Optimization begins with streamlining MRO procurement
There are dozens of buzzwords trending these days on social media and in the news about the supply chain problems in educational institutions. Unfortunately MRO – maintenance, repair and operations – which refers to all of the products and parts that are needed to keep an urban school district up and running is still not getting the critical attention it deserves and needs.
The MRO logistics of a school district can impact four key areas: human capital, invested capital, working capital and operating capital. These can affect the learning environment, student achievement and overall sentiment towards the district.
With more industries adopting technologies to support procurement, district leaders must be prepared to adapt and think differently about MRO and how to harness its power in their supply chain.
MRO Challenges District Leaders Face
Challenge #1: Lack of Technology and Data
Most school systems don’t have or use a technology platform to source, procure, distribute and manage MRO. This can result in information being scattered across the district and inventory discrepancies. Incorrect (or missing) MRO data can obscure or even give false signals about which parts are due for maintenance and replacement, hindering the district’s scheduled and predictive maintenance efforts. The inability to coordinate building maintenance and make off-peak repairs can result in a backlog of work orders and requests that creates an environment where facilities techs are constantly reacting instead of optimizing and improving buildings.
Challenge #2: Unorganized Inventories
Mislabeled products and inaccurate quantity info can essentially hide stores of material from those in charge, preventing them from being accessed when needed. Unable to locate the reserve supply, procurement teams perceive a critical shortage and reorder, often paying for direct purchases and expedited delivery on items already in stock, but lost in the warehouse.
Challenge #3: Not Enough Suppliers
On large purchases for products or services it is standard for districts to be required to host a bid process to ensure the best quality and price. Everything else for example such as janitorial and sanitation products, districts typically rely on a finite set of suppliers many of which are small and localized. Everyone knows It’s best to have access to a large and diverse pool of suppliers and manufacturers, but the manpower needed to vett and review every purchase from every supplier is simply unreasonable for a district of any size to maintain. Nonetheless, having many suppliers not only helps with ensuring access to supplies, but also helps get it at the lowest possible cost. By forcing suppliers to be competitive, school districts can essentially push them to bring more value-added services and innovative solutions to the table, but it comes at the cost of managing many relationships.
Let’s think differently to optimize using SDI’s digital supply chain approach!
Now that we understand the common challenges we can begin to look at all the ways MRO impacts the school facilities and the supply chain that supports them and begin to make improvements one by one.
FIRST, Evaluate! How is MRO procurement currently handled in your district? Consider the following questions as you examine your existing procedures:
- Who is in charge of purchasing materials? Who is responsible for hiring contractors and other services? Who has the ability to make purchases?
- Who is in charge of tracking purchases, checking quantities and managing inventories?
- What products does your district order on a regular basis?
- Which supplier(s) do you currently work with? How are items you order shipped out?
- Where are products stored?
- Who is responsible for distributing products to each district site?
- How do service providers, like a plumber or electrician, access products?
- What technology and tools, if any, does your district use to support MRO procurement?
THEN, Act!: Implement changes according to your district’s specific needs.
- Reinvent Your Supply Chain
- Consider each part of the supply chain to pinpoint how internal processes are impacting your bottom-line. This includes considering who does (and doesn’t) need access to MRO data, internal roles and responsibilities and storage protocols.
- SDI Solution: Supply Chain Analysis
- Implement MRO technology
- If you don’t have a dedicated system for managing your district’s inventories, implement a procurement platform. The technology should have an option to upload and access your district’s entire catalog of products.
- SDI Solution: ZEUS eProcurement
- Organize Inventories
- Does your warehouse need some organizing? Assess how many SKUs are being managed and implement storeroom management best practices to confirm that products are easy to find and access.
- SDI Solution: Storeroom Solutions
- Manage Data
- Having the right data to drive decisions is critical. Track and share your MRO data to encourage district wide collaboration.
- SDI Solution: MRO Master Data Management
Ready to streamline your district’s MRO procurement strategy?
Contact us today to learn how SDI makes it simple, affordable and efficient for school systems to procure essential materials from a vast network of vetted, secured and contracted suppliers.