Manufacturers usually keep their spare parts inventories neat and organized. However one look at the
inventories can explain why the company is spending unnecessary time and money on their inventories.
Most inventories are not standardized. Standardization differs from organization in that the parts are
simply put in their place, but they are selected and placed specifically to streamline the process they
are used for. The parts are arranged by the process they are used for as well, making repairs faster
with easy to find parts at hand. There are other ways that companies can benefit specifically from
standardization of their spare parts inventories, including saving time and money while streamlining the
duplicates that may be in the inventory.
Organizing the inventory room by a generic method such as alphabetical or numeric order seems
practical, but isn’t. When parts are needed for the repair, the maintenance workers must diagnose the
machine, return to the inventory room and hunt down the parts before returning to the machine for a
fix. In a standardized spare parts inventory, the parts are grouped by process or product. Some may
even be grouped by the most common repairs performed on the machines. The maintenance worker
hears that the machine has broken down. He can go first to the inventory and retrieve the spare parts
for that machine and the accompanying tools before moving on to the machine. A manufacturer can cut
two trips to the inventory room down to one.
It is not uncommon for a plant to have several machines made by various manufacturers. The spare
parts will thus come from several manufacturers as well. When the inventory is arranged by process
or product, it may become evident that machines share the same parts. Companies can cut back on the
duplicates and share parts between machines just by standardizing the spare parts. Some companies
have also retooled their machines to accommodate the slightly similar parts.
Eliminating the the duplicate parts is one way that standardization saves money. By standardizing,
maintenance managers can whittle the inventory down to the parts that are most necessary. Better
maintenance scheduling is possible, further saving the costs of breakdowns. Another component of
standardization is keeping parts and machines that can be easily repaired and maintenanced by similar
tools and spare parts. This eliminates special tools, parts and technical support that can all be costly to
Standardization is organization, but in a more pointed manner than the generic methods. It helps
the company to tailor their emergency repair needs to their individual processes and machinery.
Undertaking standardization also requires an intimate knowledge of the plant’s processes and needs.
The result, however, is a much more streamlined, cost effective and efficient spare parts inventory.
Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and installation of factory automation systems worldwide.