Critical Facilities Summit

2  FM quick reads on inventory

1. 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.


2.  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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