7 Ways to Organize Your Parts Inventory the Right Way

The average employee spends 1.5 hours/day looking for things according to recent statistics. Time is money for RV and Marine dealers, so many are looking to organize their parts inventory. With so many different parts to manage, and a busy schedule, taking the area from chaos to order can seem like an overwhelming prospect. But you can stay in control of your parts inventory by organizing it like a pro.


1. Cut the Clutter

Cut the ClutterAccording to a recent Harvard University Study, students tended to focus more when they were in an uncluttered space. “The study found students who worked in a clutter-free workspace were able to work steadily for 7.5 minutes longer than the students attempting the task in a cluttered workspace.”

Keep work areas clear of clutter or at least try to clean up at the end of every work week for a fresh start on Monday – some RV and Marine dealers even have a Friday afternoon “refreshment break” to celebrate!


2. Organize by Manufacturer

Organize by ManufacturerDealer expert Jeff Sheets suggests that RV and Marine parts inventory organize by manufacturer and not by vendor. While organizing by vendor may be simpler when receiving parts, organizing by manufacturer makes it easier for your technicians to access parts while working on the relevant equipment. A little extra time upfront saves a lot in the long run.


3. Maximize Vertical Space

Maximize Vertical SpaceInstead of cluttering up the work area or expanding your space horizontally, look up! Don’t limit yourself to your floor space alone. The more items you can get onto higher shelving or racks, the more space you can free up for your technicians to move in, which is always a plus. Invest in a few safe stools to make navigating the higher shelving easy.


4. Provide Excellent Lighting

Provide Excellent LightingIt’s easy to forget the lighting aspect of your parts room. After all, customers aren’t going back there, so there is no need to impress anyone – that’s for the showroom. But your staff needs good lighting to get the job done.

Lighting creates a safer environment for them, and it will also help keep them awake and alert. Good lighting makes it harder to lose items in the parts room; but with poor lighting, it’s easy for items to slip through the cracks, never to be heard from again.


5. Keep Heavy Merchandise Near the Floor

Keep Heavy Merchandise Near the FloorFor the safety of your employees and the structural stability of your shelving, it is a good idea to store your heaviest merchandise as close to the floor as you can. Having merchandise lower down reduces the potential for strains or back injuries as your staff move the items around. This is important, as approximately 8 out of 10 Americans will have back pain at some point in their lifetimes, and this is especially prevalent for those over 65.


6. Keep Fast Moving Parts Available

Keep Fast Moving Parts AvailableDealer expert Jeff Sheets says to keep your fastest-moving parts near your parts guys. With the parts close by, they can focus on the job at hand rather than wasting time moving back and forth repetitively to get what they need. These are skilled individuals, and you want them spending their time on the equipment, not racking up steps on their Fitbit.


7. Stock Ahead of the Busy Season

Stock Ahead of the Busy SeasonLeach Camper Sales, with locations in Iowa and Nebraska, experienced so much growth that its parts department simply couldn’t keep up. However, Leach Camper saw parts as core to their Brand Promise.

Knowing what to have on hand, keeping the inventory stocked and being able to order parts in a timely fashion is important, said Bob Saunders, Parts Manager. Trying to get them requires a lot of legwork and time, which is not easy, especially during the peak season.

The solution? Forecasting and stocking ahead of time.


8. Utilize Inventory Management Software

Utilize Inventory Management SoftwareLeach Camper Sales managed 4x the parts sales that they did in the past, and they would not have been able to do that with a manual system.

Without any sort of software, we would not function with the amount of business that we do today, said Saunders. After all, we do over $1 million worth of parts a year. When I started here in ‘95, we did $250,000 worth of parts a year. That was easy enough to manage with a manual system, but there’s no way we could do that now. There’s just no way.


9. Seize the New Day

Seize the New DayAre you moving locations or expanding your business? The RV General Store in Oklahoma grew 400% largely by adding on a second location. One benefit was that they could take full advantage of inventory control and implement best practices right away. If you do things right upfront, you will thank yourself later.


Parting Thoughts

Sometimes it can be hard to let go of parts that you invested in years ago. But, in reality, if they are not being used, they don’t need to be cluttering up your store room. Today, there are many options to sell old parts, including eBay. Are you looking for some of your inventory to drive into the sunset? Check out this comprehensive guide on How to Get Rid of Dead Inventory.

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