You Can't be Lean with a Fat Storeroom

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word lean?

I think waste or the elimination of it.

Where is waste found in your operation?

If you’re like most places, your storeroom is a common place to find waste, especially if it can be characterized as "having everything you don’t need and nothing you do need."

This is a fat storeroom and if this is your storeroom, I’m going to poke you a little bit. Are you walking right by it when there’s hard savings by going lean? If so, consider these things:

  • Start applying the same discipline to MRO as you do direct materials.

  • Think about it, your MRP / ERP not only tells you exactly how much raw material is needed, but also the vendor, the price, the delivery status, etc.

  • With the proper discipline to follow work processes driven by an EAM configuration, you can gain the same control over MRO.

  • Ask yourself, "Could my storeroom operate as a separate, for-profit hardware store?"

If your answer is no, look at these criteria:

  • Operations: fill rates, spot buys, sub-stocks;

  • Inventory: duplications, descriptions, unused, inaccurate;

  • Price: compliance, buy-around;

  • Warranty process & toolset;

  • Value-add to maintenance.

All of these can be driven and measured in EAM; once you’re there, you can improve.

MRO is likely one of your largest controllable expenses and EAM can help you reduce it through Work Planning, Preferred Supplier Compliance, and Inventory Management.

Until next time...we are Advoco, make every minute count!

About James: James serves as Advoco’s Maintenance Improvement Practice Lead. His career has been dedicated to Reliable Plant Operations Performance, with experience ranging from “mega projects on a global scale” with Fluor Corporation to owning and operating a South Carolina-based plant services company. Known affectionately in the office by his childhood nickname Jimbo, he is passionate about restoring the value and pride in American Manufacturing through our Reliable Operation Initiative (ROI) and PRIDE in Maintenance implementation approach. He’s also known for dropping “idea bombs” – his way of challenging others to think differently in order to solve problems. If you have a question for James or Jimbo (he answers to both!), please send him an email.


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