Food For Thought
“Why does my fridge have to break down at crucial times?” I pondered upon this question as I cautiously stepped out of my home to top up my groceries for a meal order. The pandemic has reduced my visits to the grocery store altogether but my fridge breaking down saw me having to make a crucial grocery pitstop to fulfill a desert order. While I was browsing through the frozen section, I picked up a box of ice cream to see it was not so frozen. Scrounging around the rest of the aisle had me realizing: the store had some of its freezers not working properly. Agitated, I reached out to a store attendant and inquired if they had frozen stock out back. Apologetically, the attendant replied that freezer maintenance had been disrupted because of inadequate spare parts to replace the worn out pieces of machinery. Apparently, due to limited production of the compressors due to COVID-19 related delays, only a handful of spare parts were available for replacement. While interruptions and delays to service are a possibility in any scenario, it has become even more likely so during this pandemic. Not only are customers left wanting, but businesses end up losing thousands of dollars in perishable assets, for example, expired meat and melting ice cream. Even today, multiple corporations are leaving their customers dissatisfied through minor slip-ups and risk their brand value in the long run. This is not something that you expect or want from your neighborhood stores but the reality is that it can happen to just about anybody. What’s The Issue?
The store attendant mentioned that their freezer suppliers often give the excuse that they are unable to locate where their spare parts are, as they have several warehouses. With so many freezers breaking down during the heatwave, things can get rather complicated. Even if they have a spreadsheet of the list of breakdowns, it is not always possible to service all of them due to the availability of spare parts and technicians. Luckily, my friend Jonathan, who works in an electronics supplier company, helped me understand the issue from the perspective of a supplier. He had this to say: “As you already know, we sell electronics such as TVs, fridges, and etcetera to our customers. I’m sure you know the unpredictable things that can happen with these devices. Sometimes they stop at the most important times and we know that very well. This is why we keep our technicians ready with the spare parts. However, the recent COVID-19 crisis has been a blocker in terms of producing spare parts for our products. If there were 100 issues, we would have 100 different parts to change for those issues but now there is a limited amount that we receive each day. Unfortunately, there are many personnel restrictions for COVID-19 and these safety protocols, despite being necessary, have caused delays to our supply rollouts. Connecting and communicating with the people on the field and in the warehouses can be a hassle. Sometimes the inventory in the warehouses doesn’t tally up, while others are held up in transit. This breakdown in the flow of information is critical when an issue can come up at any moment and scheduling changes can happen at the drop of a hat. But it’s not always possible through phone or text. So, yeah it’s a real problem.”
To streamline their operations, they must have visibility of their spare parts whether they are stored within the warehouses or being installed at a client’s freezer. How can they do that? By staying connected.
A simple solution for the aforementioned problem of not knowing the location of the asset can easily be nullified if the entire team is using a system that shows the position of your assets on your phone or PC.
How It Works
After setting up the asset tracking in the system, simply click on the “View Map” option, and voila! They will have clear visibility of stock and inventory no matter where they are. The good thing about field tracking systems is that they usually come with an array of features to authenticate the assignments given to persons in charge. Before an item is checked in or out of a warehouse, it can be photographed and the condition recorded in the system as well. Jonathan had lots to say about his ease dealing with stock management:
“We thought long and hard and finally the eureka moment happened where we unanimously agreed to go for a system that does it all. It has so much more it has to offer than just location tracking. We can directly assign new tasks based on the real-time update from our staff. Let’s say one of our supermarket customers is in urgent need of a few repairs. The management can easily check the inventory of the available replacement parts and be ahead of the game when the quantity of parts left is getting low prior to us running out of stock.). I often look at the system to check the current update and it gives me peace of mind when I see the inventories and catalogs through images and videos. Now work is effective, efficient, and transparent with accountability on all ends.” What Else?
Aside from the perks of location visibility, there are other benefits of using an inventory management tool in your field service management (FSM) application. Below are some of the key points that will give you an idea of the benefits of such apps.
Job Assignment: The system will allow you to separate cases and focus on each of them effectively.
Spare part management: The amount and types of spare parts will be visible to you allowing you to optimize the allocation of these resources to prioritize the most important job orders to be completed.
SLA management: When you have different support packages with your customers, you don’t need to fall behind on your SLAs. It will be easier for you to execute your operation plan and focus on those customers who are at the top of your priority list e.g supermarkets.
“Experiencing real-life scenarios of inventory and asset management can help you differentiate the important aspects from the unimportant ones. And personally, I have been understanding a lot of it ever since opening my cloud kitchen. Managing the logistics bit can become a real challenge sometimes. My experience with asset management started with Custella and I have been finding my work quite easy ever since. I am quite sure just like any entrepreneur, a lot of you will also turn around your business process and reach greater heights with the right system in your lives.”
Still have more questions? Check out more FAQs on our website here. You can also get in touch with us below from the link below; we are always happy to get back to you with any queries regarding your business.
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