Do More With Less

A few years ago I was told that I had to cut down on expenses.  The boss said, ‘I want you to see if we are carrying anything on the vans we don’t need.” 

‘How?” I asked. ‘We service so many different types of equipment; we need as much inventory as we can carry.”  We went back and forth like this until he finally won. 

I did look at the inventory and my findings amazed me.  With much reluctance I had to admit that we were able to remove a number of items that were not used in quite some time.  Now we were able to save on truck inventory, which can add up to quite a few dollars. However, a nice bonus was the excess weight, which was removed from the vans, actually increased the mpg per vehicle.   

Now we fast forward a few years, and here we are.  The economy is taking a toll on everyone, and we are not exempt from its fallout.  I don’t know any oil company that has received any help from the bailout, do you?  So again, we are on our own to get through another season, and this is the time of the year to see how you can cut some expenses. 

After this unusual winter, you should start looking at the stock you carry on your service van.  Look over the inventory used last season, but pay much more attention to the inventory that was not used.  With the cost of everything going up, you can no longer afford to give any piece of merchandise a free ride.  Every bit of inventory should pay its own fare on your van.  What you haven’t used should not be carried.  We have to do more with less.

You may find that you are carrying things that are item specific and are not used very often.  You may find some items that seem to duplicate another or very close.  Why not carry one item that will do both jobs?  There are many items in the field now that do multiple jobs’why should you not get the advantage they offer?  Items like igniter kits instead of carrying 20 or more transformers, universal relays instead of three or four specific relays, A/C ready kits as opposed to carrying a special A/C / heating Cad Cell Relay.  Cad Cell holders rarely go bad, but the cells do. Why not carry more cells than complete kits?  This is just one way to save costs; if you look more closely, you will probably see more.  But wait, this is a good time for all.   

The winter is beginning to wind down and the summer season hasn’t really started yet.  Now is a good time to look at how you can combine your van inventory, and to help you, the national trade shows are coming very soon.  On display at these shows will be the very latest in heating and air conditioning equipment as well as new products to assist you in cutting your costs.  Here, you will meet with the people who can help you, get the answers you are looking for and see the new items to cut your inventory.  In addition, you can gain some knowledge.  Aside from what you will learn on the convention floors, get involved in the classroom training.  I believe you are never too old to learn a new trick.  You might be amazed at what you have forgotten.  There are three shows that come to mind: the Atlantic Regional Energy Expo in Atlantic City, NJ on May 5-7, the National Association of Oil Heating Service Managers held on May 19-20 in Hershey, Pa. and the NEFI Energy Expo held this year on June 9 and 10. 

There you have it, a way to shine and even prosper in these days of buyouts, bailouts or strikeouts.  Next time you have some spare time, look at your van and see how you can save yourself or your boss some money.  He or she will be looking to save some expenses this year for certain.  Why not help them save?  It could save you.  Next they will want you to look at warrantee items.

As usual, I enjoy your letters and comments, good and bad.  So let me hear from you and remember, enjoy the show.   E-mail me at



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