Manufacturers must always have an inventory of parts on hand. This doesn’t just include whatever parts they use to create a given product. It also means having stocks of spare parts for the equipment they use, including CNCs and cutters that help them create both those other parts and the end products. To function effectively before, during and after a production run, all the machines should be at an optimal performance level. When they break, it’s up to workers to quickly repair them so that productivity doesn’t decline significantly. Proper parts management means businesses should streamline this process as much as possible.
Getting a grasp of the equipment
A company can only ensure it has the proper spare parts stock for its equipment by assessing the machines themselves. Manufacturing blog Reliability Web suggested looking at each aspect of the tools, right down to the particular parts, and ask the question of whether it’s more viable to repair the part or just replace it with a spare. Essentially, a parts management strategy is a subset of company maintenance.
Certain parts and equipment are repairable in situ with the right materials and know-how from the worker in question. However, simpler or small devices or pieces may come packaged in such a way repairing them is impractical and a waste of time, so it’s better to just stock up on a spare and keep it in inventory. When the part inevitably breaks, a replacement can be put in right away with minimal loss to production, instead of wasting productivity fixing it.
Similarly, when considering the feasibility of repairs, one thing to take into account is how much time it would take to actually fix a part that breaks down. A simple adjustment to a common problem that takes only a minute or two may mean it’s simpler to just mend something than keep a stock of spares. On the other hand, if several minutes are lost trying to get a part to work again, it may make more sense to have spares on hand.
Go through each machine with this mentality in mind. Companies that take the time to address this issue can develop a parts management strategy based on this information. From there, it’s a matter of executing the strategy through effective software.
Proper execution of parts necessary
An enterprise resource planning platform like Microsoft Dynamics NAV often possesses the ability to monitor spare parts through inventory management. However, what is different about parts management is that any inventory must take into consideration the viability of the parts in question. In essence, it’s necessary for a company to account for the state of the equipment when compiling the inventory. As supply chain firm Inspirage noted, that means creating an item master data set that offers multiple variables on the overall state of the parts. Such a set would include the reliability estimates of the parts in question, a list of suppliers and repair agents in the event the company cannot make or fix the item on site, and the general state of the equipment being used. By having all this information on hand, a company can get a better idea of how to handle any repair situation.
An analytics platform can also be a helpful tool when developing a parts management strategy. By combining both predictive and proactive approaches through the use of equipment analysis and the item master data, a company can reasonably forecast when it will be necessary to replace a part or repair it. By having this information on hand, it’s much easier to assess what spare parts should be on site at all times, optimizing inventory and space.
Shops looking to control their parts management should download the white paper “Inventory Costing for Microsoft Dynamics NAV” today.