Companies in the HVAC industry face a unique set of inventory-related challenges. For starters, HVAC service providers almost always drive company (or contractor-owned) vehicles to a job site to perform maintenance. That means that whatever truck, van, or car travels to a job site must be adequately stocked and organized with the inventory and assets your serviceperson needs to finish their work quickly and correctly.
At the very least, your HVAC business should use an HVAC inventory list to keep track of its supplies, materials, and equipment. In this article, we’ll walk you through organizing an HVAC service truck, explain how the right inventory management system can boost profits and productivity, and provide you with a free HVAC service truck inventory list template.
How do HVAC companies manage inventory?
Here’s how most HVAC businesses manage their inventory:
1. Select an inventory management system
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) companies rely on an agreed-upon inventory management system to keep tabs on their supplies, materials, and equipment. In general, businesses do this with the help of a manual inventory list, an inventory spreadsheet, or inventory management software.
What inventory system is best for your business? Inventory management software is generally considered the gold standard for optimal inventory management. Fortunately, inventory apps are becoming easier to use and less expensive than ever before.
While a pen-and-paper inventory list is simple and affordable, it requires constant manual updating and is nearly impossible for teams to use together. Plus, once a business tracks more than a few dozen items, the system becomes far too time-consuming. While an inventory spreadsheet provides a specific upgrade, even the best HVAC inventory spreadsheets lack critical features like barcode and QR code scanning, customized alerts sent when an item’s stock levels are dwindling, or the ability to display high-resolution images.
Still, a spreadsheet remains a better option than a manual inventory list—and a good starting point for a business looking to get organized. Later in this guide, we’ve included a free, downloadable HVAC supply template for you. If you decide to upgrade to Sortly inventory software, you can easily bulk import your spreadsheet into Sortly.
2. Know what you need on every truck
Once you’ve settled on an inventory management system, you’ll need to determine inventory minimums for every location—including your business’s fleet of cars or trucks. After that, articulate precisely what each location or truck needs and use your inventory app or HVAC supply template to track those details.
Specific fundamental formulas and ratios like safety stock and reorder point can help you determine how much of a particular item you need and when to reorder it to avoid costly stockouts or work stoppages. If you use Sortly, you can set low-stock alerts for each item in your truck to remind you to reorder inventory.
3. Empower employees to manage inventory
With the right inventory system in place, your employees can manage the inventory on their trucks in less time than you’d think. Create a reasonable standard operating procedure that asks employees to maintain perpetual inventory on their vehicles. That means that if they use an item, they mark it as consumed. If they restock an item, they use the in-app barcode or QR code scanner to “check it out” of the commissary and “check it onto” their trucks (you can easily connect external scanners, too).
Perpetual inventory systems like these become second nature quickly and allow your entire remote team to know what’s where at any given time. This knowledge also avoids servicepeople having to pause work to drive around town and locate or purchase a part. In other words, knowing what’s on a truck before that vehicle leaves for the day isn’t just helpful—it’s good for your business’s bottom line.
Search for an inventory management software solution that’s intuitive, easy to customize, and designed for employees to use remotely from smartphones or tablets. By crafting an inventory management strategy that makes sense for your business and its on-the-go employees, your business is much more likely to satisfy your customers’ needs with quick, high-quality service calls.
Free, downloadable HVAC supply list
This simple, easy-to-customize HVAC van inventory list can help your business prepare its fleet for daily operations. This list is not exhaustive, as your HVAC business likely keeps hundreds of parts in stock, but it is a good starting point for the basic items you’ll need. Feel free to expand on the items and columns based on your specific needs.
If you decide to switch to managing your inventory in Sortly, you can easily upload this spreadsheet to populate inventory right in the software.
Experience the simplest inventory management software.
Sortly is a top-rated inventory management app designed to help HVAC businesses manage their inventory quickly and without unnecessary stress. Featuring beloved, lightning-fast features like an in-app barcode and QR code scanner, low stock alerts, customizable reports, and an easy-to-use, collaborative interface, there’s no shortage of ways Sortly can improve your company’s inventory strategy.
Curious about whether Sortly might be a fit for your team? Try a free, two-week trial today.