How to Safely Cut the Cost of Inventory

How to Safely Cut the Cost of Inventory

Optimizing maintenance spares helps companies achieve a higher level of equipment operation and performance

May 14, 2020 | 3 minute read



Working as part of an Asset Management business, we are often asked if we can help clients optimize their maintenance spares. “Yes,” we reply, but we need to know more about your business, biggest challenges, well-being of your company’s systems and, most importantly, the quality of data content.


To optimize maintenance spares we need to accurately predict demand. To do so, we need a clear picture of the whole maintenance process. Demand for spare parts is a result of preventive maintenance (activities performed to prevent failure), corrective maintenance (activities to mitigate failures that have started to occur, or that have already occurred) and breakdown maintenance (activities to restore equipment after a sudden failure).

Ideally, preventive and corrective maintenance jobs will be effectively planned, identifying all required resources, including spare parts. However, this is not always the case and breakdown work is often not effectively planned. To optimize production and minimize stock, we need to achieve two things:

  • Ensure that enough spare parts are available to meet the expected demand, without overstocking; and
  • Reduce the unplanned demand by better planning processes and improving equipment reliability.

This is achieved by improving asset data (particularly for spare parts), maintenance strategies and application of condition-based maintenance, where appropriate.

We need to calculate the expected demand for spare parts, and that’s why asset and materials master data must be of good quality, standardized and effectively governed. It is vital to know what spare parts are being used and therefore needed as inventory items. Duplication and poorly formatted or unrecognizable material masters are known to increase stock holdings and cause delays leading to increased risks to production.

In our experience, larger customers’ master data has been cleansed to some degree, but the work done often degrades quickly, as effective governance processes have not been put in place. Standardization makes master data easier to use and allows the identification of duplication and provides opportunities of stock reduction by making common items across organizations visible. Governance adds control to the data owners. When implemented effectively, this means the right team reviews and approves the data elements for which they are responsible.

We also remind our customers that we should look at all materials and maintenance processes, not just seals.

Learn more about out John Crane Asset Management Solutions.

Materials Management

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