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Facility Maintenance Decisions

MRO Purchasing: Priority or Strategy?

By Dan Hounsell   Maintenance & Operations

The MRO PURCHASING process doesn’t exactly fly under the radar in facilities. For many, especially the largest ones, it is a substantial piece of the annual operating budget. But it’s safe to say that few top-level facility executives pay as much attention to MRO purchasing as they do to the organization’s core mission, whether that mission is education, health care or government.

That leaves it to maintenance and engineering managers to produce an efficient process. After all, it’s the lifeblood of their departments, providing essential parts, equipment and technology that front-line technicians need to keep facilities operating.

Beyond that, managers often make the process a priority because its success is one criteria on which their performance is judged. But simply because a manager pays close attention to the process doesn’t mean it’s efficient. That might be one reason so many organizations constantly look to streamline the entire process.

Making MRO product purchasing a priority means managers pay attention to doing it more efficiently. But developing a strategy goes one step further by outlining how to do it more efficiently.

First, any worthwhile MRO purchasing strategy incorporates advances in technology by taking full advantage of the internet.

Five years ago, managers were exploring exactly how web technology might help improve the purchasing process. Today, a department’s purchasing operation more often is tightly intertwined with the web. Product specifiers routinely use it to request information, send requests for quotes, track and expedite shipping, place orders, and conduct reverse auctions.

Second, a successful strategy reflects the nature of facilities, as well as maintenance and engineering departments. It gives specifiers unbiased, up-to-date information on the latest MRO product technology, and it lets them share purchasing date with other areas of the organization.

Maybe most importantly, it helps managers monitor, measure and manage the purchasing process and make adjustments that generate savings from both lower product costs and worker productivity.

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  posted on 8/1/2005   Article Use Policy

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