MRO means Maintenance, Repairs and Operations. So, when we talk about MRO spares management we are talking about the proper documentation, detailing and management of spare parts used for maintenance, repairs or operations support in an organisation. Some texts refer to MRO as Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul. MRO spares management is an important part of any work execution management system and it usually makes a great percentage (up to 60%) of the maintenance budget. The way spare parts are managed in has a major impact on maintenance labor productivity.
When MRO spares management is taken for granted you could expect consequences such as: Technicians waiting on materials , travelling to get the materials, wastage of time to transport the materials or worse still, technicians looking for parts in remote storage locations. This leads to loss of time, productivity and even finances. Imagine a production machine packs up due to unavailability of a spare part, this would mean a significant loss in production for the time period when there is operation downtime. It is therefore of utmost importance to develop an MRO spares management system.
Location of the MRO spares storage
One of the first things that should be considered when developing an MRO spares management system is the location of storage space. This should closely match the geographical arrangement of the maintenance area. Imagine the MRO spare part store being located 1 kilometer away from the maintenance area, significant time would be wasted trying to obtain spare parts leading to wasted maintenance productivity.
Organisation of each storage area
After properly locating the storage area, the arrangement of that space is of utmost importance. It is one thing to have the store close by and another thing for spare parts to be easily retrievable. This would be possible only by proper organisation. There are several techniques used in the organisation of spare parts. They could be organised by spare part types or by equipment. The former is mostly used in larger store rooms while the latter is used in smaller store rooms. Spare parts should be stored correctly to ensure they are not damaged during storage. Make sure to eliminate any delay in finding the spare parts by making the storage areas very specific.
Securing the spare parts while they are being stored
Now, this is another very important part of the process. Having achieved no. 1 &2 above, securing the spare parts while they are being stored is of utmost importance. It is usually in the best interest of the organisation to have a store room attendant. The store attendant would usually know the location and tag numbers of different spares. This cannot be overemphasised. Money spent on inventory reconciliation due to lost or stolen items can justify the cost of hiring a store room attendant. The attendant would also issue, receive and stock spare parts and make sure proper documentation is done of items retrieved from the store room.
Develop an identification system for MRO spare parts
Next is what we call part numbering. It is important to number the various spare parts so as to ease identification and retrieval. It is not advisable to rely on the vendor or manufacturer part number because they periodically change or modify it. The organisation can have letter codes for various type of parts and attach numbers to them.
Develop stocking policies and calculations
Finally, stocking policies must be put in place to ascertain safety stock level, reorder points, reorder quantities, desired stocking levels and service levels. Typically, a service level of 95 to 97 percent service level is considered necessary to support good maintenance and planning and scheduling.
Critical spares vs Routine Spares
Routine spare parts are machine components, assemblies or parts that are replaced more often. They are usually replaced as they are mostly involved and almost always in use during the operation of the machine or equipment. They are usually not too large and can be easily replaced.
Critical spare parts are assemblies, subassemblies or major components. They
- are sometimes rebuildable units.
- usually may need larger storage areas and are not replaced as often as the routine spares.
- are different from the routine spare parts.
Computerised MRO Tracking system
Some organisations go the extra mile to employ a computerised MRO tracking system to ease MRO spares operations. A computerised MRO tracking system is often part of a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS). The tracking system should contain key information such as (But not limited to)
- Part number
- Detailed part description
- Part location, specifically aisle, bin, shelf location
- Type or class of part
- Reorder point
- On-hand quantity etc.
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