What Can a Lean Approach to Storeroom Management Do For Your Business?
A storeroom serves one important role: to ensure critical parts and components are on hand for maintenance, repair, and operational (MRO) situations. But your approach to inventory management also plays a key role in the efficiency of your operation. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for MRO storerooms to make poor use of space, slow down processes, and rack up needless expenses. To make matters worse, the critical part you need may not be on hand, or in the right place, when you need it.
To avoid common inventory pitfalls, take a lean approach to storeroom management — one that allows you to address problems efficiently while minimizing chaos and maximizing organization.
What is MRO inventory?
As the name suggests, MRO inventory refers to all the materials and supplies used for maintenance, repairs, and operations in a factory setting. Manufacturers use MRO inventory items frequently enough to keep them on hand. In doing so, they trade cost for convenience: Inventory has carrying value that remains unrealized until a part or component is put to work. Maintaining an efficient storeroom goes beyond making sure inventory is accessible; it also ensures efficient throughput and cost management.
Common practices that lead to problems with MRO inventory
Poor storeroom inventory management is typically evident in either physical disarray, inefficient inventory spending, or both.
For instance, one of the most common problems with MRO inventory is having too many unnecessary parts or components on hand. Infrequently used parts add to inventory cost and occupy space better suited to oft-used components. To remedy this, identify, prioritize, and order critical or common parts instead of carrying a full inventory.
Properly tracking maintenance schedules is another important feature of efficient inventory management. By keeping up with machine maintenance, you can determine the regular usage intervals for specific parts. This informs smarter inventory practices, which improve storeroom efficiency and promote cost-efficient inventory throughput.
Finally, simply organizing your inventory goes a long way. Keeping stockrooms organized and categorized prevents problems associated with stockpiling unnecessary parts or misplacing necessary inventory.
Best practices you can adopt today
Streamlining MRO inventory takes solid foundational practices and strict oversight. Often, the solution is as simple as incorporating inventory management software. Software accurately tracks inventory and prevents ordering errors. Inventory management software also makes it easier to locate and reorder spare parts.
But software isn’t a solution for personnel-focused improvements. For MRO management, assign a stockroom manager to act as a control valve for ordering, monitoring, and distributing inventory. It’s important to control MRO inventory by training personnel in best practices for maintaining order in the stockroom.
Finally, vendor management is an essential consideration. Many vendors can assist you in monitoring inventories and automatically alert you to the need for a restock when items are running low. With enhanced vendor relationships, stockroom automation possibilities can become reality.
Work with an expert
One of the best ways to improve inventory management is by working with a lean expert. Even the right software and good inventory management practices can’t beat the knowledge of someone who specializes in inventory management and knows their best practices inside and out.
An inventory management expert can look at your storeroom and offer the best advice on organization, reordering, and maintenance. You’ll quickly realize just how effective streamlining MRO inventory can be for saving money and improving operational efficiency.