• Asset Tracking
  • Inventory Management
  • MRO

Don’t Neglect Maintenance Inventory Levels in MRO Space

Written by Mark Gemberling
December 13, 2018

Maintenance requirements aren’t always predictable, meaning keeping adequate inventory levels is a must to minimize interruptions in uptime. Optimizing those inventory levels using automation can help maximize uptime with less stock.

Day-to-day warehouse operations require accurate, up-to-date inventory levels. A survey from the Peerless Research Group found that 94-percent of respondents considered maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supply to be important to their organizations. Some of the most significant issues that business leaders experience with spare parts inventory include:

  • Downtime
  • Inaccuracy and inefficiency
  • Losing track of the placement of parts and inventory
  • Lack of understanding of parts usage patterns
  • Overspending on items that are not low in stock

Despite these organizations’ understanding of the importance of MRO, the average overall supply chain spend on maintenance, repair and operating supply is 5-percent, according to the PRG study. In fact, 43-percent of organizations spend less than 3-percent of supply chain spending on MRO.

Maintenance strategy is one of the last components companies invest in and prioritize, but a great deal of ROI comes from properly serviced machines and accurate inventory levels. Inventory inaccuracy and broken parts can cause companies to experience losses in uptime and revenue.

WATCH VIDEO: How VSE Corp. digitally transformed MRO inventory control:


The Pitfalls of a Manual Tracking System

43% of organizations spend less than 3% of expenses for MRO.

Wasp Barcode reported that 43-percent of small businesses do not track their inventory or use a manual tracking process. When warehouses fall behind on their technology initiatives, they can experience a variety of hardships, ranging from minor inefficiencies to outright catastrophe. Some of these negative results include:

  • Organizations may experience downtime, which can lead to increased spending and decreased earnings.
  • Inability to make products on time can cause orders to go unfinished. Incompetence in the industry can lead to distrust from clients and a negative reputation.
  • Ordering items before they are needed can lead to overstocking, which can lead to waste or disorganized storage.
  • Delayed production can lead to rushed shipping to clients. Organizations might need to pay steep overnight shipping costs, which can add up to thousands of dollars.
  • Malfunctions can cause workplace injuries or even loss of life.

LEARN MORE: Digital transformation in MRO »


The Benefits of an Automated MRO System

Automated MRO platforms can save your organization time, money and resources.

Switching to a mobile-based MRO inventory platform can improve efficiency, productivity and flexibility of everyday operations in the warehouse. Since manufacturing work occurs around the clock and involves many moving, changing parts, automated systems that operate on mobile devices are the best way to maintain uptime.

One of the most significant advantages of an automated MRO platform is its ability to order new parts and products from suppliers as soon as they are used. This keeps organizations’ inventory levels accurate and consistent, which will in turn prevent overstocking and under-stocking.

When warehouses use manual inventory tracking practices, they incorporate more manual, hands-on labor than is necessary. In addition, organizations might experience issues related to human error, such as accuracy and data entry problems. This manual entry also means the data is not updated instantly; instead, organizations might not see updates in the system until the following business day. This might also cause machine parts to break down, which may lead to rush-ordering. This clerical error causes production to stop and the organization to spend thousands of dollars on shipping.

Most importantly, having a dedicated MRO management solution enables companies to focus on their business priorities and functions rather than using manual labor on inventory maintenance. This provides more uptime for organizations to do what they do best: produce excellent materials.

Incorporating Mobile Strategies in the MRO Space

When warehouse staff members use handheld barcode scanners, they can significantly increase productivity and accuracy levels. Going mobile provides employees with an all-in-one system that connects to your existing software environment, enabling real-time inventory visibility.

RFgen provides inventory visibility and management in the MRO space with multiple ERP systems. These programs have maintenance modules that can track upkeep procedures and the history of machines as they are serviced over time. Some of the ERPs that RFgen can implement in your warehouse operation strategy include:

  • JD Edwards
  • Oracle E-Business
  • Deltek Costpoint
  • Microsoft Dynamics