By Grainger Editorial Staff 6/3/21
A well-stocked service truck can save your crew time and money. You want your technicians to have everything they need to be able to assess customers’ needs and finish the job—without making a trip to the shop.
Here are some tips for stocking contractor trucks and service vehicles so you can avoid unnecessary time-wasting trips away from the jobsite.
Take Inventory Knowing what’s on your service truck is the first step towards optimizing your inventory. Start by stripping down your service trucks and making a complete record of every spare part and piece of equipment that is currently going out on service calls.
Track What Gets On Pay attention to the parts that need constant restocking, and make a note of which ones hardly ever need to be topped up. Inventory management software can help by keeping a real-time count of parts as they move on and off the service truck.
Compare your restocking patterns against the truck’s current inventory. Chances are, you’ll find that some supplies are running low almost every day, while others can go untouched for weeks. When you decide to make changes to the mix of equipment on the truck, you’ll know which inventories need to be expanded and which can be cut.
Follow Every Failure Pay attention every time a truck returns midday to pick up a part. There might be a pattern that connects seemingly isolated failures. Maybe the trucks aren’t carrying enough of a specific part, or there could be a particular type of service call they are having difficulty handling in the field. Once you understand the reasons for resupply trips, you’ll be in a better position to prevent them in the future.
List Common Job Requirements Make a catalog of the parts and tools necessary to complete the most frequent repair jobs and installation tasks. Studying past invoices can give you an easy starting point for prioritizing your service truck’s inventory.
Make Prepackaged Kits at the Warehouse Instead of picking individual parts off the shelf for every job, consider making kits that include everything necessary to tackle common service calls. Bundling parts and equipment at the warehouse can simplify the process of stocking the truck and reduce the risk of technicians forgetting a critical part when they leave the shop in the morning.
Know What You’re Getting Into It’s impossible to diagnose an issue over the phone, but you can usually make an educated guess. Gather as much information as possible from the client before dispatching the truck. A detailed overview of the client’s problem will help your technician prepare for what the day is likely to involve.
Keep a Buffer Service calls have a way of expanding beyond the scope of the customer’s initial request. Sometimes, when your technician gets into a job, they will notice other tasks that need attention—worn parts that need to be replaced, or maintenance that is coming due. Keep a buffer stock on the truck to handle jobs that go overtime.
Stay Organized Optimizing your service truck’s inventory depends heavily on keeping the truck organized. Employee incentives can encourage drivers to keep their trucks tidy and well stocked. Small bonuses for consistent inventory management could easily pay for themselves in reduced downtime.
Standardize the Fleet If you have multiple service trucks, adopting a standardized layout can prevent confusion and ensure every vehicle has the optimal setup. A uniform storage layout will improve workforce flexibility, since workers will know where to find the necessary parts regardless of which vehicle they’ve been assigned to.
Learn more about Grainger's KeepStock Inventory Management Solutions.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.