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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Wholesaler interactions

    I've been spending a lot of time thinking about parts flow for general repairs in the commercial refrigeration business.

    Really want to save time, and prevent having to go to a wholesaler all the time. Something entirely different. I know it'll be hard to do this entirely, but visit the wholesaler just for non standard replacement parts.

    Do you think if large contracting firms (say - over 20 technicians) have a locker/bin for drop off at their location where distributors directly replenish high demand parts would be useful? At least solves the problem for contractors at large companies...so many small companies it'd be hard to make feasible.

    Welcome any thoughts on disrupting that status quo here..

    r/
    Charlie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Maple Grove, MN
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    How would that solve any problems? For most service techs, going to the shop is just as much a pain in the a$$ as going to the wholesaler is.

    The locker needs to be built into the service vans or whatever building the service van happens to be parked at in order to do any good.

    If they could start making deliveries like a pizza place, then they might have something.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by ammoniadog View Post

    If they could start making deliveries like a pizza place, then they might have something.

    That crossed my mind too, partnering with Uber (or whatever ride-share service) to deliver to the job when needed. Drums up a ton of business for Uber, saves tech time, and wholesalers don't have to hire extra people to make the deliveries.

    As for the shop locker idea - I was assuming most techs park their trucks at the shop, where they could re-stock when they clock in and get the vehicle.

    r/
    Charlie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Elizabethtown, PA
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    One of my wholesalers has delivered to me via Uber a couple of times now. The first time they had sent me the wrong thermostat. I emailed them to let them know and got a reply saying an Uber driver would be right over with it. It wasn't urgent and I thought he was joking. Then an Uber driver showed up at the job site.

    It seemed crazy but if it comes down to having another truck and another driver or using Uber a couple times a day I'm sure it is saving them quite a bit to use Uber.

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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
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    Most large companies already do that. Parts are scanned with a smart phone and app connected to company server, as used during service.
    Compiles a list to supply house. Supply house delivers parts that night or early in the morning. Similar to what happens at a grocery store.

    I floated the Uber parts idea years ago.
    Maybe they’re waiting for the drone delivery technology.
    If I do a job in 30 minutes it's because I spent 30 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Chicagoland Area
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    I was a refrigeration service tech for 15 years prior to getting injured. I now work for a supply house. We don't deliver but some of our other local supply houses do. We do utilize messenger services and charge those at cost to our contractors.

    I spent the bulk of my career in the field working for 2 shops. One shop I did everything. Call supply houses and get pricing, pick up parts at the supply house, finish the job. The other shop I would call dispatch and they would do the leg work and, unless it was an emergency, they would schedule the repair for the following day, delivering parts to the jobsite.

    I prefer the former. The less people involved, the less chance for mistakes. Not all part#'s are available. A service tech should know what he needs, or at least what the part needs to do. When a tech gives a dispatcher or a salesman incomplete part#'s or information, all it does is prolong the length of the call from dispatch to completion. A tech can talk to a (hopefully) knowledgeable guy at the parts house and get a replacement, be it exact or comparable. If he is going thru a dispatcher or a salesman, things get lost in the shuffle.

    Trucks should be stocked with common items. You referenced refrigeration. Trucks should be stocked with common use contactors, temp controls, time clocks, copper, motors and fan blades, cap tubes, txv's, driers, solenoid valves and coils, and refrigerant.
    Officially, Down for the count

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  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    US of A
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Fult View Post
    I've been spending a lot of time thinking about parts flow for general repairs in the commercial refrigeration business.

    Really want to save time, and prevent having to go to a wholesaler all the time. Something entirely different. I know it'll be hard to do this entirely, but visit the wholesaler just for non standard replacement parts.

    Do you think if large contracting firms (say - over 20 technicians) have a locker/bin for drop off at their location where distributors directly replenish high demand parts would be useful? At least solves the problem for contractors at large companies...so many small companies it'd be hard to make feasible.

    Welcome any thoughts on disrupting that status quo here..

    r/
    Charlie
    You specifically said commercial which makes a difference imo. All commercial jobs in my experience are charged time and material. Going to pick up a part was charged as time. In some cases that let the company carry a little less stock than they might normally carry than let's say they were a flat rate residential company that would carry as many parts as possible because they cannot collect for part travel time.

    I have had parts delivered by taxi, Uber, company parts driver, helpers and supply house drivers plus picking up the parts myself.

    Any good company has a restocking procedure. I have seen what you describe but the company stopped it because the supply house in question seemed to be charging us more by feeling so secure that they would automatically deliver all our parts as you describe. That was what the owner said why he stopped it and decided to keep several supply houses honest by competing for our business.
    Signature removed Violated rule #15

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
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    665
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    We stock our trucks with the common parts and often use currier services if our drivers are busy. Sometimes it’s cheeper to use a currier than it is to send our own driver.

    We take the vehicles home and restock on the way to do PM’s or if we need to run and get an emergency part then we’ll restock at that point also.

    Some of our customers have lockers that we keep parts in. They own all the parts and we just keep it stocked as we use items, billing them for everything that gets restocked, so there is no confusion as to who owns the parts.

    Our quoted jobs have all the parts brought to the shop and we load up all the jobs for the day in the morning. If the job is close to home or far from the shop then a driver delivers us the parts.


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