Trunk stock is a necessity among service, sales and repair professionals, but many fail to understand its significance to a company’s profit margins. Trunk stock refers to the inventory professionals must keep on hand when making calls in the field, and that is why effective spare parts inventory management is a must.
For example, high-tech electronics’ repair professionals may need to keep extra spare parts with them to facilitate rapid repair or replacement. However, maintaining spare parts inventory management when dealing with trunk stock comes with both opportunities and challenges, and you need to know understand what they mean for your company’s profit margins.
Trunk Stock Benefits
Trunk stock helps your customer service representatives and technicians keep your customers happy and satisfied. It is the mobile inventory that was historically kept in the “trunk” of service professionals’ vehicles. Nowadays it’s not uncommon for technicians to keep stock in vans or small trucks. Maintaining a supply of trunk stock also offers the following benefits:
- Trunk stock increases visibility in the field. Field techs may need hundreds of different spare parts over the course of a day, and going between a customer’s home and the office on each call is a waste of resources. In fact, service professionals can see exactly what they do and do not have on hand. So, they can reorder spare parts and restock the “trunk” as needed.
- Trunk stock reduces downtime. When a technician or device professional needs a part, it needs to be immediately accessible. If trunk stock is missing something, it could lead to additional downtime for customers and lousy revenue when considering labor costs.
Trunk Stock Challenges
Trunk stock also comes with some challenges, which include the following:
- Trunk stock drives up inventory costs. Since a technician tends to keep plenty of spare parts on hand, each service vehicle may have dozens more parts than are used within a given time. So, the inventory is just sitting there. You’ve incurred the cost of purchasing the inventory without using it leading to immediate revenue generation.
- Trunk stock may not be accounted for. As technicians are focused on correcting customer’s problems, they lose track of exactly how much inventory they have on hand. They may know they have the parts they need, but they do not know the exact number of parts and their cost. Thus, these assets may not be included in quarterly statements or other inventory tracking systems.
What Can You Do to Improve Trunk Stock Spare Parts Inventory Management?
The solution to the nightmare conundrum of whether to use trunk stock or not lies in working with a third-party service provider, such as Flash Global, a company that readily provides OEM-authorized spare parts and manages that inventory through forward stocking locations (FSLs). This keeps the inventory closer to the end-user, while eliminating the challenges of traditional trunk stock management or lack thereof.
Since the FSL manages the inventory, your organization can take advantage of the following benefits:
- Reduced costs – The FSL effectively reduces the costs of inventory management by eliminating over- or under-stocking of the parts needed to continue providing timely service to your customers.
- Increased visibility – Having a third-party provider manage the process increases the visibility into spare parts inventory. Since inventory is managed externally, the outside party has a vested interest in keeping a stringent account of which spare parts are available or not available, reducing errors in purchase orders and promoting compliance with applicable statutes governing the type of spare parts used.
- Decreased theft – The stock room is controlled completely, only allowing access to authorized professionals and keeping spare parts from becoming shrink statistics.
- Less risk to climate-sensitive parts, such as electronics. Extreme temperature changes or moisture can damage sensitive equipment, so third-party management keeps most inventory in a climate-controlled, secure environment.
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