Often overlooked by maintenance teams, the management of MRO inventory is essential for asset-intensive organisations looking to cut costs and eliminate unplanned downtime. So much so that deploying a digitised tool, such as EAM Software, to perform and automate MRO inventory management tasks can reduce inventory costs alone by up to 40%.
Whereas the management of raw materials and finished goods may take priority for most businesses, it is the management of maintenance, repairs, and operation supplies that can help to dramatically increase productivity on the production line.
What Is MRO Inventory and What Does It Stand For?
MRO is the term used to describe a business’s maintenance, repairs, and operations supplies. Along with raw materials and finished goods, keeping stock of MRO items is important to ensure the uptime of assets such as equipment and infrastructure.
Maintenance, repairs, and operations inventory is used to help keep business operations running smoothly. Depending on the industry, spare parts can differ. For example, in a manufacturing plant, MRO inventory will include safety gear and repair tools. Other MRO items found in various workplaces include:
- Computers and laptops
- Cleaning supplies
- Nuts and bolts
- Industrial equipment such as pumps and compressors
- Oils and lubricants
What Is MRO Inventory Management?
Typically, MRO inventory is removed from product inventory. This means the majority of MRO stock can be seen as items that do not directly generate revenue. Because of this, spare parts inventory management is often neglected, with 42% of business owners claiming their parts and consumables inventory tracking needed improving.
But, having the right spare parts available at the right time allows maintenance teams to effectively execute their set maintenance plans and schedules. By doing so, businesses are able to reduce unplanned downtime and cut back on otherwise avoidable costs.
Essentially, the core components of MRO inventory management can be broken down into four stages; identification, location, procurement, and inventory control.
To ensure the speed and effectiveness of maintenance schedules, technicians and maintenance personnel need to be able to identify what MRO items are in stock. This is also helped with the use of a bill of materials (BOM) or asset registers.
Depending on a business’s size of operations, spare parts can be spread out across multiple sites and warehouses. This means, once an MRO item has been identified, it needs to be tracked down in the most time-efficient manner. With technicians spending up to 25% of their time locating spare parts, providing location data is essential to help prevent delays in planned maintenance and repairs.
From initial requests to final payments, the procurement process is crucial for making sure the right spare parts are ordered in the most cost-effective manner. Once an EAM system is in place, this process can be automated to make sure spare parts are consistently stocked.
Implementing a sufficient inventory control system means the right MRO items are in stock and available at the right time. This eliminates any delays to repairs that may prolong costly unplanned downtime and allows for maintenance tasks to be performed efficiently.
Why MRO Inventory Management Is Essential
Without an MRO inventory management system in place, businesses will begin to lose ground in the efficiency of their production. As well as incurring large costs that can have a significant impact on their bottom line.
One major problem that can plague an organisation’s neglect for a digitised inventory management tool is having a stockroom that is either understocked or overstocked. Being understocked by not having the right MRO supplies at the right time will prolong delays to maintenance and increase downtime. Whereas being overstocked and having too much inventory results in wasteful spending.
Another issue that businesses face without the use of an inventory management tool is an increase in unplanned downtime. So much so that 42% of maintenance workers claimed that downtime was their biggest issue due to poor spare parts management. This is particularly true for businesses that rely on heavy machinery and equipment for production, such as manufacturers.
Although planned downtime for updates and scheduled repairs can prolong an asset’s uptime, it’s the unplanned downtime that can really hurt a business. In fact, in 2016 alone, US manufacturing companies faced a loss of up to $260,000 per hour through unplanned downtime.
With the use of an enterprise management system to help manage mission-critical assets, maintenance teams and asset managers can have access to an efficient MRO inventory management tool. With the capability to track and manage spare parts, businesses can begin to reap the benefits.
With staff spending 10-25% of their time searching for the right spare parts, improving stock control is essential for eliminating delays in production. But, with access to a BOM or asset register, staff are able to locate where the right spare part is located and track it down without delay.
Modern EAM tools also come with the option to deploy asset tags to help improve the tracking of key assets. This allows asset managers to tag MRO items with RFID tags, GPS trackers, barcodes, or QR codes to speed up the process of locating spare parts.
Optimise MRO Stock Levels
Using an automated and analytics-based approach, MRO inventory tools enable businesses to optimise their stockrooms. This not only eliminates the issues and cost implications associated with overstocked and understocked warehouses, but it also greatly improves the accuracy of stock levels. This helps to eliminate the order quantity inaccuracies that affect 81% of businesses.
MRO inventory tools also allow businesses to automate their stock procurement processes. Meaning fewer delays when waiting for spare parts to arrive. With 50% of work orders remaining open due to technicians waiting on spare parts, automating spare parts procurement is essential.
Take a Preventive Maintenance Approach
Largely caused by ageing equipment and neglected maintenance, downtime is a leading factor in the loss of revenue. This was certainly the case for the automotive industry in 2005, as an average of $22,000 was lost every minute through unplanned downtime. The main cause of this was poor inventory management, with 50% of unplanned downtime relating to a lack of spare parts or stockouts.
Implementing an accurate MRO inventory management system is key for businesses looking to engineer a preventive maintenance approach. Effectively shifting away from a reactive maintenance strategy.
Using EAM to Improve the Management of Spare Parts
In a 2018 study, 94% of respondents admitted that the management of their spare parts and MRO items was important. Couple this with 88% of asset-intensive organisations realising the potential that preventive maintenance strategies have for eliminating unplanned downtime, makes EAM Software the perfect tool.
With an efficient MOR inventory management system and EAM tool in place, businesses are able to reduce downtime. As well as eliminating delays that dramatically affect production and thus affecting revenue. They’re also essential when it comes to eliminating unnecessary costs that are linked to maintaining stock. With 18% of businesses admitting to wasting money on parts they already have.
But, MRO stock control is just one of many features available with either a CMMS or EAM tool. Other capabilities targeted at asset-intensive businesses include:
- Work order management
- Asset lifecycle management
- Maintenance planning and scheduling
- Data reporting and analytics
- Supply chain management