Keys to Managing a Cost-Effective Storeroom
In today's challenging economy, maintenance and engineering managers are exploring every possible avenue to cut costs and benefit the organization's bottom line. As a matter of course, these efforts often lead to maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) parts storerooms. The inevitable order comes down through the ranks of facilities management to cut spending, and storerooms often come under close scrutiny.
In an effort to cut spending and hold down costs, managers and operators come face-to-face with Murphy's First Golden Law of Managed Inventory: He who has the gold, rules. In the case of inventory management, the gold is spare parts, operating supplies, tools, personal protective equipment (PPE), and related materials.
Control is the lynchpin of efficient storeroom management, because efficient storeroom management means effective cost control. Managers can demonstrate effective cost control by reducing expenses related to storing and distributing MRO parts, but failing to exercise control is a disaster waiting to happen.
For managers who doubt the seriousness of the issue, consider a retail business. How long would it take for on-hand inventory accuracy and stock levels to become completely unmanageable if people could take what they needed without paying or telling the owner what they are taking? The business would fail.
To extend the retail analogy, the MRO storeroom is the general store for the entire facility. Managers must apply common-sense business, security, and accounting principles if the facility is to survive and, ideally, reduce costs related to MRO inventory management.
To manage a cost-effective storeroom, managers must have effective controls in place to document not only the tools, parts, and equipment coming into the storeroom, but also those going out. They also must closely track and manage both of these material flows. Increasingly, technology plays a crucial part in the implementation and success of these practices.
Managers have a number of popular and effective cost-saving technologies that can help them streamline and improve the effectiveness of their inventory-management processes.