Plant Maintenance: How Your Critical Repair Part Inventory Plays a Role

What is the two-phase process for figuring out which repair parts are critical?

  • Representatives from various departments come together to examine a series of factors.
  • A determination is made about the criticality of an individual part.

Production maintenance can be summed up with a simple phrase: You need the parts you need when you need them.

That’s a no-brainer, right?

But, when it comes to maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies inventory, it’s tricky to determine what’s critical to have on hand and what’s not.

MRO definition

Maintenance, repair and operating supplies are items consumed during the manufacturing or plant maintenance process.

For the sake of efficient plant maintenance, it IS important to know which repair parts are critical. Consider these statistics:

With numbers like this, it’s easy to see how important it is to have the correct critical spare parts in your inventory.

You can use this two-phase plan to determine which repair parts are critical to have on hand.

1. Criticality Analysis

The first phase of figuring out whether or not a repair part is critical happens when decision-makers from various departments come together to add their unique input – employees from Operations, Maintenance, Engineering, Materials Management and Safety will perform a “criticality analysis.”

For a repair part to be considered critical, it needs to have a direct impact on either employee safety or the environment, OR it will keep the production process from running efficiently and effectively.

Let’s look at the factors of a criticality analysis more closely.

  • The impact equipment failure would have on:
    • Customer orders.
    • Disruption of time to production.
    • Employee safety.
    • The environment.
    • The ability to isolate the failed equipment.
    • Equipment history of Mean-Time-Between-Failures.
    • Production maintenance history.
    • Overall predictability of failure.

Each of the factors is examined and given a numerical score between 0 and 100. These scores are converted into a “part criticality” ranking system.


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2. Making an MRO Determination

The second phase is when a determination is made.

Either the item will be included as part of the MRO inventory OR it will be considered order-as-needed.

To make this determination, the scores are further divided into categories designating the severity of failure: catastrophic, significant or insignificant.

So, generally, an item that falls under the umbrella of “catastrophic” will be among the MRO supplies kept on hand all the time. An item that’s deemed “insignificant” (neither a safety nor a production concern) can wait until it’s needed to be ordered.

Critical parts play a role in production maintenance

Many parts in the MRO inventory are designated as critical repair parts because at some point a mechanical failure occurred and someone was blamed for not having the part available when it was needed – a dire failure of plant maintenance.

That’s why the two-phase system was developed: to make the right determination about critical spare parts, their place in the inventory of your organization and the effect it has on plant maintenance.

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