HVAC, Business Tips, Pro Features

HVAC Inventory App: Seamlessly Incorporate Inventory Management Into Your Business Workflow

February 1st, 2023
10 Min Read

For HVAC contractors looking to invest in an inventory app, there are two main options:

  1. Inventory-Only Apps: Software built specifically and solely for managing inventory. 

  2. HVAC Business Software With Inventory Features Built-In: Holistic field service management software that has  features for inventory management in addition to the other tools HVAC businesses need (e.g. CRM, dispatch software, work order management, timesheets, etc.)

While inventory-specific apps can seem like the right solution for inventory management, they have significant drawbacks when compared to holistic HVAC software solutions. Namely, inventory-specific apps often do not seamlessly integrate with the other apps you use to run your business.

For example, they typically will not integrate with your customer relationship management system (CRM). So, keeping customer information and service histories up to date—including the equipment (inventory) that you’ve installed for them or that they need—requires you to keep both your inventory and CRM systems up to date separately.  

This same issue applies and compounds when your inventory management system doesn’t speak to your tools for managing your pricebook, creating work orders, and drafting estimates and invoices (among other things). Therefore, using inventory-specific apps equates to a lot of manual updating of many different apps, which causes significant workflow inefficiencies for your staff, and introduces too much room for errors during job management.

To address these and other issues, ServiceTitan’s HVAC software seamlessly incorporates inventory management with the other apps needed to run an HVAC business, allowing HVAC contractors to streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and maximize profits. 

In this article, we’ll explain exactly how our HVAC inventory app works and how it can help contractors connect inventory management to the day-to-day operations of an HVAC company. 

If you’d like to find out more about how ServiceTitan’s all-in-one contractor software can help you streamline your HVAC business, book a free, personalized demo.

How ServiceTitan Streamlines HVAC Inventory Management

Whether your company has a commercial focus, a residential focus, or serves both business divisions, ServiceTitan’s HVAC business software provides highly detailed inventory tracking. Our inventory system allows you to easily view and track purchase orders, adjustments, transfers, item quantity by location, requisitions, replenishments, and more. 

Pricebook items that business owners and managers activate as inventory items are automatically and immediately tracked on our platform. 

Let’s look at how it all works. 

Item Overview: Easily View and Drill Down Into the Details of Any Inventory Item

In the Item Overview section, pictured in the screenshot above, users can get a comprehensive, granular view of their equipment and materials, including:

  • Item name

  • Item code

  • Item description

  • Inventory type

  • Inventory tags

  • Total quantity (available, on hold, on order, on hand) 

  • Average cost per unit

  • Total value 

Item Overview allows HVAC contractors to select any inventory item to reference tons of valuable stats. For example, they can see every job where a given item has been utilized, and how many times it’s been used overall.  

Inventory Templates: Allocate Equipment and Materials to Specific Locations in Specific Quantities

Having enabled all the HVAC inventory items they require to run their business, contractors will next generate inventory templates, allocating equipment and materials to the locations—job site, office, storage, company truck—where they’re required, in the quantities they’re needed.  

The image above illustrates how contractors can quickly and easily assign maximum and minimum quantities for all of their inventory items by location. With ServiceTitan, a customized template is created for each storage location. This feature comes in especially handy for large shops—particularly those that do a lot of commercial work—eliminating the inefficiencies and confusion that often come along with handling many different brands, unit sizes, and other equipment specifications.    

Automate and Manage Replenishment with Ease

Using our mobile app (available on Android and iOS mobile devices), field technicians can add items to invoices. When they do so, an automated process instantaneously updates the ServiceTitan replenishment schedule to document the items required in a given location.  

HVAC technicians can also begin the process of requisitioning parts and equipment right from their tablet, while they’re on-site. 

For example, if a tech encounters a malfunctioning part that’s under warranty, they can draw up an estimate or invoice and code it as a warranty job. The ServiceTitan warranty parts order process enables service technicians to:

  • Draw on customer data and customer history to identify existing equipment under warranty and indicate the faulty part.

  • Send a request to the office to begin the requisition of a replacement. 

Once a new part comes in, the tech can execute the replacement installation, using ServiceTitan to update the status of the warranty part from On Truck to Installed. That way, the warehouse knows when the job has been completed. Warehouse managers can then initiate a return of the faulty warranty part to the relevant vendor to ensure their company is credited. 

To replenish supplies, users can designate their Replenishment origin as a vendor. This option is shown in the screenshot above. Or they can choose to replenish inventory from their own warehouse. 

Note: ServiceTitan will allow users to initiate replenishments from their warehouse only if it has a sufficient quantity on hand.

Create, Track, and Manage Purchase Orders

Each time replenishment from a vendor is initiated, ServiceTitan automatically sends a notification that it’s time to start a purchase order. 

Again, ServiceTitan provides two options for this process:

  1. Users can either generate a purchase order only

  2. Or they can create and send a P.O. at the same time

Of course, multiple inventory items often need to be resupplied simultaneously, and ServiceTitan makes that easy, too.   

Users can send purchase orders as PDFs, CSV spreadsheet files, or both. Many of our contractors like to use the “Mark as Sent” field when they’ve ordered items outside of the ServiceTitan platform—by calling in to a vendor or entering an order on a vendor’s website.   

