Inventory Management

7 Signs Contractors & Service Providers Need a Mobile Inventory Management System

Two service providers refer to information on a tablet.

Contractors and services providers offer skilled, on-demand assistance to homeowners, tenants, landlords and property managers. These service providers—whether they are general contractors, electricians, plumbers, roofers, landscapers or exterminators—all have one thing in common: they use lots of valuable materials to get their jobs done.

If you yourself are a busy service provider, then there’s a good chance you’re frustrated with how you keep track of all those supplies. Some inventory is stored right on your truck; other items in your tool bag. More materials are kept in stock at the company’s headquarters, but even more stuff might be in storage at a second location. How do you know where all of your inventory is?

Maybe you just try to commit it to memory. Or you use a fancy business management software that’s expensive, confusing and full of useless features. Or maybe you’ve made an Excel spreadsheet that’s been emailed around, but only a few employees know how to read and use the spreadsheet and it’s impossible for anyone to tell which version is actually up-to-date.

Read on to discover seven signs that you and your business might benefit from simple, on-the-go a mobile inventory management system or inventory management software

1. Your ever-changing inventory is impossible to track

A service provider tracks inventory on his tablet while working out of a van.

Everyday, trucks loaded full of supplies zip across town to service customers. For many service providers, it’s nearly impossible to predict which materials they’ll need to do their jobs on a given day. So electricians and exterminators and plumbers often take a little bit of everything with them each morning.

If an electrician runs out to his van to check for a certain wire only to realize he’s out, then he disappoints his customer and wastes his and his company’s time and money. And if a plumber uses the last of her water filters on a busy day, she might forget by the time she gets home for dinner that she needs to reorder more.

Mobile inventory management makes it easy to know where items are and how much of them you’ve got with the click of a button, whether you’re in the shop or on the road. You can also painlessly update inventory counts from anywhere and set automatic reminders to reorder a given item when inventory gets too low.

2. You’re overwhelmed, and aren’t quite sure where anything is

Is that box of flared tube fittings in your shop, your van or some other employee’s truck? Without a solid inventory system, it can be hard to guess and even harder to know for sure.

Understand what’s where and how much of it you’ve got with a user-friendly inventory system that saves you time instead of wasting it. A good mobile inventory management system will allow you to instantly see all your items in one place, verify who has what and check current stock levels.

3. You waste valuable time tracking, counting and searching for items

A plumber works on a toilet.

Your day is long enough driving from one client’s property to the next’s. If you find yourself heading back to headquarters to figure out exactly what’s on hand far too often, then it might be time to look into inventory management software that can make this process easier on you and your team.

This is especially true for service providers who really need to spend little to no time in-shop on most workdays. Why head back to the office when you can update your cloud-technology enabled inventory from your truck, your job site or even your own couch?

Once you’re all setup with a good mobile inventory management system, you’ll never have to invest hours of your time counting supplies again. You’ll just make tiny adjustments here and there as shipments arrive and supplies depart or are used up. Plus, tools like built-in barcode and QR code scanners will make even the initial inventorying process easy and accurate.

4. You throw away money buying stuff you didn’t realize you had in stock

Most service providers don’t like to spend a single penny more than what’s necessary, and why should they?

When you know where all your stuff is and how much of it you have, you won’t nervously over-order expensive supplies “just in case”. You’ll confidently place orders for only the materials you really need, which means more money to advertise to new clients, improve your fleet or hire a new employee. Your mobile inventory app will even alert you when stock is low, products are expiring or items need to be returned or replaced.

5. You can’t afford to hire someone just to manage inventory

Many service providers are either self-employed or work for a small business. These businesses typically cannot hire somebody just to keep track of all their stuff. And why should they? Surprisingly inexpensive, cutting-edge inventory apps can manage all those supplies at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.

What’s more, modern mobile inventory management software requires no special training. There’s no fancy hardware and anyone can learn how to use the app right away, even employees who aren’t so tech-savvy.

6. You bought expensive inventory software that was basically useless

If you’re running a local pest control company, why does your inventory system look and feel like it was designed for an automotive plant? The truth is that many inventory management systems—even if they do help you stay somewhat organized—are often unnecessarily complex and expensive.

Consider switching to a mobile inventory system that’s collaborative, easy to sync, accessible anywhere and free of pricy-but-pointless features.

7. You keep track of inventory on a spreadsheet

A manager reviews information on paper and a laptop.

Whether you’re a wiz at Excel or just trying to get by with a simple little chart, it’s probably become clear to you that a thrown-together spreadsheet isn’t helping your company stay lean and organized.

There are a lot of drawbacks to using old-fashioned spreadsheets, which are usually:

  • Not intuitive at all
  • Difficult to access, read, and update from smartphones
  • Nearly impossible to sync when on the road
  • Hard for multiple users to collaborate on at once
  • Not intended to send reminders, display pictures or provide other helpful information

Save yourself time, money, and stress by upgrading to a mobile inventory management system. Soon, you’ll be able to simply open an app on your phone for an accurate snapshot of what you’ve got and where it is at any given moment, whether you’re on a job site, stuck in traffic or ordering supplies remotely.

Inventory management software is shown on a laptop, tablet and smartphone.

Sortly is a super-simple inventory system and asset tracking system that lets you visually manage all of your company’s stuff. Our intuitive (and less maddening) app enables your team to track just about everything from anywhere and gives your business instant access to inventory details like item location, stock level, price and condition and any other details..

Sortly is intuitive; we built it to be up-and-running in minutes–so you can spend less time inventorying and more time businessing.

Visit our website to learn more or try Sortly for free today.