In most industries, facilities do not focus enough on spare parts inventory to ensure the availability and accuracy of spare parts for breakdowns or scheduled maintenance. This may be due to a lack of time or knowledge on how to implement an inventory system.

A lack of available spare parts during a breakdown can be problematic and costly to a facility. Having access to the correct parts during a breakdown or planned maintenance is important to ensure limited downtime and loss of production.

Inventory control can be challenging, especially if you have different types of equipment. Having too much available inventory can also be expensive. There need to be clear criteria of spares needed on certain machinery/equipment and it will help outline and categorize spares.

Spare part management is the foundation for reliable plant operation and is vital to plant managers, they need to know how to control which spare parts are needed to make up an operational and complete inventory system. A spare parts management system supports maintenance activities efficiently and keeps a facility plant running efficiently and production goals on target.

Here are some practices for managing spare parts inventory more effectively:

  1. Make use of a CMMS

With a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) parts and inventory are tracked and updated according to work orders.

  1. Review critical spare parts

Over a certain period, assets change as well as their importance. Some spare parts should be reduced as they are no longer critical to operations. Have clear criteria of which spare parts should be available.

  1. Take care of spare parts

Spare parts must be stored in a location to keep them in their original condition and available for use. Having spare parts in your storeroom that is damaged leads to costly downtime.

  1. Eliminate obsolete parts

Spare parts that are no longer being used take up space on shelves and also in your inventory list. It could also lead to costly downtime when these parts are obsolete inventory, causing your maintenance team to lose time for looking for the correct spare parts.

  1. Manage inventory at multiple locations

For organizations that have multiple locations using an inventory system to track spare parts at multiple locations give their maintenance teams a big advantage. When one site is below the required stock level or doesn’t have a critical part, the maintenance team can access the inventory system to locate the part and get it shipped to them.

Now that we’ve covered some best practices have you ever thought “What happens when the spare parts I need are no longer sold or no longer produced?”  We’ve all seen it time and time again, large manufacturing companies close down and with them the spare parts they provided.

This is where 3D printing comes in to save the day.  According to a PwC Survey, 66% of Industrial manufacturers are already using 3D printing.

Jabil also recently released a survey which concluded in just over a year, the number of companies utilizing 3D printing as well as the variety of applications rocketed dramatically; the percentage of companies using additive to manufacture production parts rose from 27% to 52%, bridge production increased from 23% to 39%, and repair went from 14% to 38%.

Read the full article here: Five Critical Shifts Guiding the Future of 3D Printing

To learn more about spare part inventory management, please contact us at +1 (262) 241-3845, email us at, or sign-up for a Free Live Demo