Evaluating and Choosing the Right Inventory Management Tools for Field Service Management

Jonny Parker
September 19, 2023

Managing a field service business comes with its own set of challenges, with customer retention, operations optimization, and revenue maximization at the top of the list. Teamwork and logistics go hand-in-hand in any field service business, and the entire workforce has to run like a well-oiled machine to provide customers with the best experience. 

This is because, unlike manufacturers and retailers that mainly deal in physical goods, field service providers run on a largely service-based model. While physical materials and parts are still part of the equation, other things, such as technical expertise and customer relations, are also critical. 

Field service providers include, but are not limited to: 

  • Home repair and delivery companies 
  • Plumbing and electrical providers 
  • HVAC companies 
  • Cleaning service providers 
  • Healthcare and wellness providers 

How to choose the right inventory management tools

Inventory management tools are a game-changer in such a competitive industry and can help reduce staff workload, increase customer satisfaction, and improve profitability.  

But how do you find the right software for the job? Here are some tips and guidelines. 

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Revisit your scheduling and dispatching requirements

Finding an inventory management tool with dispatching and scheduling functionalities is vital, especially if you’re planning to scale operations. You can look into specialized features, like integration with in-vehicle systems (if you’re a trucking provider). 

Consider your customer support architecture

What would you need to improve your current customer support system? Some tools may provide additional functionalities to help you improve customer satisfaction and engagement, such as automatic reminders for inventory reordering and upcoming appointments, customer follow-ups during repurchase time, and more.  

Understand your bill processing needs

You’ll likely be interested in streamlining how you bill customers and process payments, so pay attention to this area when evaluating inventory management tools. An efficient remote billing system, for example, will allow field workers to complete a job quicker, so they can pack up and move on to the next client. It’s also important to listen to your field workers’ feedback on this and address any concerns they might have regarding your current billing structure.  

Assess if you need accountability features

If your business model needs you to keep field workers accountable, such as clocking in and out or real-time inventory updating and tracking, then you should consider a tool with these features.  

Check for ease of use

You’ll want your inventory management tool to be feature-rich, yet easy to use. Check whether the interface is simple enough for field workers to deal with while on the job, and if the tool isn’t something you’ll need months of training to master. After all, you’re looking to streamline operations—not to add too much complexity and take away valuable time to dedicate to complex tutorials on how to use the software. 

Consider scalability and customization

All in all, you’ll want an inventory management solution that can grow with you as you scale your operations. Check for customization options as well, as this will spell the difference between making the tool work for you and having to adjust your operations to accommodate software limitations. 

Effective inventory management is a pillar of field service operations. However, when shopping for inventory management tools, it’s crucial to look for a solution that suits your company’s service model, customer service, and overall requirements for scalability and functionality. 

If you are interested in learning how Fishbowl’s flexible inventory management solution can help your business now, you can book a demo.