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Improving Maintenance Inventory Control

Tip #15  Strategic Sourcing is the systematic procurement process that continuously improves and re-evaluates the purchasing activities of a company. It is a form of supply chain management.
Tip #14  Do you have rotating equipment that sits in parts for extended periods (such as critical spares)? Write a PM to have the shafts turned periodically. If left too long in one position, flat spots brinelling will form on the bearings which will start premature deterioration once installed in the machine.
Tip #13  When kitting materials, the time at which you perform the data entry is critical. We all know that emergencies happen Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. But in the rare case that an emergency does occur in the off hours the tradesman must have the ability to see where the part they need is located. If you kit work orders weeks or days in advance and relieve the perpetual inventory, the burden of tracking the history falls on the tradesman and their computer skills. A better process is to relieve inventory when the part physically is removed from the storeroom operation.
Tip #12  How do I store belts, electric boards, bearings, pumps, gear boxes, etc? A very good place to start could be with your sales person, supplier or distributor. You're paying for a service whether you realize it or not. Why not take advantage of it? Your sales person or supplier visits dozens of other facilities and sees first hand how someone else is storing materials as a best practice. Ask the question "I'm having a problem with this, have you seen it stored better anywhere else?"
Tip #11  What are critical spares and how should we determine them? Critical spares in stores are the security blankets we have to satisfy our need to cover our backsides. Ask a Maintenance or Operations Manager what they want kept in stores and they'll say they want one of everything. That's not reasonable or feasible especially if the goal of the Purchasing Manager is to reduce inventories by 10%! Determining critical spares inventory is a methodology of using scientific analysis and making a cross-functional non-emotional business decision. Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA) or Simplified FMEA's are a good place to start the analysis. A cross-functional team should consist of members from Operations, Maintenance, Purchasing, and Engineering. Only when the proper people and tools are utilized can we then make the right choice on what to stock and what not to.
Tip #10  Inventory turns is a good performance measure of how well your material is managed, but it should not be used by itself. Service level is an important measure as it directly relates to downtime (no parts = long repairs), and therefore revenue. Even service level measurement accuracy can be a problem, as they are often under-reported by inventory control and through the maintenance personnel who order material directly thinking the parts are not likely to be available.
Tip #9  If Maintenance is still operating in a reactive manner, then imposing requirements where they must forecast their requirements and ordering material only when it is required may likely result in frequent "show stoppers". It might be more effective to help them wherever it is possible in organization.
Tip #8  How much time is spent physically looking at parts to determine if the stockroom catalog is describing the one that is really needed? Why not include graphics with your computerized catalog description of the part. Hyperlinks can be embedded in the catalog that could connect to an exploded view of the machine being worked on or even the individual part itself. Scanning in graphics or even taking pictures with the digital camera in your phone makes this easy. Time is money. - (Joe McAfee, Marshall Institute)
Tip #7  Since time is money and a large number of items that we need to have on hand cost so little (comparatively speaking) why spend money inventorying quantities and tracking requisitions of penny-ante items (screws, butt-splices, etc.)? Instead a "free issue" area in the stock room could contain the low cost items that constitute over 50% of the line items we stock. All stock room personnel need do is to assure that the bins donít run out and that unauthorized individuals are not filling their pockets. - (Joe McAfee, Marshall Institute)
Tip #6  Are you keeping your printed circuit boards in their static proof sleeves? These intricate parts must be protected at all times so they function properly when being installed.
Tip #5  HVAC controlled atmosphere is critical to keeping the condition of your parts stable. Do you have bearings rusting on the shelf? Is everything covered in dust? A sealed, HVAC controlled room will help eliminate deterioration and contamination of your parts. Remember, you donít want defective parts being used during your repairs!
Tip #4  Do you have rotating equipment that sits in parts for extended periods (such as critical spares)? Write a PM to have the shafts turned periodically. If left to long in one position, flat spots will form on the bearings which will start premature deterioration once installed in the machine.
Tip #3  Have you identified your critical spares? Critical spares = Long Lead time (4-6 weeks) X Critical to Production Equipment X High Part Cost. These parts are like life insurance. You hope you never need them, but they better be on the shelf if you do.
Tip #2  Keep key stock in the shaft of your rotating equipment so it is already there when the part is ordered out. This will increase the mechanics effectiveness, not having to stop and order it and hopefully so they will not use the old key stock which is probably worn.
Tip #1  Are your V-Belts hanging on hooks in your parts room indefinitely before use? Over time, these belts will become warped and crack at the hang point. Upon installation, you have just introduced a defective part into your equipment and increased the likelihood of premature failure.

Updated May 19, 2009

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