Parts Inventory Site Preparation Guide

Over the years, we've been in many truck and bus repair shops across North America, and most of them could use a bit of scrubbing. In fact, many were a mess. If your shop is looking and feeling dilapidated, it may be a good time to start using your new Fleetsoft software. But, you want to get started right away... and it looks as though there's quite a bit of front-end work. Where to Start?

It just makes good sense to get your parts storage area cleaned up and organized. Think about cleaning the old shelving units and removing any labels or location identifiers. Those labels are probably going to change anyway. Think about getting the deck scrubbed and painted. Think about installing new, brighter lights. Think about moving out all of that old stuff that inevitably accumulates over time that everyone keeps tripping over. Think about getting a shop vacuum out there and cleaning all of the accumulated dust and grime off the stuff that's been sitting on your shelves for too long...perhaps years.

You get the idea; you're starting a new chapter. You're sending a message that you're going pay attention to how the shop is managed and how it looks to your employees and your visitors. You're creating pride in your employees about their workplace and the work they do. You're creating a new beginning. You're bringing in some 21st century hardware and software, and you're creating an appropriate home for it. And who knows? If you get enough of your folks feeling proud about where they work and what they do, maybe your shop productivity will reflect those feelings. It couldn't hurt.

Now where to begin? FleetSoft provides you with step by step instructions, formula trend reordering details, and other information to get you started in the right direction.

  • Step By Step
  • Inventory Layout
  • Physical Count Sheet
  • Using Bar Codes
  • Using Reorder Formula

The preparation and set up of the typical parts inventory area includes the following steps.

Now is the time to get started on the right foot. Getting the parts room area cleaned, organized, and fully prepared for the implementation of Fleetsoft software will make parts inventory management much easier. These steps can be performed in any order that seems appropriate as long as all of the steps are considered and completed as required.

  • Thoroughly clean and organize the parts storage area.
  • Determine the new parts storage layout and how it will mesh with the work flow for efficiency and ease of use.
  • Design a label scanning method, both into and out of inventory, that will fit the shop's layout and work order flow process. Determine who will receive parts into inventory, who will charge them out to work orders, and who will close work orders. Set up parts bar code label scanning capabilities accordingly.
  • Identify and set aside all current parts with excess inventory for return to vendors.
  • Identify and set aside all obsolete parts for return under Navistar's Golden Parts Recovery Program.
  • Assign an identity code to every bin location. Use a three character code showing the row/aisle, the shelving section and the shelf level. For example: bin location 03-B-01 would represent Row 3, shelving section B and shelf 1.
  • Note: Because of the sorting convention used within Fleetsoft, a zero needs to be added in front of single digit numbers to have a normally expected list progression. Without the zero prefix, a sort of the numbers 1 through 20 would look like this: 1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 2, 20, etc. Use the zero in front of all single digit numbers!! This sorting convention holds true for unit numbers as well as for bin numbers.
  • Determine the part number and description you will use within Fleetsoft for each inventoried part. Be precise with descriptions. Differentiate between the number zero and the letter O by putting a slash through the zeros. Try not to use dashes in part numbers. Avoid inventing and using any prefix or suffix codes in part numbers.
  • Determine and record the storage location for each inventoried part.
  • Do not overcrowd shelves. Leave space for the possible addition of new part numbers in the future.
  • Some part's suppliers will furnish belt racks and/or other storage units at no or low cost.
  • Neatly organize all parts within their assigned storage locations.
  • Establish up to a 10 character code for each of the parts vendors.
  • Research and record your last paid cost for all inventoried parts from all vendors.
  • Research and record the warranty period in both days and miles for all inventoried parts from all vendors
  • Complete the Part Detail Record in Fleetsoft for every inventoried part with the following detail:
    • Part Number
    • Description
    • Vendor Code
    • Unit of Measure
    • Primary Bin Location
    • Warranty Details
    • Cost
  • Reorder Details: Allow Fleetsoft to determine the optimum stocking level for every part carried in inventory. When choices are made in the reorder information section, select the Formula option AND enter a quantity for both Min & Max for each part.
  • Prepare the count sheets, in bin-location sequence, with part numbers, descriptions, bin locations and vendor. Leave the quantity on hand column blank.
  • Take a physical inventory and have the counters enter on hand quantities for every part number listed on the count sheet(s).
  • NOTE: Parts movement in or out of inventory will be frozen at this point until physical inventory is completed.
  • Do some re-counts for each person helping with the physical inventory by someone other than the original counter.
  • Once satisfied that an accurate count has been taken, enter the on hand quantities into the Parts Detail Record in Fleetsoft for every part number counted during the physical inventory.
  • Print labels for your entire inventory based on quantities on hand from count sheets.
  • Position labels with parts inventory such that scanning parts out of inventory and onto work orders can be easily accomplished.
  • NOTE: Parts movement in and out of inventory may now resume, consistent with the requirements of Fleetsoft software.

