Controlling the demands of equipment and maintenance purchasing

There is no “one size fits all” purchasing process for maintenance organizations—and for good reason. How your team may conduct supplier relations and what spare parts are purchased may well assist in contributing to your company’s competitive advantage.


There is no “one size fits all” purchasing process for maintenance organizations—and for good reason. How your team may conduct supplier relations and what spare parts are purchased may well assist in contributing to your company’s competitive advantage. Courtesy: Smartware GroupThere is no "one size fits all" purchasing process for maintenance organizations-and for good reason. How your team may conduct supplier relations and what spare parts are purchased may well assist in contributing to your company's competitive advantage. For this reason, and others, the purchasing function is an important one for maintenance professionals. According to FacilitiesNet, this is one of the main responsibilities that maintenance managers grapple with.

"Ample spare parts, rapid purchase-order processing, critical spare parts determination, standardization of suppliers, high-quality parts, consignment of high-use items and rapid checkout of parts," noted Mike Cowley, president of CE Maintenance Solutions. "These are among the most common demands maintenance and engineering managers make on their departments."

A modern computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is typically well-equipped with a configurable equipment and maintenance purchasing function to help optimize your purchasing and inventory-management processes—whatever that may entail in your organization. In Bigfoot CMMS, the purchasing function covers a variety of areas: work-management controls, purchase-order status and approvals, line-item controls and supplier management. Let's review each section in detail to show how you can improve wrench time, reduce administrative time and save money.

Work-management controls

Streamlining your workflow and inventory-level requirements starts with the parts usage feature available in the Bigfoot CMMS work order function. This feature allows you to control how and when you want to make parts available.

Purchase-order status and approvals

To tackle your unique purchasing cycle, leverage advanced workflows to replicate your existing business processes or even design new workflows to remove existing constraints. With advanced workflows, you can set conditions for approval and user notifications as well as layout how your transactions will be handled throughout each sequence of a purchase order.

To provide significant flexibility, configuration is intertwined throughout the system. Many user-defined fields are made available in all submenu and configuration areas that support each function respectively, including inventory management and purchasing. With so many variables in today's business environment, Bigfoot CMMS provides a means for you to design and manage your own fields to track what is important to you.

Line-item controls

Next up, gain definitive control of line-item details when it comes to processing needs. Each item can be split by a quantity amount, which may need to be addressed by your distinct business processes.

Supplier management

Let's face it, relationships and performance is everything when it comes to establishing confidence in your supply chain.

- This article originally appeared on Smartware Group's blog. Smartware Group is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Erin Dunne, production coordinator, CFE Media,

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