Growing Your Efficient Storeroom: From foundational to intermediate: Part IV


Last month, we spent time discussing the Tactical Processes, those items identified in blue blocks:

·        Parts Standardization
·        BOMs
·        Requisition of Material
·        Receiving Purchased Items from Stores
·        Obsolescence
·        Repair or Replace

To round out the Intermediate – Efficient storeroom discussion, this month we are going to review the Last Used Report, and the Optimize Physical Layout idea.  These blocks are grey and salmon colored, respectively.


Intermediate Efficient

Figure 1:  Intermediate-Efficient 

The Last Used Report is identified on this road map as a Key Performance Indicator.  It’s a listing of the components in the storeroom that have exceeded some criteria for issue frequency.  It is often this report that is the first and only evidence that the storeroom has, to indicate a part, or parts, are potential candidates for obsolescence.

It’s recommended that components are evaluated quarterly to determine if they are candidates for obsolescence.  This audit is commissioned by the Stores Stock Committee and many plant agencies own various aspects of this study.

For example; the engineering department is responsible for identifying components that are no longer technically desirable to use. 

Some reasons might include, but are not limited to:

·        The component has been superseded, technically
·        The component is to be removed from inventory as part of an asset removal
·        A warranty or technical notice has been issued requiring the removal of the component

The maintenance department might determine a component is not desirable for continued use, for many of the reasons provided by the engineering department, plus others.

The storeroom’s contribution to the study and the ensuing discussion is data derived from the Last Used Report.

Prior to the commission of the obsolescence review, the Stores Stock Committee will have determined the criteria for obsolescence.  In regards to the frequency of issue, or more directly, the last time a component was requested, the SSC may determine that components will be considered for obsolescence discussions if the part has not been requested within a 3 year period.  Some organizations use as long as 5 years for a window, and others as little as 400 days.  Again, this is just a marker to identify components for discussion.

When the obsolescence study is commissioned by the SSC, the storeroom will run a report to determine what parts have not moved (been requested) for a period that matches the SSC’s criteria.  Once that report is produced, those items that have been formally identified as Critical Spare Parts are noted and removed from the list.  Remember, you don’t want to ever have to use a Critical Spare Part, therefore, those parts are most likely to appear on every Last Used Report.

After the critical spares have been removed, the remaining items will be identified as category A, B, or C.  This is important information to be used by the Stores Stock Committee when considering the value of continuing to stock the part, and in what quantity.

In addition to this information, the storeroom will include, on the Last Used Report, the current inventory level, the cost per unit of the item, the last used date, and a tabulation of how many days have passed since the item was last requested.

The storeroom never unilaterally ‘throws’ components away.  Rather, they complete the critical study of the frequency of use, and help to identify parts that appear to have no value and require a conversation as to whether or not the item is even still needed in support of the operation.

The organizational practice of Optimizing the Physical Layout of the storeroom is critical in this Intermediate – Efficient portion of the storeroom road map.  Of primary importance is to recognize that the manner in which the storeroom was initially laid out at the start of our enterprise, will most likely need tweaking to ensure the efficiency of movement and the potential for mistake proofing.

It is very common to find most storerooms are currently laid out in a very inefficient manner: not of their own design, but because it’s NOT their own design.  Over the maturing process of the plant and the storeroom, items were added and removed , the inventory value and stock offerings increased, but the layout never changed to accommodate efficiency and mistake proofing.  It’s more likely that the storeroom just kept piling more stuff into a poorly established floor plan.

One of the more successful physical layouts for a storeroom is one that follows a “zoned methodology”.  A zoned method is one meant for ease of identifying the proper location of inventoried items.  This methodology reduces time spent or mistakes made during many storeroom processes, which include, but are not limited to:

·        Issuing
·        Receiving
·        Cycle Counting
·        Kitting
·       Returning to Stock

The illustration below shows an example of a zoned established storeroom.  Within this layout, several key production assets have specific locations for their supporting components BUT only for components specifically for that asset. 

For example; a bearing for the clinker will be located on the mechanical shelf, because a bearing isn’t just made specifically for that clinker.  However, a linkage mechanism that is made specifically for that clinker will be located on the clinker shelf.

Zoned Layout

Figure 2:  zoned layout

An optimized storeroom physical layout should include as many of the following attributes as feasible:

·        Roll top door to the outside of the plant
·        Roll top door to the inside of the plant
·        Personnel door into the plant
·        Issue window
·        Separately identified kitted area
·        Open space for receiving items
·        Shelving
·        Cabinets
·        Shelves for obsolete items and quarantined items
·        Properly spaced aisleways
·        Office space with the proper office equipment
·        Specialty tool storage

This discussion on the Last Used Report and the Optimization of the Physical Layout round out the section of the road map that is meant to elevate our storeroom to an Intermediate-Efficient level.  Next month we will discuss the final element of this map: the Advanced-Efficient region.

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