The absolute rule, at this point and for all employees, is that NO part gets received into inventory or get checked out from inventory unless their bar code labels are appropriately scanned and the scans are properly recorded within the Fleetsoft software.

Yes. It's a lot of work, but with this attention to detail up front, you'll reap the rewards of an inventory management system that will give you a lower inventory cost, a smoother running shop with fewer stock-outs, and great inventory management reporting capability.

  • Determine the best layout for the parts storage. Think it through.
  • Do you want to store parts...
    • BY SIZE with small parts in the drawer unit and larger parts out of the way?
    • BY LIKELY MOVEMENT with fast moving items in front and slower moving items in back?
    • BY RELATED PARTS such as all electrical, engine or air conditioning grouped together?
    • BY SUPPLIER?
    • BY ANOTHER METHOD?
  • Put all smaller parts that are not in drawer units into shelf boxes with one part number per box.
  • Install hose and belt racks where necessary.
  • Indicate a descriptive location such as "belt rack" or "trailer".
  • Remember to remove any old bin labels or markings from the storage units.
  • Fleetsoft can accommodate secondary bin locations for overflow stock if needed.

Part NumberPart DescriptionPrimary BinSecondary BinCategoryVendorCost On Hand Quantity

The use of bar code labels on your parts inventory should be thought of as a requirement and not an optional feature. You would be opting out of one of the most powerful features in Fleetsoft if the bar coding feature is not utilized. All stocked parts, except for miscellaneous supplies, should have a bar code label attached or in a loose supply with the parts on the shelf.

Think about how you want to process your work orders. Who should open and close work orders? Is a hard copy of the work order given to the technician? How and by whom are the parts checked out of inventory and applied to the work order? The use of "piggy-back" labels is an option to consider when deciding on a process to follow.

The piggy-back labels are designed to easily pull away from the body of the label and can be stuck to the back of the work order hard copy by the technician or parts clerk, making the issuance of parts and the documentation of the part usage a physical part of the work order. The shop supervisor can close the work orders by simply scanning the labels on the work order hard copy. This action checks the part out of inventory and creates a parts usage record on the work order and vehicle.

The use of bar code labels can support many different approaches to the work order flow process while eliminating double data entry and data entry error.

Utilizing Fleetsoft's "Formula" feature enables you to pare your parts inventory down to an optimum level with minimum inventory and maximum reduction of stock-outs. Here is how it works... Initially set up a new part record's reorder requirements in Fleetsoft by clicking on the Formula option as well as specify both the minimum and maximum quantities. This action allows the min/max quantities to govern part reorders for the first 90 days only.

During the first 90 days of operation, Fleetsoft develops a 30 day weighted average usage rate trend for each part number by taking 20% of the demand for the oldest 30 day period, 30% of the demand for the next 30 day period and 50% of the demand for the most recent 30 day period.

Fleetsoft then divides that 30 day weighted average usage rate trend by the default setting of 2, which results in a 15 day's supply based on your usage trend. That divisor can be changed by anyone with a Manager's access. Changing the divisor will change the trend recommendation. For example, if parts deliveries from your local suppliers are such that a 15 day's supply of parts is more or less inventory than you need to carry, you can change the divisor to 3 and the trend will recommend a 10 day's supply or you can change the divisor to 1 and the trend will recommend a 30 day's supply.

When the divisor is modified to mesh with both the demand-trend and the supplier's capabilities, the day's supply for your entire parts inventory will be maintained at an optimal level. Taking full advantage of this feature in Fleetsoft will substantially reduce the capital investment most shop managers would ordinarily have to make in their parts inventory.

After the first 90 days when Fleetsoft has calculated an ideal stocking level for every part in inventory, a custom report listing the dollar value of all on hand parts that are in excess of the formula recommended stocking levels can me generated. The excess inventory can be returned to the suppliers reducing the inventory dollars to the bottom line.