In the context of maintenance, repair and operations, value can be a tricky thing to measure. Specifically regarding stockroom management, it's not always easy to align the most efficient processes with company policy, traditional modes of operation or simply what seems most intuitive.
For example, it might be easy to overlook a stockroom management system that isn't well-organized and responsive, chalking it up to a minor frustration that ends up costing a few extra minutes. But those minutes hunting for the right equipment can add up fast and eventually lead to redundant purchasing habits that could add up to a major expense. The time spent tracking down spare parts in a poorly organized stockroom will also begin to equate to hours lost.
The stockroom of any MRO team is a key area where value can be gained from implementing the most efficient management practices. Even something as simple as a new layout of the stockroom may have a huge impact on efficiency and savings.
Reliability-centered maintenance in the stockroom
The core mindset that enables better stockroom management is a philosophy known as reliability-centered maintenance. As explained by Jesus Sifonte in an article for Conscious Reliability, RCM processes aim to ensure that all systems within an organization accomplish exactly what its users require. In the context of MRO, that means finding the safest minimum level of maintenance and stockroom inventory for the task at hand. When fully implemented, RCM leads to greater cost-effectiveness, reliability and machine uptime in the organization. Ultimately, that equals a more comprehensive understanding of organizational risks and how to better manage them.
In the stockroom, RCM takes shape by first evaluating where gaps exist in current processes and then executing a concrete action plan for filling those gaps. This may involve a number of related projects, including:
An analysis of inventory to determine which spare parts are most critical based on their probability of failure and the consequence of that failure.
Ensuring the storeroom is properly laid out and allows for items to be easily stored and transported.
Utilizing cycle counting, an inventory auditing procedure that may allow for more effective management of high-value parts.