4 FM quick reads on inventory
1. Inventory: Base Decisions on Real-Life Data
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is inventory-management strategies
Managers will have a greater chance of successfully managing inventory if they can minimize decisions based on emotion and make more decisions based on real-life data. Much of the data they need exists in the database for the computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS, and it can provide answers to several questions:
What is the right part? Managers can answer this question by looking at the equipment bill of materials, the original equipment manufacturer list, nameplate information, work-order history, or the contractor-work history. They can document all of this information in the CMMS item-master registry to ensure the department procures the correct materials.
What is the right quantity or stocking level? A number of modifiers determine the correct stocking levels. Most organizations use minimum and maximum levels or calculate economic order quantities. These figures should relate to historical use, consumption rate and lead times.
What is the right time? Departments that operate in a reactive-maintenance mode tend to have high levels of inventory because of this firefighting mentality. Moving toward a planned work environment reduces the chances of stockouts, and it allows managers to bring materials in at the lowest cost of acquisition.
Finally, what is the right cost? The supply chain can be the heart of the maintenance organization, or it can be the heart attack. The way departments manage this process is a key component of their success. The best departments have 25 percent of their total inventory on some type of stocking program.
2. CMMS: Five Commonly Underused Functions
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is identifying the most underused functions of a CMMS.
Computerized maintenance management systems, or CMMS, are among the most powerful tools managers have for achieving maintenance and engineering goals. But a handful of commonly underused CMMS functions exist, and managers should keep them in mind during the specification process and after the CMMS is operating.
First, a Web-request system. Many organizations do not push customers to use these modules because they prefer to take work-order requests over the phone and perform data entry manually. But allowing customers to make requests via the Web creates real-time savings and status updates, and it gives customers the ability to track their requests and view costs any time.
Preventive maintenance, or PM. Many CMMS have a PM module, but few organizations use it to perform predictive-maintenance tasks, including infrared thermography, leak detection, and vibration and oil analysis. Many organizations use preventive and predictive interchangeably, but they are two different types of tasks the same PM module can generate.
Warehouse and inventory control. This feature allows: documentation with purchase orders; receipt of parts into warehouses; charging of parts to work orders; and selling parts to other departments via sales orders. The warehouse and inventory control module is even more useful when combined with the PM module.
Timekeeping. Most technicians punch a time clock, but many managers do not break down that time by the hours and minutes technicians spend on specific jobs. Using the timekeeping function helps managers better understand the way technicians use their time. The number of hours on a work order is a major element in the cost of a job, so linking work-order time to the actual available hours in a workday makes sense.
Finally, human resources. These modules track everything from managing position-control numbers to promotions and certifications. Managers also can use this module to monitor charge rates, which should include benefit and overhead costs.
3. Inventory Management Best Practices
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip, best practices for inventory management.
Challenges related to two common MRO products offer insights on inventory management and suggest guidelines for determining the most appropriate stocking practices to protect the inventory investment:
First, rolling bearings. A lack of cleanliness is the largest contributor to shortened bearing life. Storeroom supervisors should store bearings horizontally in the original packaging — not in plastic — and rotate them regularly. Changing the way supervisors store the bearings can extend their life significantly because vibrations during storage cause lubricant failure, even when the only load on the bearing is its own weight.
Next is belts. Belts have shelf lives of two years, according to top belt manufacturers. If departments store V-belts per manufacturer instructions, the belts can last for several years without any noticeable influence on their performance.
Finally, high-density storage drawer systems can deliver a host of benefits to managers and their departments. One of the greatest benefits is they can increase storage capacity in less space. Converting from traditional shelving systems to high-density drawers can reduce floor space up to 80 percent.
Another benefit is the modular flexibility of the cabinets, which come in various heights and widths that create many combinations. The systems' modularity allows for custom-fitted storage, and their interchangeable parts provide flexibility for future change and growth.
4. Inventory Management Best Practices
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is achieving best practices in inventory management.
Managers can achieve materials-management excellence by executing best practices in supply-chain and inventory management that support organizational objectives.
The principle goal of every organization is to manage facilities at the lowest cost in the least possible time. Organizations are finding that effective supply-chain management and an efficient storeroom operation to support maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) are critical elements that either make them competitive or contribute to greater inefficiency. A storeroom that supports MRO activities with the right parts, in the right place, at the right time drives the organization's operational efficiency.
The main objectives of inventory management, which includes the product-specification process, are:
Reducing repair-cycle times. Managers can do this by establishing and improving lead times for replacement parts and equipment. One strategy is to look for local sources of essential parts and equipment as a way to reduce repair and transportation time. A major contributor to efficient repairs is the process of packaging and delivering products. Delays with this process alone can increase direct labor costs for front-line technicians by up to 50 percent.
Reducing inventory. A typical storeroom operation has 5-12 percent part duplication, meaning the storeroom has the exact same item but with different part numbers or descriptions. Also, more than 60 percent of items that should be stocked at minimum/maximum levels actually are greater than the maximum levels.
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