If you work in the automotive business, especially in a shop or other busy, high-volume setting, there’s a good chance your team orders, stores, and consumes quite a bit of inventory every day. The right inventory solution can help your business streamline every aspect of managing these supplies, materials, and assets—from knowing what you have and understanding what you need to placing complete and timely orders and never running out of a must-have item again.
In this article, we’ll reveal how other businesses in the automotive industry are using Sortly—an intuitive inventory management app—to organize, track, and manage their inventory while saving time, money, and stress.
With Sortly, you can…
1. Know exactly what you have—and where it is
With Sortly, auto shop professionals don’t just create an inventory list. They create a highly-detailed, organized, visual dashboard of every last item they have on hand. With high-resolution photos, tons of customized details, and the ability to easily sort items by location, value, stock levels, and more, getting an instant understanding of what your business has on hand has never been simpler.
Your team can track every detail that matters to your business, from item condition and value to manufacture date. This goes for everything you stock, from synthetic oil and wiper fluid to high-value items like catalytic converters. Photos can help your team know exactly what they’re looking for, especially if many items have names that are similar to each other and/or aren’t adequately descriptive.
While a spreadsheet can help your business get organized, it’s bound to grow more cumbersome as your business grows. Digitizing your inventory allows you to scale without friction, adding more folders and more locations to your inventory without figuring out how to adapt your spreadsheet to meet your company’s evolving needs.
Related: How to Run a Profitable Auto Repair Shop
2. Set up low stock alerts and date-based alerts
Sortly allows users to set up customized alerts (both in-app and external) so that the right people know the minute an item is running low—or when an important date, like an expiration or warranty end, is approaching. These easy-to-set, easy-to-change notifications can be the difference between keeping customers satisfied or making them choose between waiting for your delivery or taking their business to a competing shop that can offer them the same service right away.
These low stock alerts and important date reminders are helpful for every kind of auto shop, even if your business conducts frequent inventory counts and orders replacement supplies and materials on a regular basis. Things do slip through the cracks, and these notifications help ensure you don’t miss a beat.
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3. Easily place orders—and understand what you need
When you adopt an inventory management system like Sortly, you’ll start to understand how your business uses inventory better than ever before. And that knowledge will serve you in more ways than one. You’ll begin to practice better inventory control, striking that balance between always having enough stock on hand to meet customer demand without typing up cash on inventory you just don’t need yet.
Plus, the inventory records you create over time will help you better forecast demand, plan for seasonal changes in customer need, and understand how you might need to tweak your inventory levels from month to month.
4. Create a flexible inventory system that works for you
No automotive business is exactly the same—and neither is the way they order, store, manage, or track inventory. But Sortly is a flexible solution, offering users many different ways to organize their supplies and materials. Mix and match how you use folders and tags, how you check items in and out, what kind of details you track, and how your team collaborates to track inventory.
Develop an inventory management strategy that matches how your business works, and don’t be afraid to refine it over time. As your team grows, as your profits increase, as your shop expands, your inventory needs will change—and that’s okay. Sortly was designed to be agile, and can continue to keep you organized as your business grows.
Related: Sortly for Automotive Inventory Management
5. Keep tabs on inventory across multiple locations
If you’ve got more than one shop, or if you store some inventory off-site, managing all those supplies and materials can become a real challenge. Many automotive professionals turn to Sortly once they need to manage inventory in more than one place. That’s because the inventory app allows you to see everything you’ve got all at once, or take a more focused glance at what’s in a particular location.
You can use folders, tags, or location details to sort this information, then filter a detail-rich report to review only what you wish to see. You can also easily drag inventory from one folder to the next (or use barcodes and QR codes to move it), allow on-site users to collaborate on inventory management from wherever they are, and easily check to see if a part you need is at another location before rushing to place a list-minute order.
6. Use barcodes and QR codes to speed up everyday tasks
One of our automotive customers’ favorite Sortly features? The in-app barcode and QR code functionality. This feature allows users to use a phone or tablet as a barcode or QR code scanner, saving tons of time and reducing the risk of human error when checking items in and out. Whether an employee is conducting a quick audit, marking an item as consumed, or just has a quick question about a product, a lightning-fast scan of a barcode or QR code will pull up all the information they need to get informed, stay organized, and keep inventory records accurate.
And if your auto shop stocks inventory that comes without a barcode or QR code, Sortly allows you to generate such a code without frustration. You can then print out a customized label with a unique barcode or QR code, affix it to your inventory, and unlock all the benefits of a barcode inventory system right away.
While an inventory list or an automotive inventory spreadsheet are okay systems, only an inventory app makes keeping “perpetual inventory” truly manageable. That’s because perpetual inventory requires business to update the inventory list every time an item arrives or is sold or consumed. And if your busy employees are tracking inventory manually, that’s just not going to happen.
7. Let your whole team help with inventory management
When inventory is tracked on a sheet of paper or a spreadsheet, it tends to become one person’s responsibility. And while that may work for a smaller business, shifting to a more collaborative inventory management system can help reduce reliance on one single employee who seems to know everything.
Employees find new jobs, go on vacation, call out sick. Instead of allowing the intricacies of your inventory to sit inside one employee’s mind, store that information in a central, secure, easy-to-access hub that anyone can update and access, at any time. (You can always set custom user permissions to ensure that restricted details are only seen or edited by the right people. You can also offer users read-only access, and handpick exactly what information they can and cannot see.)
8. Lean on reports to streamline other responsibilities
Inventory audits. Balance sheets. Ordering, forecasting demand, preparing for the workday ahead. There are so many different ways an accurate snapshot of your inventory—present and past—can help your business plow through tedious tasks. From claiming depreciation on high-value machinery like car lifts to understanding how much cash is tied up in your auto parts inventory at any given moment, Sortly’s customizable, easy-to-export reports can do so much more than help you place that next order.
Sortly is a top-rated inventory management app designed to help automotive businesses keep better track of their inventory. With key features like low stock alerts, important date reminders, barcode and QR code scanning, and ultra-insightful reports, there’s no shortage of ways Sortly can help you stay organized.
Ready to take control of your inventory? Unlock Sortly’s most powerful features with a free, two-week trial.