Organizations are often reluctant to keep an extensive spare parts inventory because they are focused on minimizing working expenses. Parts warehouses are often overlooked as a cost-saving component of an organization, but they can enhance efficiency and lower costs.
By following these seven tips, you can quickly implement an efficient spare part inventory system that will prevent the consequences of poor inventory storage, a shortage of parts and unexpected downtime.
1. Implement a preventive strategy
Many organizations operate within a reactive strategy, where they react after the equipment has failed, but this can be problematic when you want to optimize your spare parts inventory system. The solution lies in the skill of preventing problems before they occur.
How to implement a preventive maintenance plan for your parts.
- Collect and analyze data about spare parts.
- Look at the organization's activities holistically to ensure you locate potential hidden problems.
- Be attentive to what failures occur regularly to ensure you find the problem you might have initially thought is not a viable concern.
2. Create a standard Work Order process
An effective but straightforward work-order process will prevent the situation where excess parts are stored without being labeled, or employees forget to file a work order before using an item from inventory. A work-order process that everyone uses and that is simple to use will thus eliminate the dreadful inaccuracies you so often have to deal with.
How to create a standard Work Order process
- Decide who will be responsible for initiating the process.
- Choose a good system for labeling parts.
- Implement procedures for submitting work orders.
- Ensure that supervisors sign off each work order when it has been completed.
3. Control your inventory
To prompt a reorder of a certain part, an indication of the removal of that part on the record is critical. The same goes for new stock; if it is placed on the inventory shelf without a record, it cannot be accounted for.
To avoid these inaccuracies in inventory, an analysis of your inventory check-out system and stocking system should be conducted.
Other things that could help with inventory control are:
- Defining spare parts (for example, as 'critical')
- Regular checks of spare parts to establish if you are holding too many spares of certain parts (this could help decrease your inventory costs)
- Store and manage spare parts in a designated space.
4. Know your lead times
To create a successful spare part management strategy, you will need to be familiar with what lead times suit which parts, as this will be helpful in your consideration of which parts to keep in what volume.
Through the observation and analysis of machines, you will be able to identify which machines are critical to your organization's success and which have a secondary function in operations. Spare parts for the machines that are used every day should always be readily available to avoid costly downtime with last-minute delays.
5. Improve your stockroom security
This one might seem obvious, but it cannot be left out as a possibility for inventory inaccuracies. Although you might hope you can trust all your staff, this might not be the wisest thing.
To easily improve your stockroom security, do the following:
- Educate employees on the floor on care for parts and regular check-ups on critical spare parts
- Install physical security measures such as cupboards that are lockable
- Invest in security cameras to use at the entrance and exit of the inventory stockroom
- Adopt new regulations stating that only certain employees have permission to enter the inventory warehouses
6. Do not let new equipment fool you.
Many maintenance and operations managers think that since a piece of equipment is new, it does not have to have spare parts kept in the inventory. It sounds reasonable, one cannot deny that, but unfortunately, vendors do not always supply machines with high-quality, optimally functioning parts.
You, therefore, cannot risk losing a piece of crucial equipment, face downtime, and mitigate the resultant economic loss because of an assumption that since it is new, its parts will all be functional.
7. Invest in a high-quality CMMS
A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is software specifically designed to help people in their maintenance management efforts. Such a system will make the above-listed tips much easier to implement. The challenge, though, is to find the correct CMMS to fit your needs.
WebTMA is an innovative preventive maintenance scheduling solution that offers all the features of a traditional solution, including asset management and work orders, in addition to digital trends like ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) integration and IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity.
WebTMA asset and inventory management features are just what you would require to analyze performance, schedule preventive maintenance, reduce capital expenses, keep track of spare parts, and identify potential problems in equipment – each necessary for an effective spare parts management strategy.
If you would like to find out how WebTMA can help you, specifically in your spare part management strategy, you can call TMA Systems at +1.918.858.6600 or send us an email.
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