Auto mechanic adding a clamp to a hose in a car engine

Take 3 Headaches out of Automotive Inventory Management

Face it, you can only keep so many pieces of information in your head. Do you really want to use valuable storage space in your brain when your shop management software does it better? Of all the tasks where you need that type of technical support, automotive inventory management tops the list.

High-powered auto repair inventory management software keeps track of fulfillment status and price markups for you. As a result, you and your staff track fewer time-eating details, which saves time, stress and mistakes. That translates into a better customer experience.

The trouble with automotive inventory management

For years, shops have tried to find the right balance between getting the parts your techs need – when they need them. However, it’s tricky to keep stocked without spending too much on parts that you’ll take years to use. How can you predict how many makes of each car will come into your auto repair shop?

This has been an age-old problem that was debated at AAPEX back in 2002. However, 20 years ago, shops didn’t have the sophisticated shop management systems we have today. We’ll take a look at the top three hassles and how to wisely keep pace with automotive inventory management.

1. Sidestep stock shortages

Running short on auto parts makes it more difficult for your techs to stay productive. Even worse, it can lead to conflict with service advisors who have to report delays to customers. Meanwhile, advisors and parts managers track stock-keeping units with your automotive inventory management software based on turnover, age and versatility. Ideally, they will use automated inventory control to reorder parts before they run out.

While many automotive parts departments do physical inventory counts annually, times have changed. Instead, reconciling stock more frequently via cloud-based automotive inventory management software can help you ensure accurate inventory. In the long run, it reduces the odds of running out of the parts you need most.

With Shop-Ware’s auto repair inventory management software, shops can automatically track parts on repair orders within one of three states:

  1. Not on premises, not on the way

  2. On the way

  3. On premises

Next, stocked parts that are kept in inventory get sorted into one of three states:

  1. Below stock, not on the way

  2. On the way

  3. Stocked at proper level

This tracking happens for every single part on every single repair order. Each state is color-coded in the UI and easily batched to take action, making sense of the complex puzzle.

2. Train your staff to succeed

As one of our veteran shop owners pointed out, “No university offers a degree in parts management.” That means that shops need to train their employees on automotive inventory management within their own software.

Shops could just show a new employee a shop management system and expect them to learn the software alone. However, investing in training early pays off with more accurate orders and less stress for everyone. While auto inventory management can seem simple, organizing, forecasting and keeping track of your parts requires many skills and expertise. For example, some auto repair software requires users to type in the exact name of a part to get a match.

Some shops go as far as hiring parts managers and workers that specialize in certain makes and models. Yet, most shops count on a smaller team to run their shop management software. Either way, investing time in onboarding your team to your auto repair software pays off in the long run.

Shop-Ware prides itself on making sure every team member knows how to use its shop management software with robust onboarding. Afterwards, its support team is always ready to step in and offer more advice. Its automotive inventory management software goes one step further to make it easy to use.

View stocked parts and inventory control:

  • Scan across your inventory to see what’s missing
  • Order directly by vendor
  • Organize your inventory by location
  • Perform audits at any time
  • Analyze stocking quantities based on recent turnover
  • Look at purchase history for any part
  • Follow numbers back to every single repair order for warranty or quality control issue

At any time, you can export your entire inventory to sort and analyze it independently from Shop-Ware’s interface. Your staff will never work another Saturday on overtime again.

Just as with individual parts, your cores are a quick search away, and returning and tracking returns is finally made simple.

Create and track cores for all your parts:

  • Do this automatically when you order from an e-commerce partner.
  • View and track your cores and core returns.
  • Create return orders and track their status.
  • Complete all these tasks without printing any paper or managing files.
Two auto repair techs checking notes on a computer screen

3. Track automotive inventory storage better

When you have large inventories, poor storage can lead to a wide range of problems. Just tracking and storing where parts are located can throw a wrench in your overall profitability.

Setting up proper processes and ensuring everyone follows them gets you off to a great start for a well-managed inventory. For starters, placing the most commonly used parts in the most accessible areas will save you time and headaches later. In addition, laying out your storage so that parts are organized and placed in the most productive way also helps.

However, a shop management system that creates a smooth workflow makes it much easier as well. Within Shop-Ware’s auto repair software, you can see the parts order status on each repair order. Simply view the order status on individual repairs to see what’s missing and order directly within your auto repair inventory management software. That means you never overlook a part again.

Even better, parts statuses update live in real time, as changes occur on each repair order. Staff can visualize the part status across all repair orders in the shop or within your assigned group. That way, they can respond quickly when needed and rest easy when parts flow in as required. After that, they know when to dispatch jobs as ‘ready to start,’ which need parts, and which need immediate attention.

Two extra automotive inventory management bonuses:

Shop-Ware has you covered by offering additional elements of its shop management software so parts ordering goes more smoothly. As a result, your customer gets quicker service and you earn larger profits.

eCommerce integrators

Shop-Ware supports online vendor purchasing across these integrators: PartsTech, WHI NexPart, MyPlace4Parts, Parts Authority and directly to WorldPac on SpeedDIAL. It also houses a Native Parts Catalog so you can see stock from multiple vendors on one screen.

In all cases, Shop-Ware pushes vehicle information as well as parts details, to remove repeat lookups and get you straight to the part in the catalog that you need.

  • Punch out to integrators from repair orders or the inventory page.
  • Return quotes to add and update parts in either place.
  • Place orders to create purchase orders and update parts status automatically.

Setup is as simple as entering your account credentials so you can get started immediately. Further, you can add new vendors at any time.

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Parts Gross Profit Optimizer®

As an industry-first tool, the Parts GP Optimizer automatically seeks and attains your parts gross profit. It uses powerful automotive software to replace the manually-configured “parts matrix” approach to finding profit.

The Optimizer uses cloud-based computing to collect and review an unlimited amount of inventory and sales data. By going beyond your local server capacity, it works for every size of auto repair shop network. With advanced statistics and machine-learning principles, it creates a custom, “optimized” markup curve based on your shop’s actual parts sales. Finally, it flexes the curve automatically as your parts sales mix naturally changes.

In short, you tell the Optimizer your desired parts GP percentage and it sets your pricing to hit the target. Without any extra effort on your part, it adjusts its aim to maintain accuracy and deliver your profit goal.

To eliminate your parts ordering headaches, turn to the shop management system with software to resolve any auto inventory problems. You could do it the old-school way or use the technology that makes your competitors thrive as you struggle.

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