MRO Best Practices Adoption:
Beyond Inventory Management
By: Jim Clifford, Director of MRO Services
In our last blog, we talked about MRO inventory management which is ensuring that the right parts are available at the right time and in the right place. This effort is one pillar of a best-practices MRO program but it’s not the only one. In conjunction with optimizing storeroom inventory and the storeroom itself, organizations must develop an ecosystem of best practices that support handling and usage of MRO parts and tools.
PCA recently worked with the Milliken Chemicals plant in Blacksburg, SC, which was planning a new, expanded storeroom. As part of that effort plant management wanted to implement “systemic world-class best practices” for MRO materials and operations, according to Milliken MRO Supply Chain Manager Kyle Bailey, CMRP.
The process began with a comprehensive assessment by the PCA team during which they benchmarked Milliken’s current approach against best-practices techniques. Following that assessment, PCA developed a physical improvement proposal that covered everything from the optimal storeroom location to space utilization.
However, the effort did not stop there. PCA experts also outlined activities that needed to accompany Milliken’s physical improvements, such as refining processes, developing standard operating procedures (SOPs), and coaching staff to cement the practice. They also included benchmarking to measure outcomes and adjust them when required.
The Milliken project perfectly illustrates the heart of MRO best practices. Unless a plant and its personnel embrace them as codified in SOPs, and every activity is designed and tuned to support them, no amount of inventory management will deliver the desired result.
To help organizations envision what they can achieve through MRO best practices adoption, PCA has developed a “Best Practices Playbook” that it shares with clients and helps them apply during its engagements. Through this approach, stakeholders can envision success and then achieve it.
Some of the wisdom incorporated in best practices is high-level and advanced, and some of it seems obvious. Yet even the simplest, most sensible activity such as “Go through your junk drawers and throw out all the old stuff that’s been laying around for years,” can be overlooked until everyone is using a functional playbook and operating under the same set rules.
That’s where best practices come in. At their core, they are the barometer by which all activities are evaluated, redefined, improved and measured, leaving nothing to chance.