Spare parts inventories only function properly when they are properly managed. Proper management entails planning scheduling, monitoring, and procurement. When any of these components are out of line, you have a recipe for problems, the kind that involve a broken piece of machinery and not enough spare parts to fix it.
Fortunately, a spare parts system is something that you can get with help from the customer care and engineering departments. In fact, companies like Eagle Technologies pride themselves on providing such a service to their customers. However, many factories don’t know that they have a problem until a breakdown occurs.
Is Your Spare Parts System in Trouble?
Spare parts inventories must be replenished with the parts needed to fix the machinery. Oftentimes, an improperly stocked inventory will run out of a key spare part, with a significant lag time in waiting for the replacement. In order to avoid a shutdown of the manufacturing line, some managers will order the repair with a spare that was not intended to be used for that particular machine. The result is a breakdown in the part and in other areas affected by the part as the machine fails to operate without its proper spare.
Another symptom of a bad spare parts system is frequent emergencies within the plant. Parts that are not stocked as scheduled or with the appropriate amounts and types will be lacking when the machinery breaks down. This will lead to an emergency in which a part is needed in a pinch and is not available.
A problem that is not often attributed to a faulty spare parts system is the frequent recall of products due to poor quality. The breakdowns and substitutions lead to machines that work inefficiency and oftentimes outside of the normal state. Products are then rushed or slowed through the process, allowing for quality control issues like damaged casings, debris, or objects manufacturing components in food and mixes, improper attachments, and much more.
And Then There’s the Neglected Stockrooms
Other emergencies may arise out of the manager and maintenance worker’s neglect of the spare parts inventory room. Often seen as a dusty old storage room, the spare parts inventory is often overlooked and underutilized. Managers do not order parts to replenish or upgrade as needed. They also bypass the inventory to order from the supplier when spares are needed. This will lead to the problems of a large amount of inventory, frequent emergencies, and breakdowns that are even more frequent.
Need some help getting started? A simple assessment of your machinery and parts can go along way in organizing a useful and cost-effective spare parts inventory. Last month, we posted: Two Ways to Reduce Your Spare Parts Inventory, where you can find tips on prioritizing your parts and finding subcontractors to help out.
Do you have any unique methods of maintaining your parts inventory? Leave your suggestions in the comments!