Using Barcode to Streamline Inventory
This is my first post on this site so i will start be introducing myself. My family has been in HVAC for years. My 95 year old great grandfather started and HVAC company years ago, one of his sons, my great uncle, took the company over and hired my dad on to help install when he was 16. My dad now owns his own HVAC business and I have worked for him doing install and whatever else he needs.
Right now we are trying to streamline our inventory. We would like to use a barcode system to check shipments in, then check them out onto the trucks/vans, then check them out of the vans to be used for install/service.
For example, a shipment of 100 PVC 3/4" 90's comes in. We scan them into our warehouse/shop. Install Truck is does not have any, so 8 PVC 3/4" 90's are scanned out of the warehouse/shop and scanned into the Install Truck. On the job that day the installer uses 3 90's, so he scans out 3 90's. When he gets in that day his barcode scanner is updated onto our computer. We see that he used 3 90's. So the Warehouse Person goes out and checks out 3 90's from the warehouse/shop and puts it into the truck. So at the beginning of the day we know that the truck has 8 90's and there is no chance of the installer having to come back to the shop in the middle of the day to get any materials.
So at all times we would know:
1. What is in the warehouse/shop
2. What is in the Trucks/Vans
3. How much material is used on each job.
We would like this to synchronies with Quickbooks. That would be great, but i've spent half the day looking for some way to make it work and have not found anything, so i'm not holding my breath.
Is there anyone else out there who has tried to implement a similar system or has found anything that might work for that?
Check out CoreIMS or Wasp. QB really isn't intended to tell you how many plastic elbows are on each truck, so it will require inventory management software that can interface with QB.
We have something just like that but is a IN-house system that was made for your company. Cost was alot but if all the guys put the info in it works good.
Was there a specific company you used to create that?
Originally Posted by Coloradotech
Mobile computing corporation MCC. Not sure if thay are the maker of the software but that the name I see in may hand computer. Hope that helps!
I would say back in 2001 I worked for a company that had something similar. Originally every part had a sticker that had to be physically scanned. The time to label each part was ludicrous. They finally smartened up and produced a simple 3-ring binder. The binder had laminated pages of every install part known to man. After the install I would list the parts used on a sheet of paper and set in the van for about 15 minutes flipping through the manual and scanning in exactly what was I used. I would accidentally leave out a 3/4 PVC 90ELL on occasion or a wire nut.
Gas nipples were always off since I would think I used a 2" nipple but actually it was a 2 1/2", but other than that it was smooth. So I would sometimes look at my van inventory and if low on a nipple size, would make up for it by scanning a few in on the next job. At the end of the day or if not until the next morning, I would dock the scanner and it would upload to the master system. They would then issue a pull sheet which some temp kid in the morning would go around pull the replenishment inventory, scan it in, and set it in a pile for me to reload my van with.
You have things that are just approximates like zip screws, amount of mastic used, amount of caulking from a tube, silver tape, wire nuts, sheet metal, etc that was a HUGE pain to input. That was the gray area in their system that was a true PIA. They would assume I had plenty of mastic on my van, when in fact I did not. Or I would end up with seven extra tubes of caulking rolling around on the van by months end. Thought counting zip screws was a bit on the paranoid side. Would be short on sheet metal and get written up for a parts runner to get more to me on a job site to finish a job.
Equipment was different, that was just issued to you with a job sheet in the morning before the job along with any other special material like a humidifier, filter rack, etc.
I am sure that system cost a pretty penny back in those days. Today with smart phones and technology a million miles ahead, I am sure the price and sophistication has dropped immensely. I can not remember the system they were using. I do know that the scanners were bulky and signed out to you and if you broke that thing or dropped it, your paycheck was going to be a lot less for a few years.
@Coloradotech Thank you for the help! I'll look into it!
@slctech That is how we would want to implement or system, at least the closest that i've found. Like you said, counting the number of screws or wire nuts someone used would be a bit silly. Same with tape, zip ties or anything else like that. I figured we could estimate how much someone would use per job and scan once for that. So we say an installer would use a handful of screws per jobs, so maybe 20? 30? and make a barcode that would scan for 20 screws each time. If the tech knows he used more then scan it twice. Same with tape. The goal is to be able to have a more accurate inventory on each truck so that we can a.) Price a job more accurately knowing how much we use, and b.) save time and money not having to run things out to a tech, and finally c.) have some accountability on how much is used on a job. Right now our guys pull stuff out of the inventory at the shop and it never gets written down. I cleaned out one truck yesterday and he had multiple things of tape flotting around his truck.
Anyways, I'm looking into a program called Fishbowl Inventory. Here is a link http://www.fishbowlinventory.com
Has anyone had any experience with it or any other program?
And thanks so much everyone who has replied!