Fleetsoft Blog And Latest News

Fleetsoft Blog and Latest News

Vendor Managed Inventory...Is this really something I ought to look into?

Well of course you should, but ONLY if you want:

  • To reduce your parts inventory carrying costs (sometimes dramatically)
  • Your technicians pulling wrenches instead of trying to run a store
  • To reduce or eliminate your inventory “shrinkage”
  • Accurate inventory records
  • To reduce stock-out occurrences
  • To purchase from a parts dealer-consigned inventory at your location
  • No-hassle parts warranty management
  • No hassle core management
  • Quality parts at competitive parts costs
  • Easy return of excess and/or obsolete inventory
  • And the list goes on!

I’m thinking that, by now, you kind of get the idea. Investing in a spare parts inventory is not only costly, it can be a big headache.

So, what happens with VMI…how does it work?

Vendor Managed inventory can take many forms to fit your needs and preferences. It’s really a departure from the way buyers and sellers of truck and bus parts have related in the past. In the past, you probably wouldn’t have dreamed of telling a parts sales person the details of who you bought from, in what quantities, at what cost and under what terms. That was private information. You may have used that mystery to have bargained for a better price or better terms or something better. Your job was to gain the upper hand on your supplier. You and your supplier were almost adversaries.

With VMI, that’s all changed. Your supplier is now on your team. In return for all of the benefits your supplier gets, you get everything you want (refer to the list above). You now get to do what you do best as you take good care of your fleet and your parts supplier gets to do what he does best in supplying and managing an inventory of parts.

And what does your parts supplier get out of this symbiotic relationship? He becomes your primary source for all of your parts needs while he’s solving a lot of your headaches. He gets to earn your business and sell you more parts. It’s a beautiful thing! It really works and it really is a Win/Win.

There are several VMI strategies from which to choose allowing you to find one that is suitable solution to both the supplier and customer.

  1. Consignment Inventory Management – the vendor owns the inventory stock located on the customer premises. The customer is charged as the parts are used.
  2. A vendor employee is placed at the customer facility to manage the inventory on the customer premises.
  3. Vendor tracks parts usage, on hand levels and orders parts to replenish customer parts stock. Customer owns the stock and provides the space for the inventory.
  4. Customer manages, owns and stocks inventory but vendor places all part orders as a service to the customer.

Whichever option is used, the end results will be beneficial to both customer and supplier.

FleetSoft will Be Exhibiting at the TSD Conference

FleetSoft will be exhibiting at the upcoming Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers (TSD) Conference and
Tradeshow in Dallas and Frisco, Texas this March. Stop by Booth #821 to get a one on one demonstration of our fleet maintenance and
inventory management solution and see how easy it is to organize your fleet and manage costs using our software.

Embassy Suites - Dallas
Frisco Hotel and Convention Center
7600 John Q. Hammonds Drive
Frisco, TX 75034

Sunday - March 22nd, 7pm - 9pm
Monday - March 23rd, 10am - 2pm

Let's Clean House!

It's time to clean house! The New Year is a good time to go through your Parts Room and tidy up. As you comb through your Parts Inventory, you will find:

  1. Parts you did not realize were in stock simply because they were placed in the wrong location

  2. Parts you haven't used in a long time and are obsolete because the vehicles that required these parts are no longer in your fleet

  3. Overstocked parts on hand that can be returned to vendor

By eliminating obsolete and over supplied parts from your stock, you will not only save on total dollar investment in on hand parts, but also reorganize and streamline the stock room. Many obsolete and overstocked parts can be returned to the supplier for a credit, saving you more money. An organized Parts Room makes it easier for the parts to be located for current on hand counts, as well as locating the parts for check in and check out procedures improving productivity and efficiency of the shop.

Now that you know why you should clean house it is a matter of getting started. It may seem like a huge task to undertake, but with FleetSoft's Fleet Maintenance and Inventory Management Software as a tool this task has become much easier. FleetSoft contains a Parts Inventory Management Module that has a Physical Inventory component. This Physical Inventory component will guide you through the entire process step by step. Upon completion of conducting a Physical Inventory for your Parts Room, you will have all of the parts in their proper bins and labeled correctly, have accurate on hand counts, and be able to determine which parts you have an excessive quantity on hand and can return to vendor. FleetSoft's Fleet Maintenance and Inventory Management Software also contains an 'Overstocked Parts' and 'Obsolete Parts' reports providing you with lists of what parts can be returned to the suppliers for credit. These are useful tools as well in trimming your on hand parts stock.

Begin the New Year with a clean house! Eliminate surplus from your parts inventory and reorganize your stock room making it a more profitable year.

What Is The Current Health of Your Fleet?

The beginning of a New Year is a great time to make changes for the better! Evaluating your current fleet operation practices to determine what changes need to be made to improve the health of your fleet is a good start.

A healthy fleet will result in:

  • lower costs in operation
  • a safer fleet with less emergency repairs
  • better customer service with minimal fleet downtime

The bottom line with ensuring a healthy fleet is lower costs and increased revenue. So why not make the changes necessary to boost your fleet's health?

The first steps to take in improving the health of your fleet is too establish a system where:

  • Tire Pressure
  • Oil Changes
  • Engine Tune-ups
  • Vehicle Inspections
  • Preventive Maintenance
are monitored and performed on a routine basis.

The Tire Pressure and Vehicle Inspections should be performed at least once a day prior to beginning the scheduled trips. Inspections at the end of the day by the drivers or technicians would not hurt either. By monitoring the tire pressure and inspecting the vehicles, you are ensuring they are safe to operate, decreasing the possibility of emergency repairs, downtime, interrupted service to customers and liability claims.

