Material Planning for Your Dispatch Repair and Maintenance Business: Some Key Tips

SAP Business OneMaterial planning, important for warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing, is the most important foundational part of a field or depot repair service. Whether you are fixing cell phones or elevators, any business that takes responsibility for keeping equipment up and running needs to properly plan their material flow. Here are several important tips for managing material in your repair business:

  • Integrated Software – Businesses use software systems to manage different areas of expertise: CRM, ERP, Accounting and Inventory. Your current software system must include inventory management processes. From the moment the inventory enters your possession till the moment it is utilized, it should be recorded and planned. The right ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions can be customized to fit your business’s specific inventory plans.
  • Through-Process Handling – In warehousing, this is called cross-docking, where inventory moves through the warehouse in one direction, from the incoming dock to the outgoing dock. In a repair business, this means that inventory which is in need of repair moves through the entire repair process without returning. This saves time, as your repair team know exactly what to expect. A uni-directional plan can be managed through an ERP, as well.
  • Integrate Customer Service and Material Handling – If you are repairing something with people’s livelihood on it (computers, tablets, cell-phones) your customers will be interested to know how things are going. With the right software and handling plan in place, each aspect of the movement process can create customer service. When an item is moved from “awaiting repair” to a technician’s workstation, an automated notice goes out to the customer: “We are working on your _______.” When it is finished, the customer gets instant email notification: decreasing storage costs and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Avoid Customer Frustration – Material handling can often get complicated when multiple steps are involved. If a car repair shop has to replace a part they originally priced for repair, this is information most customers like to have before they get the bill. A proper inventory management system will give you tools to identify customer frustration points, and address them before they happen.

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