Jun 07, 2024

How To Enhance Your Diesel Truck Repair Shop Efficiency

How To Enhance Your Diesel Truck Repair Shop Efficiency

Do you need help keeping track of parts? When you choose the right computer inventory management software, you’ll improve your heavy-duty shop’s efficiency.

Computer inventory management software: is there anything it can’t do? 

The answer, of course, is “yes.” For example, programs in this category won’t be able to help you:

  • Find your soulmate
  • Walk on the moon
  • Quit your day job and open a quaint little Italian restaurant like you always dreamed you would someday
  • Win the first-ever Nobel Prize in Heavy-Duty Shop Management
  • Understand the meaning of life

But let’s say your goals are more along the lines of “streamlining your shop’s operations” and “avoiding parts shortages.” In that case, computer inventory software may be just what you’re looking for. Keep reading for an in-depth explanation of what this software does and tips on finding an effective computer inventory management system.

The Role of Inventory Management in Diesel Truck Repair Shops

If you run a diesel shop, you’ll inevitably have a ton of parts to keep track of. That means knowing where to find these parts (and how many parts you have in stock) is vital, especially when you’re tracking parts across multiple locations. If you aren’t able to find an essential part or run into an unexpected shortage, your turnaround times and overall service quality could take a serious hit.

Do you use pen and paper to track your shop’s inventory? If so, we’re sorry to hear that. You know exactly how laborious and time-consuming this process is—and inventory management software can all but eliminate the need to do this work by hand.

Key Software Features for Diesel Truck Repair Shops

When you’re trying to choose an inventory management system for your shop, you have quite a few products to choose from. A great way to narrow down your options is to think about what these programs can do. 

The best programs in this category come with features like:

  • Real-time inventory updates. Tracking your parts throughout the supply chain is one of the most basic—and most vital—tasks that computer inventory software can perform. When you always have up-to-date inventory information, you can keep downtime to a minimum and improve customer satisfaction as a direct result.
  • Cloud-based access. Instead of tying your employees to a desktop computer, give them the freedom to check stock levels wherever they are with web-based inventory software on a tablet or mobile phone. (Also, why are you tying your employees to a computer?)
  • Comprehensive reporting. When you use the right software for inventory management, you’ll have access to in-depth statistics on how your shop uses parts. With hard data while buying new parts and estimating your costs, you can make more strategic decisions.
  • An accessible interface. Without an intuitive, user-friendly interface, even the most powerful software wouldn’t be able to deliver the efficiency benefits you’d expect. Make sure the inventory management program you choose excels in this regard.
  • A fifth, unspecified feature. What does this feature do? No one knows.

Along with everything mentioned above, you’ll want to ensure your inventory management program offers automation capabilities. Automated inventory management systems can make your shop even more efficient—in addition to saving time on data entry, you won’t have to spend time dealing with the consequences of human error.

Strategic Decision Making with Customized Reports

While the reporting features offered by high-quality inventory management software are certainly impressive, how can they help you with things such as order timing and budgeting? Here’s how these capabilities can make it easier to deal with:

Cycle Counts

Cycle counts simplify the process of parts tracking by turning this into a series of smaller jobs. Techs responsible for cycle counting will count A’s (fast-moving parts like brake shoes), B’s (parts that sell at a slower but regular rate like starters), and C’s (slow-moving parts like turbos). They’ll also examine your negative inventory, which is what happens when your inventory management process suggests you have less than zero of a specific part in stock.

Cycle counting is a great way to ensure your digital records line up with what you actually have available, but you shouldn’t have to manually complete this process too often. The best inventory management programs can build reports for your A’s, B’s, C’s, and negative inventory.

Inventory Turnover

The term “inventory turnover” simply describes how often you empty and refill your parts room over a week, month, or year. The key to optimizing your inventory turnover ratio is only buying parts you’ll actually need. 

An inventory management program can make this process much simpler. Some of these programs can even send automatic notifications when it’s time to reorder parts, making it almost impossible to run out of the parts you need.

Demand Forecasting

The average heavy-duty shop doesn’t work on DeLoreans very often, so it’s safe to assume you don’t have access to a functional time machine. You’ll have to find another way to know what parts your customers will need in advance—and that’s where demand forecasting comes in.

Put simply, demand forecasting is the process of estimating the demand for a product or service in the future based on past sales and an understanding of market conditions. Think of it as a weather forecast for your shop’s inventory, only it won’t make you cry every time you look at it! 

(Editor’s Note: This blog was written in the cold, unforgiving month of February.)

Ordering parts always involves a certain amount of risk, but digital inventory tracking can reduce that risk significantly. With access to one of these systems, you’ll be able to closely examine your shop’s sales trends (including seasonal trends) and historical data—making it easier than ever to track down the best deals and optimize your shop’s parts budget.

The Importance of Seamless Software Integration

Even if your shop hasn’t already made the switch to computer inventory management software, you probably already use at least one or two programs in your day-to-day operations. It goes without saying that your inventory management system needs to be ready to work alongside these programs.

High-quality inventory programs are capable of integrating with other software in your shop. For example, they can work with your service order software to keep track of what parts your techs use. And when this software is accessible via computers, tablets, and mobile phones, your employees will always be able to reap the benefits it provides.

Run for President a More Efficient Shop With Fullbay

At Fullbay, we believe in the power of following your dreams—just so long as you don’t overdo it. So while computer inventory software can’t (we repeat, can’t) help you throw the first pitch for your favorite baseball team or climb Mount Everest, we can (we repeat, can) help you around the shop.

Maximizing your heavy-duty shop’s efficiency is the kind of dream we can make happen. If you manage your shop’s inventory with Fullbay, you’ll be able to:

  • Set parts thresholds. When your computer inventory management software knows the maximum and minimum number of parts you want to have in stock, it can handle the reordering process for you.
  • Keep your inventory accurate. Thanks to features like cycle counting and inventory adjustments, you’ll never have to worry about your physical inventory not lining up with your reports.
  • Put the parts matrix to good use. Fullbay won’t just allow you to set predetermined parts margins and markup percentages—it’ll give you an excuse to say “the parts matrix” in casual conversation.

Plus customer communication, invoice generation, and software integration (just to name the ones that rhyme). And so much more. See? It’s the stuff of dreams.

See all these capabilities in action by scheduling a demo today!


Emilie Vecera