Picture this.

Your job is to make sure production keeps moving smoothly.

Most days, that’s what happens.

Until it doesn’t. 

A small part malfunctions and you have to shut your production down until the part is replaced with a spare.

Here’s where the rubber hits the road. 

If you have a good spare parts management system, you’re golden. Retrieve the part, make the switch, back on track.

But without a method for organizing critical spare parts, you’re in trouble.

That time you have to spend searching? Excess downtime. Lost revenue.

Here are some tips for your spare parts management process.

1. Know your spare parts inventory

The first step in organization is knowing what you have.

After you’ve identified everything, classify each part by how critical it is.

For example, if you work in a nuclear power plant, parts for the reactor will be pretty high priority.

It’s crucial that you know exactly where to go when an emergency hits.

2. Compare the numbers

It can be expensive to maintain a spare parts inventory.

The costs include:

  • Purchasing the parts.
  • Storage.
  • Material handling.
  • Security labor.
  • Inventory carrying.

Another aspect to consider is that tying up funds in spare parts prevents you from investing it in other places.

However, all of that still won’t add up to the amount of revenue you would lose in downtime if you didn’t have spare parts on hand. 

Depending on the industry, you could be losing thousands of dollars every hour.

Crunch the numbers and make sure that you’re maximizing your return on your spare parts investment.

Keep in mind, even if you have parts, it won’t keep you from experiencing a lull in production if you can’t find what you need.

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3. Maintaining spare parts

You can’t just set parts on a shelf and forget about them until you need them.

Often, some level of maintenance is required.

Metal components are susceptible to rust, corrosion and bearing issues.

Store them in an optimal environment that keeps them in their original shape for as long as possible.

Your spares should be lubricated (as needed) and the dust should be removed periodically. 

Don’t risk experiencing an even greater amount of downtime because your spare parts don’t work due to neglect.

4. Perform regular reviews

Over time, equipment changes and so do priorities.

As you perform periodic reviews of your spare parts inventory, you’ll find that some items have dropped in importance while others have become more critical.

Examining your inventory on a regular basis also helps you keep what you have top of mind.

A spare parts management method that works

To keep your production running smoothly and avoid costly downtime, it’s important that you have a spare parts management system in place.

Know what you have, understand the amount of inventory it’s financially wise to have on hand, and carefully maintain your spare parts.

Periodically review what you have and reassess the importance of each part.

You’ll be able to find what you need – quickly – when an emergency comes up.

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