecessary trips to suppliers saves both time and money. With proper inventory management, you can minimize overhead costs associated with emergency orders and rush deliveries.