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4 Things to Consider Before Starting a Stockroom Organization Project

An organized maintenance, repair, and operations stockroom creates efficiencies throughout the production floor and all along the supply chain. But stockroom organization requires not only enterprise-wide effort, but also meticulous planning, benchmarking, and goal-setting. SDI has developed a comprehensive MRO stockroom evaluation tool to help manufacturing firms assess the current state of their stockrooms, implement immediate improvements, and progress toward building world-class parts repositories.

State-of-the-art MRO divisions excel in five major classes of efficiencies:

  • Storeroom organization
  • Inventory set-up
  • Inventory metrics
  • Maintenance processes
  • Inventory processes

Following this checklist will help ensure your stockroom organization project runs smoothly and keeps project managers focused on areas that will culminate in better record-keeping, appropriate inventory levels, more efficient part locating and picking, and lower costs.

1. The Current State of Storeroom Organization

You know your storeroom is ineffective, but in order to quantify and justify an overhaul, you need to understand where the inefficiencies lay, and which stockroom organization methods will be most useful in rectifying them. Start by auditing your ordering, receiving, warehousing, and distribution processes. You will use this information to:

  • Optimize workflow
  • Eliminate bottlenecks
  • Design intuitive, standardized taxonomies and storage metrics

This “as built” analysis also should include consideration of the storeroom’s location and layout. Does the placement within the plant make the best use of space? Is it conducive to quickly finding, pulling, and picking up needed parts? Are most in-demand components and consumables within convenient reach?

2. Production and Maintenance Schedules

Determine how much of each shift is best used for production, machine maintenance and housekeeping. It may be counterintuitive to shut down an assembly line that’s humming along in order to change a few gaskets, lubricate gears, or tune a motor. But these scheduled maintenance tasks can increase productivity significantly. By regularly scheduling preventative maintenance, you can plan warehouse employees’ duties around stockroom organization tasks. For instance, maintenance engineers can kit out and stage the supplies they need in advance so they are ready to move quickly when the scheduled maintenance time arrives.

For this to be effective, managers need to know how long it takes to pick, pack, and deliver the consumables and replacement parts to be used during the scheduled maintenance. This will ensure that the stockroom is organized in a manner that reduces the time to look for parts, which will maximize your overall production time.

3. Warehouse Security

The best-designed space and the most stringent storeroom organization policies will go for naught if parts aren’t labeled and placed in their designated spaces and if policies are not adhered to. The pre-project audit should document what failsafe measures and gatekeeping systems are in place to prevent unauthorized access to the site. The organization project should ensure the facility is run as a tight ship, with all data entered as it is generated – from delivery, to stock movement, to reorders and payments. Only authorized employees should be allowed to enter the storeroom or manipulate the inventory it contains. All parts that leave the storeroom should be tagged so they can be tracked and assigned to cost centers, company divisions, and customers. Less than 100 percent compliance guarantees:

  • Shrinkage
  • Misplacement
  • Inefficiencies
  • Loss of revenue

4. Scope of Work

If it is done correctly, a storeroom organization project requires a lot of work. Before taking on the job, make sure you have the resources and inclination to see it through. Are you sure you have created the optimal storeroom design? Can you guarantee your parts naming conventions, aisles, racks, shelfs, and other location designations are logical and will be followed wholeheartedly? Do you have the software and the ability to use it in order to:

  • Maintain optimal stock levels?
  • Automate reorder triggers?
  • Account for inventory?
  • Minimize waste and off-contract orders?

If not, you may want to partner with an MRO inventory and supply chain expert. An experienced and qualified vendor can barcode thousands of SKUs, integrate a cloud-based tracking system, and build workflows and stock-handling protocols, saving you time and money and allowing you to focus on value-added tasks.

SDI has developed a comprehensive evaluation and optimization tool that can immediately eliminate waste and put your company on the road to best-in-class storeroom organization in 30-45 days. Contact our experts for more information.

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