4 FM quick reads on inventory management
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Inventory Management: What are Parts Vending Machines?
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is understanding when to utilize parts vending machines.
To reduce expenses for high-turnover, consumable items, some organizations have installed point-of-use vending machines, which store and dispense the parts technicians use most frequently. Users must provide an identification login, and the machine tracks the user or department. This machine resolves the accountability problem by generating a report detailing excessive use of a particular part, and the manager or supervisor can address the issue.
The machine automatically tracks and reports part use, and storeroom personnel refill the vacant dispensing slots as needed. The approach eliminates stock-outs, allows managers to weed out low-turnover items, and greatly reduces the walk-and-wait time technicians otherwise can face in obtaining parts.
Managers can configure the vending machines to dispense a variety of parts, depending on the need and application. Using the machines this way can dramatically reduce the consumption of traditionally high-turnover items, such as gloves, safety glasses, drill bits, cutting tools, small tools, fasteners, and personal protective equipment. Since inventory stocking levels follow use, the result for inventory is lower on-hand quantities, which in turn leads to lower spending for that part and increased availability of dollars for the facility. Available dollars indicate managers have addressed the organization's goals related to cost control or spending cuts.
4. MRO Storeroom Management
This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is effective MRO storeroom management.
For the MRO purchasing function to be efficient and effective for ordering parts, standard storeroom elements must be in place to provide the essential groundwork. That foundation includes the following elements:
*First, an effective computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS. The software has an inventory module with bar-code capability to handle and process all MRO-parts tracking functions.
*Second, an MRO-parts storeroom should be clean, organized, labeled, well stocked, and well run.
*Third, restricted access. Managers know parts in the storeroom keep facilities equipment operational and productive. Storeroom security ensures parts required for maintenance are available when needed.
*Fourth, parts accountability. No technician should be able to simply walk in and out with items they need. Storeroom operators must account for and track every part that comes into and goes out of the storeroom.
*And finally, a trained operator, clerk or attendant. The operator manages all aspects of storeroom operations and communicates well with the purchasing and maintenance departments.
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