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Stores / Spares Optimization Systems

As organizations implement maintenance management and inventory control systems, assets can be linked to their inventory items and spare parts held in store.

Many organizations require considerable quantities of spares and inventory to support their maintenance programs, and significant funds may be involved with maintaining the required stock levels.

The techniques required to manage these materials to optimal levels is complex and needs to consider the:

  • Number of spare parts and materials required to suit the assets and their likely failure rates
  • Logistics involved in the locations required for these stores and the travel times and accessibility factors relating to the maintenance crews
  • Need for staff to optimise the materials they hold and the locations in which they are best suited
  • Lead times and criticality of individual items.

Software is available to help asset managers determine the appropriate number of spare parts and other resources and their most logical location.

As with the other systems, it is best that this optimisation package is interfaced into the existing store system in such a way that all staff can assess and determine the current appropriate stock levels or spare parts required for different activities, based on some form of filtering system which covers the:

  • Number of spare parts held
  • Value of these spare parts
  • Location of these parts
  • Number of assets requiring these
  • Response times necessary for optimal maintenance practice.

Optimising these spare parts and material inventories offers substantial financial gain through "just enough" or "just in time" philosophies.

The key inputs to such a system include the:

  • Inventory of spare parts and materials required by the asset group as a whole
  • Failure history of these assets in terms of mean time between failure (MTFBF)
  • Probability of failure of those assets without a failure history
  • Depot or stores locations.

These applications are then used on an appropriate schedule, e.g. annually, to review the types and numbers of inventory items that are required by the organization.

These systems are not generally integrated or interfaced with the main applications of maintenance management and inventory/stores control systems, however, they rely heavily on the data contained in those systems, which needs to be transferred each time the optimisation process is completed.

Systems such as this can generate considerable savings and can also be used to help justify uniformity in product procurement for those items in which long term spare parts inventories and maintenance constitute a significant cost.

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