How It Works: Nuventory
STATS: Fix Auto USA Location: Locations across the country Website: Nuventory.com Cost: $150 per month Uses: Inventory management Training Required: Free web training available and onsite training available for a fee
Erick Bickett is the founder and CEO of Fix Auto USA. Bickett founded the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) in 1995, and in 1997, served a two-year term as the chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC). He is also one of the original founders of Caliber Collision. Throughout his career, Bickett has worked at and owned a number of different shops.
Before founding Fix Auto USA, Bickett owned his own shop, where he was meticulous about monitoring paint and material usage. While he was unable to continue personally overseeing that usage once he moved into his current role, he still emphasizes the importance of managing material costs. Bickett knew he needed a way to keep his shops moving at an efficient pace, while also cutting down on wasted materials. Bickett began looking for a system that he could implement in his shops that would allow him to track paint and materials. Bickett, who also has experience in the world of software, even considered creating a system on his own. Three years ago, he was introduced to Nuventory by a friend. Now all of the locations that Bickett is in charge of use Nuventory.
Bickett owns and operates 11 Fix Auto USA franchise locations. Bickett says that his locations are often used to test new strategies and solutions before they are rolled out to the rest of the network.
How It Works:
Nuventory is an inventory management system that can be used on a mobile device. Along with tracking inventory, Nuventory can measure technician material usage; allows users the ability to set an inventory baseline and auto purchase; and captures items, like fasteners, that are not on the original estimate to create an accurate invoice.
Nuventory users can go into the system and set the desired quantities of their materials. By setting minimum quantities, the system will flag what needs to be ordered automatically. The color-coded system allows the user to see when these parts need to be replenished. Bickett says that at his locations, the technicians have Nuventory on their mobile devices and add materials that they need by inputting the SKU, which places that item in the user’s shopping cart in the app. When the item comes in, the technician can go up and collect it, at which point the inventory level is updated.
“I’ve tried other systems that have used Excel spreadsheets,” Bickett says. “A spreadsheet is not something that you can manage where there aren’t mistakes. In the old days, if someone needed more tape, I would make them bring the core of the last roll that they used so I would know that they really needed the tape. That was when I was able to be more involved. This gives me a solution where I have some visibility.”
Bickett adds that in order to make the most of Nuventory, someone needs to be in charge of checking the materials out when they come in and a technician needs to come collect the materials. Bickett refers to this as his “gatekeeper.”
Bickett says that if you leave materials out in the open, there’s going to be material loss because no one is tracking who takes what and how much he or she is using. With Nuventory, those levels can be monitored and each technician's usage is tracked.
By using Nuventory, Bickett says his shops have cut their orders down to once per week.
“That has taken 10 interruptions per week down to one,” Bickett says.
On average, Bickett says that his locations have seen a 10 percent improvement in gross profit in materials. Bickett adds that even with a $150 investment per month for the system, the ROI is significant.