Here’s a familiar scenario for field service managers: A technician arrives at a customer’s site only to discover he lacks a crucial part. (So much for that first-time fix rate.) With equipment downtime and customer frustration mounting, where can your service team turn to get that part delivered quickly?

If the part can fit in a car, try Uber as a parts delivery service.

Uber_Logo_Black_BackgroundThat was the quick-fix solution McKinley Equipment, an Irvine, Calif.-based commercial door and loading dock equipment supply and services company, rolled out in May. The company has used Uber’s ride-sharing service as an alternative parts delivery option about two dozen times since then when speed is critical. Uber has recently rolled out courier services for meals, groceries, and even retail products in certain cities, though the company likely didn’t have parts delivery in mind.

“A thought occurred to me while taking an Uber to a meeting in the Bay Area,” says Dave Carevich, director of business development at McKinley Equipment. “Why not dial up an Uber when we have an urgent need and use that as another pipeline to deliver parts to our technicians? I brought the idea back to the office, and we gave it shot. It has been fantastic.”

Carevich describes a scenario where the warehouse might have the part a technician needs but the closest McKinley parts driver is 40 miles away on another delivery. Instead of forcing the technician to sit around for a couple of hours, waiting on the part, Carevich might call Uber.

“Why not dial up an Uber when we have an urgent need, and use that as another pipeline to deliver parts to our technicians?”

“It’s a one-way delivery from the warehouse to the technician. Instead of waiting on my delivery guy to go across town to pick up the part and then go deliver it, I can take care of my customer that much faster.”

Factoring in the cost of lost technician time, an additional truck roll — and, potentially, an angry customer — an Uber parts delivery could be a bargain option, as well.

ABOUT Sean Lyden

Avatar photoSean is CEO of Lyden Communications LLC, a content strategy and editorial consulting firm, and also serves as editor for Utility Fleet Professional magazine. A nationally recognized feature writer on sales, marketing, technology and transportation topics, Sean is also a contributing author to "The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide” and “The Great Big Book of Business Lists,” both books published by Entrepreneur Press.