Storeroom Management Can Make or Break Productivity!

Storeroom Management
Effective storeroom management practices are crucial in today’s fast-paced business world. However, in many companies this vitally important duty is performed by only one or two people, or perhaps a small team. Often there is no systematic approach to managing parts inventory. This can lead to a variety of problems including lost production time and delays in scheduled maintenance when parts or equipment are not at the ready. It is my bet that everyone reading this particular blog has had the experience of being promised a part delivery by 10:30 the next morning, and it didn’t arrive. 
At Maintenance Innovators, Inc. we are experts in helping businesses analyze their current storeroom management practices in order to improve workflows, document processes and implement effective, repeatable practices to improve maintenance and reliability.  Right part, right time, and the right quantity!
According to The Reliability Excellence Workbook, From Ideas to Action, “Storeroom inventory is constantly attacked for the monetary value…when there are stronger arguments to support the inventory level.” In other words, companies often balk at spending the money up front to ensure adequate storeroom inventories to meet their needs, without considering the costs of lost time and productivity that are incurred when production stops due to unavailable parts and equipment. It becomes obvious that the old ways of storeroom management cannot continue. 
In order to maintain the appropriate stocking levels for needed parts and equipment, it is necessary to answer these questions:

  • What parts/equipment are needed in the operation?
  • Which parts should be stocked and which can be ordered on an as-needed basis?
  • For stocked items, what quantity should be kept in stock at all times?
  • For both stocked and non-stocked items, what are the turnaround times for reordering and receiving? 
  • Is there a process for checking items out of inventory?
  • Where is the item stored? 
This is an oversimplification of a complex subject. In truth, there are a number of systems and processes that must be in play in order to achieve successful storeroom management. For a technician to be able to lay hands on the needed part at any time, inventory must be properly established and managed. Storeroom managers must perform issuing and receiving activities to make sure parts that are used are removed from the inventory, and that newly-received ones are added. Maintenance crews must properly document any items that are checked out of inventory for a repair. If this step is missed, the parts used will not be removed from the inventory system, and re-ordering processes will not be triggered. The item will simply “disappear” from inventory, and when it is needed again, it won’t be available. 
It’s not just about availability, either. According to the Marshall Institute, U.S. businesses spend $150 billion annually on spare parts. Having parts go missing has a financial cost due to lost time and expedited shipping costs when crunch time hits. On the other side of the ledger, keeping obsolete parts in your inventory has a negative financial impact. 

If your company is struggling to meet your maintenance and reliability goals due to poor or non-existent storeroom management practices, we can help! Maintenance Innovators, Inc. has over thirty-six years of experience building and executing highly effective and efficient storeroom management systems. Our work makes a difference for a variety of industries across the U.S. and around the world. If you would like to learn more, contact us at (913) 633-4009 or via e-mail. We will be happy to partner with you to build a system that works for your business.  We are committed to making this the decade that we turn our storerooms around!