Engine Tune-Ups, Oil Changes and Preventive Maintenance should be scheduled on a routine basis suggested by the Manufacturer. Implementing a software system, such as Truck Tracker, where schedules are built for routine maintenance, automatic notifications of maintenance due is reported and a history of maintenance performed are all valuable tools in managing and staying on top of the maintenance schedule. Performing routine maintenance keeps your fleet up and running efficiently. Any potential problems can be caught beforehand decreasing the downtime and emergency road repairs. These actions result in a smoother running fleet, less outside repair costs at a higher rate and limited disruption in servicing your customers.

Recording routine services performed, emergency repairs, labor costs and parts usage provides enough data to pull Analytical Reports related to:

  • Cost Per Mile of each Vehicle
  • Total Cost of Fleet
  • Repetitive Service Problems
  • Excessive Replacements of Specific Parts

All of this information can be pulled to determine:

  1. Which makes and models are more costly to operate?
  2. What are common repetitive repairs for certain vehicle makes and/or models?
  3. What parts have lower live expectancy?
  4. Which vehicles have a higher cost per mile?
  5. Which vehicles need to be replaced?
  6. How much is being spent in outside repairs and emergency repairs?

There are more useful information that can be gathered to help you make decisions and take action to improve the health of your fleet lowering costs, improving customer service and fleet safety.

All of the above suggestions are easy changes that can be made in order to have a healthier fleet in the New Year!

Visit Us at the Upcoming NAPT Trade Show

FleetSoft will be exhibiting at the upcoming National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Trade Show Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Stop by booth #136 at the Kansas City Convention Center in the H. Roe Battle Exhibit Hall, Hall A-B and allow us to demonstrate first hand how our Maintenance and Inventory Management Software can help organize your shop and reduce your costs. The Trade Show runs from 9am to 3pm.

Overcoming Obstacles in Procuring Fleet Maintenance and Inventory Management Software

It all begins with an initial thought of bringing a fleet maintenance and inventory management software in-house to make your shop run more efficiently and your job easier. After coming up with this brilliant solution in taking care of all your fleet shop problems, you now have to focus on selling the concept to the final decision makers. There are many obstacles to overcome before this idea becomes a reality.

  • Project Leader - a champion to see the project from start to finish

  • Pricing - justify the cost

  • Resistance to Change - selling the idea to others

  • Hardware & Network Infrastructure - ensure meet requirements

  • Sharing Information - usefulness to others

By planning ahead and addressing these barriers in advance, your brilliant idea becoming reality is unquestionable!

The first item on your agenda should be assigning a Project Leader, a person who will champion the cause. The Project Leader needs to justify the acquisition of the fleet maintenance and inventory management software to the decision makers. The Return on Investment and measurable goals must be provided in persuading those holding the purse strings to supply the finances for this solution. The Project Leader not only has to sell the authorities but also the employees. If the employees are not sold on the idea of implementing fleet maintenance and inventory management software to make their jobs easier, the project will fail. Everyone has to be playing for the same team. A detailed plan for implementing the software and training employees on the software should be drawn. By planning ahead, software implementation in the shop will be accepted by the majority and run smoothly - a guaranteed success!

Pricing, What is the cost? This will most likely be the first question asked. So prepare ahead of time and have the answer along with justification for the expense. This is where the Return on Investment worksheet will be useful in supporting the cost in implementing the fleet maintenance and inventory management software solution. Other cost savings that need to be factored into the equations is the increased productivity in shop operations. By utilizing software in the maintenance and parts shop, the shop will run more efficiently, reducing repair times and vehicle downtime. Fines can be lowered as a result of less safety violations, fewer expired vehicle tags, licenses and permits and limited driver licenses, physicals and training expirations. Vehicle life span can be lengthened by performing routine maintenance using the OEM recommended schedule. Parts Inventory On Hand can be trimmed down to levels that accurately fit the demand, decreasing wasted dollars sitting on the shelf. All of these factors should be considered when evaluating the price of the software.

You will find many people that resist change. These people will need to be sold on the benefits of changing or modifying the way things are currently done in the shop. Lay out how implementing fleet maintenance and inventory management software will simplify the work flow process making their tasks easier and less time consuming. Emphasize the ease of use and low learning curve in utilizing the software program. Reassure that adequate training and support will be provided in learning the software and in instances of problems that occur during use later on. Basically, soothe the concerns and get everyone onboard with the concept of implementing a new software solution.

Insufficient hardware and/or network infrastructure and support in place would be the next possible blockade standing in your way of success. Verification that the current hardware and network infrastructure meets the requirements to implement the solution needs to be made. Review the proposed software solution System Requirements and Installation documentation to ensure that everything you need is available or outline what is required to make this happen.

Determine whether you:

  • meet the minimum requirements for a standalone computer installation

  • have the correct framework in place for the solution to be accessed via local area network (LAN)

  • possess remote connection access to network server for those not on the LAN

  • have a Parallel application to create Windows instance on a MAC Computer

BE PREPARED! Know what you already have and what you need to acquire to make this happen!

Other departments within the organization need to realize the value in purchasing new fleet maintenance and inventory management software. The more departments that will benefit from implementing the software, the easier it will be to gain approval for purchase. Other departments that could benefit from sharing data, need to know that they can freely access data within the application to suit their own purpose.

Building your case in advance will help you overcome the barriers that stand in your way of procuring the fleet maintenance and inventory management software of your choice!