A well-stocked spare parts inventory is like a lifeline during a mechanical breakdown. The parts are kept in a nearby storage room, ready for installation immediately. The production line can restart with very little delay in filling orders. Sometimes, however, the part you need is not in the inventory, for one reason or another. Companies who find themselves having to order spare parts place themselves and their production at the mercy of often complex parts supply chain. There are a few ways to prepare for such delays, and make the down time as short as possible.

Know Lead Time Numbers

Every part takes time to manufacture, ship and install. This time must be considered when determining
the amount of time between the moment the part is ordered and when the machines is up and running
again. The time period is different for many parts, so knowing the lead time for each part is essential.
During an emergency, the information can help your reschedule orders and alert customers. The time
delay numbers can also help create estimates that the customer care department can use in reassuring
customers who await their products.

Gather Alternatives

Your vendor may not be the only maker of the machine, and is thus not the only supplier for the spare
parts. Find the contact information for other makers of your spare parts and keep the information
handy. Doing so can help ease the pressure of a spare parts delay due to problems in the vendor’s own
plant.

Make a Transport Plan

Some issues are logistics in nature, caused by various failures in the transportation of parts from the
vendor to the customer. Maintain a plan for transporting the parts using the fastest route, the most
effective, and one that uses various modes of transport, in case one particular method is inhibited by
weather, mechanical issues or even political and economic troubles. Having such a plan ensures that
your company runs no matter what obstacles affect the vendor.

Keep Sources Updated

Manufacturers do discontinue products, including spare parts. Vendors go out of business or change
locations. The best way to avoid being surprised by one of these events is to stay abreast of your
contacts. Check periodically on the status of the vendors and transport companies. Also, pay attention
to all correspondence. Many vendors send notices of discontinued lines to their customers. Update your
vendors on any changes in address and other contact information as well.

Delays in receiving spare parts do occur. Fortunately there are ways that customers can minimize those
delays. It does take a little planning and additional time in maintaining correspondence. However, the
payoff during a breakdown can be immense.