Most organizations are hesitant to keep an extensive spare part inventory as they are concerned that stocking resources like spare parts are illogical when attempting to viably control working expenses. Therefore, parts warehouses are often overlooked as a component in an organization that could improve efficiency and lowers costs. 

This oversight tends to become quite a problem for organizations, as the consequences are ineffective inventory storage, a shortage of parts, and unexpected downtime accompanied by unexpected costs. It is therefore in your organization’s best interest to invest in an efficient spare part inventory system, which you can implement easily by following the next 7 tips. 

1. Implement a preventive strategy

Many organizations fall into a habit of operating within a reactive strategy, where one reacts after the equipment has failed, but this is not preferable when you want to optimize your spare parts inventory system, as the core thereof lies within the skill of preventing problems before they occur.
To implement preventive maintenance, you should:

  • collect and analyze data about spare parts
  • look at the organization’s activities holistically to so ensure you have located potential hidden problems
  • be attentive about what failures occur regularly, to ensure you find the problem you might have originally thought is not a viable concern
Source: Finances Online, 2021

2. Create a standard Work Order process

An effective, but simple work order process should be created so that you can rest assured the necessary information is passed along to the correct people. This will prevent the situation where excess parts are stored without being labeled or employees forget to file a work order before using an item from the inventory.  A work order process that is used by everyone and that is simple to use will thus eliminate the dreadful inaccuracies you so often have to deal with.  

3. Control your inventory

To prompt a reorder of a certain part, an indication of removal of that part on the record is critical. The same goes for new stock; if it is placed on the inventory shelf without a record, it can not be accounted for.  To avoid these inaccuracies in inventory, an analysis of your inventory check-out system and stocking system should be conducted.  Other things that could help with inventory control is:

  • Defining spare parts (for example as ‘critical’)
  • Regular checks of spare parts to establish if you are holding too many spares of certain parts (this could help decrease your inventory costs)
  • Properly store and manage spare parts in a designated space

4. Know your lead times

To create a successful spare part management strategy, you have to become familiar with what lead times suit which parts, as this will be helpful in your consideration of which parts to keep in what volume.  Through the observation and analysis of machines, you will be able to identify which machines are critical to your organization’s success and which have a secondary function in operations. The machines that are used every day and without which your organization cannot function should always have spare parts readily available. This will prevent downtime.  On the other hand, machines that are not critical or not used daily, do not have to have spare parts stocked as these can be procured quickly enough to avoid downtime and financial loss, it can thus be left out of the stocking plan.  It is thus advisable that you ensure you always have stock of parts with long lead times, as most of these parts are made to order.

5. Improve your warehouse security

This one might seem quite obvious, but it cannot be left out as a possibility for inventory inaccuracies. Although you might hope you can trust all of your staff, this might not be the wisest thing to do. To easily improve your warehouse security, do the following: 

  • Educate employees on the floor on care for parts and regular check-ups on critical spare parts
  • Install physical security measures such as cupboards that are lockable
  • Invest in security cameras to use at the entrance and exit of the inventory warehouse
  • Adopt new regulations stating that only certain employees have permission to enter the inventory warehouses 

6. Don’t let new equipment fool you

Many maintenance and operations managers think that since a piece of equipment is new, it does not have to have spare parts kept in the inventory. It sounds reasonable, one cannot deny that, but unfortunately, vendors do not always supply machines with high-quality, optimally functioning parts. You, therefore, cannot risk losing a piece of crucial equipment, face downtime, and mitigate the resultant financial loss because of an assumption that since it’s new its parts will all be functional. 

7. Invest in a high-quality CMMS

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is software specifically designed to help people in their maintenance management efforts. Such a system will make the above-listed tips much easier to implement. The challenge, though, is to find the correct CMMS to fit your needs.  Proteus CMMS is a cloud-hosted Next-Gen Computerized Maintenance management solution, offering all the features of a traditional solution, preventive maintenance scheduling, work orders, and asset management combined with the latest digital trends as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Artificial Intelligence Integration, and IoT system connectivity. 

Proteus CMMS’ asset management and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) features are just what you would require to compile information, analyze performance, schedule preventive maintenance, reduce capital expenses, keep track of spare parts and identify potential problems in manufacturing equipment – each necessary for an effective spare parts management strategy.  With Proteus MMX, when a work order is generated, not only do we tell you what needs to be changed or fixed, we’ll tell you exactly where you can find the replacement part using our inventory management software. Better yet, we’ll tell you when you start running low on replacement parts and help to generate automated purchase orders to restock when needed with the best inventory management.

To find out how Proteus MMX can help you, specifically, in your spare part management strategy send us an email or schedule a demo.