Most companies are faced with the challenging task of finding a balance between managing inventory and how many spare parts are necessary for optimal utilization. Having spare parts on hand is essential for reducing downtime, but obviously having too many can cost you in up-front CapEx. On the flip side, if they aren’t on hand and available, it can up operational wait times, cause production loss, and may even get you in trouble with your organization’s adherence to local and state laws. Being able to effectively manage your spare parts inventory is one of the most important and cost effective things you can do, while also reducing risk of asset failure.
It gets even more complicated when you have spare parts that need their own maintenance and might even have a shelf life. Your company invests a lot of money into making sure there is an inventory built up and is available on hand, when you need it. But, is it the right inventory? Vendors can make this process sound easy, though, they are likely sending you parts based on the equipment packages they sold you, not whether these parts are essential to keeping in stock and making the most out of your facility.
Finding that sweet spot is important. This sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s where harnessing the digital transformation, applying spare parts analysis, and utilizing new tech tools can make sure you’re keeping the right parts in stock at the right time.
While there are many vendors that help with a small portion of your spares management, some tech companies like Fulcrum Technologies are deploying holistic technologies and services to get companies closer to perfect sparing levels than ever before.
Jami Oster, Fulcrum CEO, shares a few tips on how a functional system works:
- Focus on spares that are required for critical equipment.
- Find spares that are in high-demand and determine the parts that don’t need to be ordered every week.
- Figure out what isn’t essential for being stocked (things that can be ordered and aren’t critical for operation).
- Use tech tools that give you the power to achieve better results throughout your business. Fulcrum CATS (www.Fulcrum.net) is one of those tools that has end-to-end coverage from data collection to data reconciliation to enterprise system integration.
- Set minimum and maximum quantity policies for specific items, locations and even sub-locations.
- Get notified when inventory levels reach a certain threshold.
- Continuously evaluate and compare levels to minimum and maximum policies.
- Set status updates for policy states, usage, and spare availability.
Eliminating excess waste in your inventory levels reduces overall storage costs (and OpEx) that can incur by not making the most of the space you are paying for. It allows you to have the inventory when you need it and not when you don’t. It also helps reduce the parts that might become outdated as technology evolves.
An effective spares tool will help make the whole process seamless and invaluable to your everyday business. It helps produce efficient and sustainable results and gives you a real competitive edge while also reducing risk, manage costs and meeting production requirements.
Making sure you have the ability to respond during downtime from network outages is also an extremely important benefit of great spares management. The CATS Spares tool helps ensure that you keep the right amount of critical spare inventory where you need it most – alerting you in real-time when your inventory state changes.