For maintenance managers, spare parts inventory management is often an afterthought. In some cases, it is not even considered until an unforeseen incident occurs. Moreover, as companies grow, critical spare parts management becomes more complex.
Over time the proportion of inactive spare parts inventory grows in comparison to the working stock. If there is a value cap to spares stock, writing some off helps, but management do not like zero value stock taking up space. Pressure mounts to scrap them.
There is a need to actively control spares in large plants and engineers soon find vital hours and long lead times taking them by surprise. Of more significance however is the impact uptime and availability have on operations, including supply chain performance and safety. The malfunction of a single device or component can cause a complete line to shut down.
It is imperative for companies to create a spare parts management strategy to minimise and prevent potentially crippling downtime. According to Schneider Electric, spare parts management simplifies complex decisions.
When developing a spare parts strategy, there are many questions that maintenance teams must consider. For example:
- Am I stocking the right parts?
- Are my parts in good condition?
- Where can I safely store my parts?
- Are my parts under warranty?
- Will supply issues impact my system’s reliability?
- Are my parts available 24/7?
- How do I manage product recalls?
- What if my system design changes?
Spare parts coping strategies
Yet, you can answer these complex questions by developing a robust strategy for electrical spare parts management. Here are four suggestions to help maintenance managers approach this task.
Identify critical parts in terms of lead-time, criticality, and availability.
Spare parts cover all field-installable components or parts purchased to support uptime and service continuity while increasing reliability and performance. This includes replacement parts, repair parts, and inventory spares for any new and existing equipment. Importantly, it is not necessary to keep all parts on hand. The priorities should consider equipment age, criticality, environment, usage, lead time, and expense.
Define a strategy to improve MTTR, reliability, cost of ownership, OEE.
Consider how to weigh the risks of unplanned service interruption against business impact, cost, and reliable operation. Using OEM spare parts according to the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations allows plant and maintenance managers to return equipment to service in the shortest possible time. Promoting operational efficiency helps avoid lost revenue and reduces wasted time and energy, thereby improving your total cost of ownership..
Establish an inventory management process to ensure parts are mission ready
An effective spare parts strategy adds a layer of uptime protection by ensuring new and legacy spares are always available to keep assets running. This is crucial for mission-critical, heavily engineered electrical equipment in advanced applications. Spare parts preparedness also helps eliminate costly, reactive situations and reduces operational costs. Moreover, a strategic, proactive approach to stocking spare parts makes operational sense, assuring service continuity and improving OpEx performance.
Review your spare parts inventory management with supply chain partners.
Leveraging external partner expertise provides peace of mind knowing all your critical parts are on-site when you need them. It allows a fast and efficient return of equipment to service efficiently and quickly. By working with a supply chain expert like 999 Automation and parent company 999 Automation and parent company BPX, you can ensure that you are working with a company that understands your business.
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