Manage your spare parts more effectively

Three quick tips to put your parts in their place


Excerpted from SMGlobal’s Maintenance Software Blog

Equipment spare parts management can be quite a challenge especially if you have several different types of equipment – each needing it own set of unique set of parts that are required for unplanned and preventive maintenance on the equipment. Equipment spares can also be quite expensive and contribute significantly to the maintenance budget.

  1. Identify parts required for different maintenance tasks and try to estimate usage over the next few months based on the equipment preventive maintenance schedules. This will help better manage inventory requirements and costs. Holding inventory you do not need for several months adds to costs.
  2. Depending on your suppliers (vendors) you may want to explore use of “just in time” inventory – order and get parts just before maintenance jobs are to be done. At the same time try to avoid job delays because parts are not available. While costs of certain parts may be significant they are probably much less than the costs due to lost production or cascading equipment failures. 
  3. Try to identify and classify reliable suppliers (vendors) for all parts. Poor quality components can result in premature failures and additional maintenance work. Maintenance records can be useful to identify suppliers of quality parts. Corporate purchasing requirements may sometimes dictate your choice of suppliers but it can be possible to work with your purchasing department especially if you have statistics about vendor quality and reliability.

Experts estimate that organizations can save between 5% to 10% on their yearly spare parts inventory costs with maintenance management software/CMMS. A good maintenance management product can better track inventory, when to restock items and quickly identify parts that are no longer required (because the equipment is retired).

You can find out how many parts of each type you will need for preventive maintenance tasks for each quarter by using planning reports to calculate parts and quantities needed. This can help you apply for volume discounts when ordering parts/spares as you will know how many you will need in advance. You also need to keep less inventory on hand because the maintenance management software can warn you when each part/spare falls below reorder levels.

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