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Optimize Purchase Orders Further with Our Procure-to-Pay Upgrade

With our Procure-to-Pay upgrade, HVAC companies can choose to have ServiceTitan auto-send purchase orders straight to suppliers. This effectively eliminates a step, as there’s no longer any need to create a separate P.O., allowing contractors to save time and streamline the purchase order process. Procure-to-Pay also provides automated, real-time updates to the cost and availability of pricebook items.

Beyond optimizing overall inventory management, a smooth and accurate replenishment process—making sure the equipment and materials contractors are always on hand—allows business owners to improve customer satisfaction and customer management.         

Any time they want, HVAC service providers can review a purchase order, whether it’s pending, sent, partially received, received in full, or canceled. Office staff find this function useful for a variety of things, particularly monitoring P.O. statuses.   

For example, as shown in the screenshot above, our Aging column documents how long ago each and every purchase order was sent. It’s not unusual for an order to stall from time to time. And for employees using ServiceTitan, it’s easy to identify such cases and then follow up with the relevant warehouse or vendor and see what’s behind the delay.   

Pending purchase orders can be edited easily. So if for some reason an HVAC contractor wants to change the source of one or more items, delay or advance a Required By date, or send supplies to a different location where they’re more urgently needed, it’s just a matter of a few clicks.  

Create, Track, and Manage Billing and Invoicing

Meanwhile, the Receive Shipment portion of our HVAC inventory management software allows contractors to attach tickets and receipts to their purchase order paperwork. It then becomes automatically available on the back end to the accounting team, so there’s no danger of losing crucial documentation in the shuffle of the workday. (More on our QuickBooks integration here.)  

Furthermore, ServiceTitan automatically stores every data point and document for every purchase order on the same platform. (This goes for HVAC projects, as well as those related to other business units, like plumbing and electrical.) Since this storage is centralized in the cloud, HVAC office staffers never have to chase after documents that have been misfiled, misplaced, or otherwise lost.  

ServiceTitan users can update invoices by adding purchase order items to them directly. That way, there’s no need to worry about whether the supplies ordered for a job get billed to the proper client. By cutting out steps between invoicing and billing, this feature can help business owners drastically improve their efficiency. 

It also provides a major leg up when an HVAC project expands beyond its initial scope over the course of a job, necessitating different inventory items and/or greater quantities than were estimated in the original proposal

Many commercial HVAC clients have highly specific approval, billing, and payment protocols. So contractors can still create the relevant documents manually, using templates that are already part of their process.

But ServiceTitan can also auto-generate bills. The lower-right corner of the screenshot above highlights our Update Pricebook function, which automatically updates user pricebooks with any price changes that came up during a job, ensuring their pricebook is accurate going forward.     

Invoices received from vendors are automatically mirrored in bills generated within ServiceTitan. HVAC contractors and/or their employees can pay them directly from the Accounts Payable portion of the app. Our software ensures that the proper vendors receive checks in the prescribed amounts.

Handle Returns + Adjustments with Greater Ease (And Fewer Hiccups)   

To manage item return issues—including inventory reductions—ServiceTitan users can view a separate Credits section that automatically reflects every return, allowing HVAC companies to efficiently track what they’re owed. 

Our platform makes it as painless as possible to correct the inevitable discrepancies that occasionally arise between the inventory items that are actually on-hand—whether at the office, or in warehouses and trucks—and the digital inventory. (For busy HVAC companies, even those using the most high-tech inventory tracking systems, such mismatches are bound to occur every now and again.) 

Our Adjustments view, shown above, lets ServiceTitan subscribers quickly and easily tweak things like serial number, quantity, item type and location, and more. 

These can be done one at a time, or using a downloadable spreadsheet template, across multiple items and fields to automatically transfer changes across the board to an inventory count. 

In the absence of this functionality, HVAC companies might easily spend many hours on manual, piecemeal adjustments, and our users have found that it provides them with vastly greater efficiency. 

To complement the capabilities that come with ServiceTitan Adjustments, we offer an Inventory Counts feature. 

Inventory Counts provides for a range of highly specific inventory verification counts:

  • Cycle Count: Suggested for trucks with inventory templates, as noted above.

  • Item Count: Best for confirming quantities of a single item across storage locations. 

  • Full Inventory Count: Preferred for periodic warehouse counts.

These capabilities further enable HVAC contractors to put their time and energy to the best possible use, allowing them to minimize overhead costs, and reduce the man hours that might otherwise be lost to inefficient manual processes.

Want to See Our Inventory Management Features In Action?

We began this article by emphasizing the most important choice HVAC industry operators must make when deciding on an HVAC inventory app:

  • An inventory-specific app—that is, a software app designed to handle inventory alone.

  • A holistic all-in-one HVAC software platform that integrates the management of HVAC inventory into overall business workflow. 

While standalone inventory solutions can seem like a good option on the surface, they put HVAC service contractors on the hook for additional products to address the other basic needs of field service businesses. Inevitably, these add-ons involve additional fees and often do not work well together.

With advanced HVAC software like ServiceTitan, HVAC companies can minimize errors and streamline their inventory and business workflows to drive increased profitability. 

If you’d like to find out more about how ServiceTitan’s all-in-one contractor software can help you streamline your HVAC business, book a free, personalized demo.

ServiceTitan HVAC Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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