As an owner of an automotive business, you have many things to keep track of on a day-to-day basis. From working with customers and making sure repairs are done on time to paying invoices and your employees and much more, you figuratively wear a number of hats and stay busy from dawn ‘til dusk.
Because you have so many things on your plate, certain tasks may fall through the cracks from time to time. For instance, you may currently have a stockroom filled with disorganized inventory of auto parts and more. Unfortunately, not having tight control on your inventory can cause you to waste money by throwing out parts and products that have expired or been damaged in some way, and if you accidentally have too much of one item in inventory, it means you have spent money on a something you really don’t need.
Fortunately, you can take control of your inventory, which in the end will save your business time and money. Here’s how.
Prioritize Your Inventory
As Business News Daily notes, start by categorizing your inventory into A, B and C groups. Items in the A group are higher-priced car parts and items that you need fewer of, and items in the C group are lower-cost items that you use a lot of on a weekly basis. The B group stock falls somewhere in the middle. This organization system, which you can use both in your computerized inventory list as well as how you organize your auto supply room, can help you to clearly understand what you need to order more of and more often, and which parts are good to have on hand but move more slowly.
Perform Regular Audits of Your Supplies
While the first tip will help you to get a solid grasp of your inventory, you also need to do a physical audit of your parts on a regular basis. Depending on how busy your automotive shop is and how much stock you move through, you can do this once a week, month or year. They key is to count your inventory to see if it matches what your computer or other inventory management system tells you is available. While you might be tempted to focus on the larger items and skip over or guestimate how many smaller parts you have in stock, it is still important to keep tabs of every last item. For example, if you regularly order o-rings in bulk, you probably keep a variety of sizes on hand, as they are used in a number of automotive systems. In addition to being sure that these small but mighty parts are stored properly, it is vital that you count and account for all of your o-rings. You don’t want to be in the middle of a repair and assume you have enough of one size, only to find out that your last audit was really off and you have to delay the repair while you order more o-rings.
Adopt a “First In, First Out” Motto for Inventory Management
As Shopify notes, adopting a “first-in, first out” plan for managing your inventory will mean that your oldest stock will get used first. This is especially important for any auto supplies that will spoil. For instance, AutoBlog notes that while motor oils will stay stable and have a shelf life of up to five years, this stability can depend on a number of factors including what type of oil it is and the temperature of your stock room. If your staff is constantly shoving the new boxes of oil in front of the old stock, you may find that you do have cases of motor oil that is more than 5 years old. When stocking, either add new products from the back end of the display shelf — this way the inventory you purchased first is always at the front — or move the items to the side to put the new stock in the back.
Well-Organized and Managed Inventory Prevents Waste
If you have a large parts and supply room, it may seem overwhelming at first to try to get everything organized. But by adopting the aforementioned tips and spending a couple hours a day on your inventory management system until everything is in place, you can breathe easier knowing you and your team can easily find the parts that you need, and that you won’t be throwing money away on auto inventory that gets damaged, over-ordered or expires.