MRO storeroom management concerns the overall methodology for organizing and operating the area set aside for storing parts and other necessities used for maintenance, repair, and operations. For a long time, MRO storerooms got a bad rap, often perceived as a spare-parts graveyard with dust, dirt, and cobwebs.
Thankfully, opinion has shifted and people now see the value and opportunity these storerooms have to offer. MRO storerooms are now considered a necessity in helping a company realize profitability as well as many other benefits.
The Benefits of Having a Clean and Efficient Storeroom
When your MRO storeroom is clean and runs efficiently at a lower cost, your company can recognize more revenue. But what other benefits are there?
- Find parts faster—You’ll spend less on labor wasted in looking for lost or missing parts. Also, by accelerating the overall MRO process, you’ll have less downtime of valuable equipment and operators.
- Lower freight, shipping, and handling costs—You’ll lower these costs because you won’t be ordering parts you already have, and you’ll have less expedited/rush shipping costs.
- Less inventory carrying costs—You can shrink your inventory of parts by determining what’s obsolete and unnecessary. As time goes on, you’ll order and stock only what has the biggest impact on operations.
- Maximize the use of available space—By reorganizing and removing unnecessary parts, you’ll have room to make the workspace more efficient. You might even be able to reclaim some of that area and use it for income-producing purposes.
Elements of a Great MRO Storeroom
Whether you want to overhaul the storeroom or just address one or two issues, the following sections summarize the most important elements of an MRO storeroom:
- Goals and objectives
Goals and Objectives
Before you dive in and start fixing things, it’s better to first set some goals and priorities based on your company’s immediate needs and resources. Just some of the considerations include:
- Number of storerooms and SKUs you have
- Production and maintenance schedules
- The activity level of each shift
- Number of personnel you can devote to the project
Also, to see progress, you’ll need some baseline information. Make sure you capture the current state of the storeroom with photos, report data, and so forth. If possible, have your MRO storeroom’s baseline evaluated. This makes it easier to measure how far you’ve come and the return on your investment.
Who you have as your MRO storeroom personnel is crucial in maintaining a clean and efficient storeroom, and it’s a situation that’s often not addressed when it comes to overhauling an MRO storeroom.
When it comes to changing their work areas, most employees would prefer to participate instead of just being cogs in the overall machinery. Overhauling the storeroom will go more smoothly if you encourage personnel suggestions and follow through in addressing them.
If you have personnel inexperienced with MRO best practices, or you don’t need a full-time clerk or technician in the MRO storeroom, you can consider outsourcing your storeroom personnel. This can be either a temporary solution for a storeroom makeover or a permanent solution. Read our latest article on gaining compliance from your personnel to accomplish successful change management in the storeroom.
In general, rather than using the features of traditional ERP systems in the storeroom, you’ll get better results from software specifically designed to support MRO processes and operations. Although it’s not a critical factor, using a predictive inventory management system in your MRO storeroom will boost the results you’ll see from an MRO overhaul and improve storeroom practices. By analyzing data like stock levels, historic work orders, and order lead times, you can reduce your MRO inventory levels without increasing the likelihood of running out of a part.
MRO Storeroom Overhaul
When revamping an MRO storeroom, focus on cleanup, elimination, and identification tasks. For example:
- Clean to remove dust and dirt.
- Identify slow-moving or obsolete parts (SLOB) as well as redundant parts.
- Ascertain critical parts.
- Address the workflow procedures (or lack thereof) that led to SLOB in the first place.
- Optimize storeroom configuration.
- Evaluate standing orders and cancel those that are unnecessary.
Perhaps even more important than the storeroom overhaul is the question of how you will maintain it. Over time, changes in personnel and degradation of standards can put you on a slippery slope that leads right back to where you started. To prevent this, set some safeguards:
- Consider technology that supports demand forecasting (to keep inventory levels from burgeoning) and/or automatic requisitioning (to simplify operations).
- Keep tweaking the workflow procedures until you strike the right balance; they should be realistic, simple, and labor-saving.
- Document the policies that will help prevent SLOB inventory. For example:
- Identify the people responsible for each storeroom task.
- Schedule regular cleaning.
- Define who can order new parts.
Whether you address security during an overhaul of the storeroom or as a separate project, the point is to actually tackle the topic. Security is a concern during business hours as well as after hours.
Some companies use a self-serve honor system in the storeroom. However, at a bare minimum, the storeroom should remain locked during off-hours.
Depending on the size of the storeroom and the value of the stock, you could employ an after-hours storeroom attendant, install security cameras, or hire a monitoring service – or all three. The side benefit of using cameras is that they also serve to reinforce storeroom procedures. For example, you can check if the staff is using the inventory management system to log out material removed from the storeroom.
Have a question about MRO storeroom services offered by SDI? Send us your question, and SDI will get you the answer! You can also request more specific information about our storeroom management services.