Materials Management

The Storeroom Road Map: Final Thoughts

We covered a lot of ground in 2015; here’s a recap:






New Item Set-Up


Defined Space


Order Parts


Physical Organization









Growing Your Efficient Storeroom: From Intermediate to Advanced Part II


From Intermediate to Advanced

Here we are, at the completion of the Storeroom Roadmap.  This month we’ll finish discussing those practices (yellow blocks) that make our storeroom efficient at an advanced level.  As a preview to next month’s blog, our last in this year long series, I’ll provide some final thoughts and suggestions to round out our study and understanding of the journey we’ve taken.

The practices that comprise the last element of our efforts really do seem to belong in the advanced stages of a very mature organization.  It’s in this very section of the map that we hone our fiscal sense and come to understand and provide tools to meet the budgetary constraints through the monthly budget and the measure of stores issues vs. budget.

As a very planned and programmed practice to exercise in our fiscal efforts, strategic sourcing and VMI/Consignment are necessary at this advanced level of execution.

And finally, the technical library will be discussed, in a way that hopefully conveys its importance well beyond a repository for information.


Figure 1:  Advanced-Efficient


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.

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.

Training Snapshot: Materials Management for Maintenance

If you have ever you wanted to peak under the hood of Marshall Institute training content now’s your chance. I will be revealing content from our maintenance and reliability public seminars in this Training Snapshot series.  This post checks out a snippet of our Materials Management for Maintenance seminar training manual.  We join the seminar in the early stages where we discuss the current state of a typical storeroom, and conversly, the outcomes of a World Class MRO operation.  

Marshall Institute Training Center

Growing your Efficient Storeroom


From foundational to intermediate: Part II


Last month, we spent time discussing some of the Strategic Practices, those items identified in yellow blocks on our road map:

·         Critical Spares Evaluation

·         ROP/EOQ, MIN-MAX, OOR

·         Problem Solving

·         Open Stock

·         Lighting Survey

Growing Your Efficient Storeroom

From foundational to intermediate

By far, the largest of the six divisions of a world class storeroom is the Intermediate-Efficient section.  Within this section, we begin to sharpen our processes and practices and create the activities that really enhance our entire storeroom operation.


Due to the enormity of the Intermediate-Efficient section, we are going to divide it up into 4 blogs for discussion.


Making Our Effective Storeroom Efficient

The Foundational Steps Necessary to Move from Effective to Efficient

The role of the Stores Stock Committee becomes intrinsically clearer as this oversight body helps to guide the storeroom organization from effective to efficient.  Much of the detail in last month’s blog concerning the formation, training, and chartering of this leadership group was intended to set the course for future growth.  Up until this point, those processes and procedures established in the effective foundational, and intermediate levels are those commonly practiced by a majority of today’s storerooms.  Going forward, discussions will center on elevating our game to another level.

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.

Advance the Foundation of YOUR Effective Storeroom

Last month we discussed the processes and practices that are necessary for a storeroom to be effective at a very ‘foundational’ level.  Those specific activities are important as they are the building blocks of a world class MRO inventory process.  From here, we build upon the groundwork just laid and grow to an intermediate level of effectiveness, while continuing to develop processes that lead us to higher performance.

After the Intermediate-Effective processes, we’ll continue to build our practices until we are performing at or near a world class level.  Let me provide an early glimpse of all that goes into controlling maintenance inventory:

Effective and Efficient Processes and Practices

Table 1:  Effective and Efficient Processes and Practices

Before your storeroom can be efficient, it must first be effective

Welcome back!  This month, we are going to discuss the initial step of making your maintenance storeroom effective.  We are often contacted by clients who tend to share a common vision and goal, asking “Can you help us make our storeroom more efficient?”  “Of course we can, that’s what we do!”  It’s usually during this first contact with the client that we’ll caution, “First, let’s make sure your storeroom is effective.” 

As I mentioned in January’s blog, I recommend that you begin the continuous improvement process of your maintenance inventory with a sense of where you are now (current state).  We have an extensive, thorough, and sometimes painful assessment, and also a tamer storeroom survey that can be used for such evaluations.  Those are the tools that we use, but in lieu of such formality, you should at least gain a sense of your current state by using any internal resource at your disposal.  Stores is a critical aspect of your reliability effort and you need to understand this element in order to move forward.

After an assessment, we can focus on the strategy of building an effective storeroom and then an efficient storeroom by following a concise and easy to navigate road map to reach a world class MRO storeroom.

Introduction to World Class Inventory Management

Welcome and thanks for visiting! This is the first edition in a 12-month series of blog entries, designed to discuss and explain high level storeroom performance. It should also help create a compelling case for change at your plant or location.

I’ll be writing a blog every month covering key challenges and discussions around Storeroom and Materials Management.  I welcome you to review the material and to comment below and let us know your experiences, thoughts, and points of view. Let’s have a conversation and some robust dialogue on this very important subject.

What does World Class mean?

As a reliability consultant, I use the term “World Class” often, and if you’ve had consultants in your facility or gone to any outside training, you’ve no doubt heard this phrase. It’s likely that our earliest exposure to the term came from the world of sports, as Olympians are said to be world class athletes. The Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” convinces us that the participants are those among us who are “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”

Where to Start? Building a World Class MRO Process

In practice, it’s easier to ‘build’ a world class MRO process from one that is mature and functioning, rather than from scratch.  Consider your process that has been inefficiently working for years; delivery both poor service and great inconvenience.  This is truly a more enviable position than starting with an empty warehouse.

Why?  Think of all the great examples you already have of “how not to do something”.  Thomas Edison so cleverly stated that he didn’t have thousands of failed experiments when creating a light bulb; he just learned 10,000 ways not to do it.

We’ll save you 9,991 attempts by giving you a 9 step outline to use in building a world class MRO process.   It’s like flipping a switch; after all, what could be easier?

Step 1:  Conduct a parts needs analysis

Can you predict and identify failure before it happens?

We recently had a comment posted on Tracy Strawn's blog post Preventive Maintenance - The Cost of Maintaining Equipment

Khaled Ekram asked the question: 

"What if we could identify failure before it happens with a reasonable time in which we could order the damaged parts and recieve it (within the lead time), if we could have a signal or alert for failure or measurment which could give an indication of failure propability we may save a lot of money by ordering within the perfect time.

Yes we may have a risk of not having the parts before the failure then we may face the shut-down and cost of non-availability for the items but we should try to do such in some cases.

Therefore if you could advise about my suggestion I would be appreciated."

MRO Strategic Sourcing: Research Sourcing Providers in the Market

In a recent blog post titled "MRO Strategic Sourcing: The Expensive Table Scraps", I explained that too many organizations leave money on the table due to poor procurement practices.  I outlined 7 fundamental steps to optimize strategic sourcing. This post is the second in a 7-part series in which I will go into more detail for each of the 7-steps and discuss how it applies to MRO Storeroom operations.

Today, we’ll look at the second step – Research the sourcing providers in the market

7-Steps to Optimize Strategic Sourcing: