Growing Your Efficient Storeroom: From Intermediate to Advanced

It’s time to move into the last section of the Storeroom Roadmap.  We’ve spent the first nine months of this year building our processes and practices to move from effective to efficient, working the entire time to develop a world class operation.  Finally, we’ve arrived at the last turn on our journey.

This month we’ll discuss the two processes (in blue) that are part of the Advanced-Efficient stage of a storeroom.  The work we’ve accomplished up to this point was  meant to increase the storeroom’s service, and make using it  more convenient.  As in Operations or Maintenance, problems will arise from time to time,, and must be identified and eliminated through Root Cause Analysis (RCA)   Also, this month, in an effort to sharpen the convenient service of the storeroom, we’ll discuss  the delivery of MRO spare parts. 

Figure 1:  Advanced-Efficient 

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) isn’t solely a storeroom tool, nor is it only meant to provide an understanding of just total failures.  Root Cause Analysis is meant to be used when anything is trending unfavorably, or when any unfavorable situation has occurred.

For example, an RCA should be used if the storeroom is consistently and constantly experiencing stock outs.  The RCA is used to determine the root cause of the stockout..

Without an investigation and a discovery of the root cause, the storeroom (under the direction of maintenance) would simply just raise the MIN/MAX level.  That’s the wrong move!

Most organizations subscribe to an RCA tool already.  This is not an effort to get folks to adopt one tool over another.  In fact, if we have an RCA methodology in place, we should simply get really good at using it.  Some of the more common tools include:

Figure 2:  RCA Samples 

Other tools include:

  • Fishbone
  • A3
  • Taproot
  • Apollo

Although most companies have an RCA tool they’ve adopted as ‘the’ corporate RCA tool, the application of the tool is woefully lacking.  There are unfortunate quotas (e.g. any time a machine is down for more than 1 hour an RCA must be submitted). Most (if not all) RCAs are poorly done and place the blame on an individual.

A very well executed Root Cause Analysis will net an omission within a process.  Either A) the process does not exist for the circumstances or, B) the individual did not follow the process.  If A) then solve, if B) it’s more likely that the process allowe’ the individual to make a wrong decision.

It’s not impossible to believe that an individual would purposefully make the wrong decision, it’s just very unlikely.

What follows is a short list of processes and practices and common, corresponding opportunities, that might warrant an RCA:






Items not recorded when removed from stores

Cycle Counting

Counts not accurate


Kits not complete and/or accurate

Return to Supplier

Parts incomplete, or non-functioning


Excessive inventory

Table 1:  Potential Reasons for an RCA in the Storeroom

The final process in our study of the storeroom roadmap is the concept of MRO part Delivery.  The delivery of items from stores usually incorporates the kitting process (the kits are what is delivered,, therefore, it is a natural extension of that process.

The idea of delivering kitted items sounds simple and straightforward at first, but in practice, it is quite involved.

Consider first, that before the delivery process can commence, locations around the plant (or site) must be identified as delivery locations.  Those spots must be identified and certified, in a sense, to be safe and secure for the items that are being delivered.

For example:  no electronic components will be delivered to an outdoor delivery location, nor will oils or lubricants be destined for delivery locations that might compromise the environment in case of a spill.

Delivery locations will be well lit, and away from traffic and potential damage by mobile equipment.  Delivery locations will be well marked (5s) kept open for  their intended purpose.  Nothing else will be stored in these locations.  All of these guidelines will be established by the Stores Stock Committee. Aside from certified delivery locations, the terms of transfer must also be spelled out and agreed upon.  Primarily, there are two cardinal rules:  no kit will be issued without a valid work order and no kit will be left unattended at a delivery location.

That last rule really makes sense if you give it some thought.  Time and money is spent to secure the MRO stock within the storeroom.  Fences, gates, walls, and locked doors are erected to keep stock in, and unwanted pilferage out.  Why would we simply drop a pallet of valuable parts off at a delivery location, and leave it unguarded?

This requires agreement between all parties, sequencing of time, on-time deliveries, and respect of all team members’ efforts.  .  If executed properly, maintenance and the storeroom technician will arrive at the transfer location at the same time.    The parts will be signed for through the organization’s established a process, including use of a of A valid work order.    Parts cannot be allowed to simply ‘go missing’.

Additionally, the manner in which the parts will be transferred must be agreed upon.  If the storeroom brings the parts on a pallet, the maintenance department must be ready to pick up and move a pallet.

The primary goal behind a delivery process is to get more maintenance work done by eliminating the waste that is brought on by transportation and waiting.  A delivery process  can’t be the cause of additional waste through lost and mismanaged inventory.

Here is a short delivery location checklist:

KIT Delivery Location Checklist

Location reduces delivery time by at least 50%

Delivery location allows the safe utilization of the necessary mobile equipment (e.g. fork truck)

Delivery location is well lit

Delivery location for electronic components is under cover.

Delivery location is safe for the delivery of oils, chemicals, and other liquids

Delivery location is away from mobile equipment traffic

Delivery location is accessible 24/7

Table 2:  Kit Delivery Location Checklist

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