July 27, 2011
By Andy Gager, Director Consulting Serivices, Marshall Institute
The storeroom is an integral part of an efficient and effective maintenance process. Equipment reliability, uptime, and frontline productivity rely on having the right spare parts and tools available in the right quantity when the work order is scheduled. That's why having the correct tactical and strategic processes in place can turn your storeroom into a profit center. Today we are going to focus on kitting, one of the key tactical processes. Kitting is the process of identifying and preparing - in advance - the material and tools required to successfully execute the work order in the least disruptive manner. Effective kitting requires other key maintenance systems such as planning, scheduling, and an established PM program to be in place. The main benefit of kitting is increasing productivity through greater wrench time and limiting downtime by purging non-valued activities. In a typical organization 18% of a technician's time is spent looking for parts and another 24%-26% is walking to and fro the job site. If you haven't experienced it yourself, I'm sure you have seen techs and craftspeople make multiple trips to the storeroom looking for what they need to finish the work.
Below is an ideal kitting process for effective work execution; however it assumes that supporting systems are in place.
— Attain high storeroom credibility (i.e. inventory accuracy).
— Locate all materials and tools for the work order.
— Place them in a designated "staging" area.
— The staging area must be secure, organized, and kits easily retrievable.
— Once scheduled, the kit may then be transferred to the site prior to the event so that the craftspeople have all they need to complete the work order.
— Review all closed and unfulfilled orders for materials used, returned, work order rescheduling, job close out, etc.
If you are not currently following this kitting process then look for a quick win such as identifying a staging area in the storeroom where you can begin kitting. The easiest of work orders to start are the regularly scheduled PM work orders. I suggest piloting a specific area to start. Debug the process and then roll out to other areas.
To truly be an effective storeroom you must operate as one within all manufacturing processes, production, planning, scheduling, operations, etc. To become the most effective organization, engage others in your efforts to become more effective. After all, although we all have sub-goals and objectives we are all working towards a common organizational goal.