Electrical, Business Tips, Pro Features, Guides

How to Streamline Inventory Management for Electrical Contractors

February 3rd, 2023
9 Min Read

For electrical contractors that want to invest in a software system for managing inventory, there are two main options:

  1. Inventory Management Software: Software built specifically and solely for facilitating inventory management. 

  2. Electrical Contractor Software with Built-In Inventory Management: Holistic field service management software that has features for inventory management in addition to the other tools electrical businesses need (e.g. estimating software, time tracking, CRM, work order and project management, etc.).

While both software solutions can help you solve the challenges of inventory and materials management, the first option (inventory-only software) comes with a number of distinct disadvantages when compared to holistic electrical contractor software. 

For example, inventory-only software generally will not integrate with the other tools you use to run your business (e.g. work order apps, estimating apps, invoicing apps, etc.). When equipment or materials are added to a sold estimate or invoice, someone on staff will need to manually update your inventory software to reflect that. 

This same issue applies and compounds with other business workflows that connect to inventory. For example, your pricebook and CRM systems won’t speak to your inventory software either—they’ll need to be updated and managed separately as well. This is highly inefficient, time consuming, and leaves too much room for costly errors in manual data entry.

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

In this post we’ll walk through how our electrical inventory features work to seamlessly connect inventory management to the day-to-day operations of an electrical company. 

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

Electrical Contractor Inventory Management in ServiceTitan: An In-Depth Walk-Through

Whether your company is commercial-focused, residential-focused, or both, ServiceTitan’s cloud-based electrician software provides robust inventory tracking capabilities, enabling you to easily view and track purchase orders, adjustments, transfers, item quantities, requisitions, replenishments, warranties, and more. 

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

What follows is a breakdown of how it works. 

Item Overview: Easily View and Drill Down Into Inventory Details by Item

In the Item Overview section, users can get a 10,000-foot and granular view of their inventory from one place. They can see high-level metrics such as:

  • Inventory valuation

  • Total negative items

  • Total items

And they can also see a comprehensive 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 

In addition, contractors can easily drill down into individual inventory items for specific details. For example, they can see each job where that item has been utilized, how many times it’s been used overall, and more.  

Inventory Templates: Standardize and Automate the Allocation of Equipment and Materials to Specific Locations

Once inventory items have been enabled in their pricebook, contractors can leverage inventory templates to define the expected equipment and material items that should be in stock at given locations (e.g. job site, office, storage, company truck, etc.). This includes setting minimum and maximum quantities for each item, which also informs the workflow for replenishment (discussed next).

This feature is particularly useful for electrical contractors that do a lot of commercial work—reducing the inefficiencies and confusion that often come with handling a diverse array of equipment and materials.

Automate and Execute Replenishment with Max Efficiency

When field technicians add items to invoices via our mobile app (available on Android and iOS mobile devices), an automated process updates the replenishment schedule in real time, documenting the items required in a given location.  

Technicians can also begin the process of requisitioning parts, materials, and equipment right from their tablet while on-site. 

For example, if an electrician encounters a faulty part that’s under warranty, they can create an estimate or invoice and code it as a warranty job. Then, ServiceTitan’s warranty parts order workflow enables them to a) draw on customer history to identify existing equipment under warranty and b) send a request to the office to begin the requisition of a replacement for the faulty part. 

When a new part comes in and the tech installs the replacement, they can update the status of the warranty part from “On Truck” to “Installed.” The warehouse can then see the job has been completed, at which point warehouse managers can initiate a return of the faulty part to the vendor and ensure their company is credited. 

To replenish supplies, users can designate their Replenishment origin as a vendor, or they can choose to replenish inventory from their own warehouse. ServiceTitan will allow users to initiate replenishments from their warehouse only if it has a sufficient quantity on hand.

Create and Manage Purchase Orders with Ease

Any time replenishment from a vendor is initiated, an appointed person will receive a notification to create a purchase order for that request. (Users can generate a purchase order only, or create and send the purchase order at the same time.)

In cases where multiple inventory items need to be resupplied simultaneously, users can easily do that, too.   

Purchase orders can be sent as PDFs, CSV files, or both. And many of our contractors like to use the “Mark as Sent” field when they’ve ordered items outside of the ServiceTitan platform. For example, by calling in to a vendor or entering an order on a vendor’s website.

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Optimize Purchase Orders Further with Procure-to-Pay 

With our Procure-to-Pay upgrade, electrical companies can choose to have ServiceTitan auto-send purchase orders to suppliers. This eliminates the need to create a separate P.O., allowing contractors to save time and further streamline their purchase order process. 

Procure-to-Pay also provides automated, real-time updates to the cost and availability of pricebook items.

Efficiently Track Purchase Orders

ServiceTitan inventory provides at-a-glance statuses of all purchase orders, including whether it’s pending, sent, partially received, received in full, or canceled. 

In addition, our Aging column displays when each purchase order was sent. This makes it easy to identify delays and follow up with the relevant warehouse or vendor to see what’s behind these issues.   

Pending purchase orders can be edited easily. If for some reason an electrical contractor wants to change the source of one or more items, push out or bump up a “Required By” date, or send supplies to a different location where they’re more urgently needed, these adjustments can be easily made.  

Create, Track, and Manage Billing + Invoicing

Our Receive Shipment feature allows contractors to attach tickets and receipts to their purchase order paperwork. These become automatically available to the accounting team, so there’s no risk of misplacing or missing crucial documentation in the midst of a busy workday. (More on our QuickBooks accounting software integration here.)

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

ServiceTitan users can update invoices by adding purchase order items to them directly. There’s no need to worry about whether the supplies will be billed to the right client. By cutting out steps between invoicing and billing, this feature can help business owners drastically improve their efficiency while giving them peace of mind. 

It also provides a significant advantage when electrical projects expand over the course of a job, requiring different inventory items and/or greater quantities than were estimated in the original proposal

Many commercial electrical clients have highly specific approval, billing, and payment protocols. In these cases, contractors can create these relevant documents manually, using templates that are already part of their process.

To further improve workflow efficiency, our Update Pricebook function 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. Electrical contractors and/or their employees can pay them directly from the Accounts Payable section. Our software ensures that the proper vendors receive checks in the prescribed amounts.

Easily Manage Returns and Adjustments (With Fewer Mistakes)   

To manage item returns, ServiceTitan users can view a separate Credits section that displays every return that’s in process, allowing electrical companies to efficiently track what they’re owed and protect their bottom line

Our platform also makes it simple to correct discrepancies between inventory items that are actually on-hand versus what’s reflected in the system.

ServiceTitan Adjustments allows subscribers to easily tweak serial numbers, quantities, item types and locations, and more. These can be done by line item or using a spreadsheet template across multiple items and fields to automatically transfer changes across the board to an inventory count. 

Our users have found that this provides vastly greater efficiency because these adjustments would often require spending many hours editing individual line items. 

Finally, we offer an Inventory Counts feature, which provides for a range of highly specific inventory verification counts:

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

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

  • Full Inventory Count: Preferred for periodic inventory level counts of the warehouse.

These capabilities further enable electrical contractors to spend their time and energy in other ways, allowing them to minimize overhead costs, and reduce the labor hours of  doing all of this manually.

Want a Personalized Walk-Through of Our Electrical Inventory Management Features?

While standalone inventory solutions can solve the challenges of inventory management, they put electrical 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 field service software like ServiceTitan, electrical contracting businesses 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 electrical 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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