What is parts inventory management?
Parts inventory management has always been a critical and complex challenge. Having the right part in the right quantity at the right time and in the right place requires planning, precision, and balance.
5 tips for better parts inventory management strategy
1. Categorize your parts inventory
- Active parts inventory (10 or more used each month)
- Commodity parts (1 or more used each month)
- Rarely used parts (fewer than 1 used each month)
When stocking parts inventory, consider factors including lead time, consumption rate, the costs associated with storage, and the potential costs and consequences that would be incurred if you did not have a needed part.
2. Set agreed-upon parts stocking and reorder points
This can help you avoid a feast-or-famine scenario where you have excessive parts inventory — or not enough. Standardize your methods for determining when and whether to stock a part — and in what quantity. Using consistent criteria to make parts inventory decisions can streamline the process, make it easier to identify priorities, and make communicating decisions easier.
3. Improve your supply chain management
Materials providers, shipping partners, and other parties directly impact your spare parts inventory. Though you cannot singlehandedly eliminate supply chain issues, you can take steps to optimize your relationships with your suppliers and shippers. Good two-way communication is essential. Track lead times using a parts inventory software to identify potential slowdowns or bottlenecks.
4. Use data to drive parts inventory decisions
Start with usage probabilities and optimize your parts inventory over time. Parts inventory management software goes beyond spreadsheets to integrate with other tools, reduce manual data entry, and make tracking easier and more accurate.
5. Ensure inventory accuracy
Conduct a cycle count to match your physical parts inventory with your inventory records. Cycle counting is a method designed to fit into your normal operations. A parts inventory software solution makes accurately tracking your inventory easier.
There are multiple inventory accounting methods. A first in, first out (FIFO) strategy is important if your inventory includes any parts or products that have limited shelf lives, such as chemicals or pharmaceutical ingredients. Track all of their expiration dates in parts inventory software to avoid spoilage.
eMaint Parts Inventory Software Testimonials
Cactus Drilling Company moved from manual parts inventory management to eMaint CMMS because they wanted to gain better inventory control and manage purchasing. Inventory evaluations and reports are shared with leadership, increasing visibility and enabling support for repair, replace, or rebuild decisions. Centralized and streamlined document storage makes it easier to keep an accurate parts inventory, even across multiple departments.
“The commitments from the eMaint team help us reach our goals.”
-Kenny Boyanton, CMMS Coordinator, Cactus Drilling Company, L.L.C.
Crown Holdings, Inc. used eMaint to reduce their parts inventory by $1.02 million through centralized part accessibility. The packaging products supplier uses eMaint in 45 locations around the world.
Crown also reduced their service operations expenses by more than $100,000 per year and improved their repair parts inventory turnover by 34%.
“At the plant level, practitioners use eMaint for spare parts, inventory control, equipment and maintenance management. At a business unit level, eMaint provides senior management with global visibility of plant operations.”
-Tom F., Senior Project Manager, Crown Cork & Seal, Inc.
The Great Lakes Water Authority contracted with the New England Fertilizer Company (NEFCO) to design, build, and operate a Biosolids Dryer Facility (BDF). NEFCO uses eMaint to order supplies, track spare parts, itemize all loose and packaged items, and analyze key business metrics.
“About 100 employees interact with eMaint, and everyone in NEFCO appreciates eMaint’s ease of use and 24/7 access.”
-Bill Hollman, Corporate Operations Manager, NEFCO