The Stores Stock Committee: Straightening Roads & Leveling Mountains

For this month’s blog, we are going to slow down just a little and spend some time discussing a nuance that will be critical for the storeroom to successfully advance fromeffective to efficient. For this transformation, we must have an active support structure to provide guidance, oversight, and clout, essentially straightening roads and leveling the mountains of obstacles that might impede progress.

Companies that have ventured into Total Process Reliability (TPR) with Marshall Institute will recognize the support structure necessity as being step 3 of the 8-phase change model.

Step 3 of the 8 PhasesFigure 1: Step 3 of the 8-phase change model for TPR

In TPR, a central Steering Committee is commissioned to provide oversight.  In the storeroom transformation, the central overseer is the Stores Stock Committee (SSC) which performs steering committee duties, concentrated around the MRO processes.  The SSC is made up of key contributors within the organization.  A Stores Stock Committee functions as any steering committee would, providing guidance and ensuring that the goals and actions taken to enhance the storeroom are in line with the overall corporate or plant goals, as well as any continuous improvement objectives.

As with all change management, leadership requires engaged participants to drive the change effort.  Traditional change management roles include:

  • Sponsor
  • Champion
  • Change Agent
Figure 2:  Traditional Support Roles for Change

For a Stores Stock Committee, the Sponsor is often the plant manager, or possibly the director or vice president of purchasing; it depends on where the jurisdiction for stores lies. The Champion is typically the storeroom manager, supervisor, or whoever is the highest ranking person in the storeroom. The Change Agent is often an outside resource: an internal or external consultant who supplies a constant source of energy and momentum.

Change is difficult: there needs to be structure to provide form and context in all of the activities that will occur. An interesting characteristic about change management is simply that people don’t mind change, per se; they just don’t like being changed. There must be a coalition of associates ensuring that the organization is moving along the continuum from one stable domain to another (for example: current state to future state). The Sponsor, Champion, and Change Agent are essential for consistent momentum. 

Similar to steering committees, the Stores Stock Committee must be chartered to form an agreement on the purpose and objectives. The charter would include:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Structure
  • Goals
  • Action time line
  • Rules of engagement and conflict resolution

vision or vision statement provides guidance and inspiration as to what an organization is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years. For example:

“Our storeroom provides world class service and convenience for world class equipment reliability”

A mission or mission statement defines the present state or purpose of an organization and answers three questions about why an organization exists:

  • WHAT it does
  • WHO it does it for, and
  • HOW it does what it does

 For example:

“Our mission is to provide the right MRO part, at the right time, in the right quantity to our maintenance organization. We will execute best storeroom practices and measure ourselves against the best in the world.”

Decisions going forward, for any group, will be easier with a vision and a mission statement that make such a compelling call for actions and engagement!

The Stores Stock Committee membership would often include:

  • Storeroom manager (or equivalent)who acts as the committee chairperson
  • Maintenance representative
  • Production representative
  • Engineering representative
  • Purchasing representative
  • Ad hoc maintenance hourly representative

I don’t encourage that the plant manager become an active member of this committee. I believe it’s best to reserve the plant manager as the ‘tie-breaker’ used as a checks and balance system of the entire process. This is best accomplished from outside the group.

The Stores Stock Committee has great responsibility to make consequential decisions. The most notable would include:

  • Inventory value level
  • Key Performance Indicator/Metric goals
  • Staffing
  • What to stock on-hand, and what not to stock
  • Critical Spare Parts definition
  • Cycle Counting quotas
  • Vendor Managed Inventory/Consignment strategies

The benefits of the Stores Stock Committee go beyond the overt points made in this blog. Ultimately, a responsible and decisive Stores Stock Committee can lead to the engagement of a broad spectrum of storeroom users in storeroom decisions. This helps to drive an ultimate desire to move associates from being victims of the storeroom to having some control and becoming engaged in how assets are managed.

Remember this vital group as we move forward in developing our world class storeroom. Now that we’ve spent time making our storerooms effective, we’ll start next month with beginning to make them efficient.



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