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Is Agile MRO Inventory and Asset Management the Key to Proactive EAM?

If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that we need to remain agile, adaptable and prepared for the unexpected. This includes having the right Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO), or spare parts, inventory on hand to keep critical enterprise assets up and running. In fact, despite the supply chain disruptions of the moment, asset-intensive companies today are increasing efficiencies, reducing downtime and decreasing costs by being proactive with their MRO inventory and asset management. Perhaps that’s why 96% of large companies stated in a recent survey that MRO was extremely, very or somewhat important to their business.

While MRO management has historically been a manual process, fraught with errors and inefficiencies, today’s data-driven solutions can help optimize the MRO supply chain and inform your Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) decisions. And the industry is growing. Despite the disruptive influence of COVID-19, the global MRO market is expected to reach $787 billion by 2026, up from $686 billion in 2021.

The Dangers of Overlooking MRO Lifecycle Management in EAM

Proactive MRO lifecycle management and spare parts inventory optimization have important roles to play in EAM. But they are often overlooked, with serious operational and financial consequences. Whether commissioning new equipment or implementing a reliability program, spare parts are typically an afterthought. This can cost your company greatly in terms of working capital and having excess stock of what you don’t need. It could also mean having insufficient stock of what you do need and the costs associated with unplanned downtime, reactive maintenance and expedited freight for urgent parts.

An Asset Is Only As Strong as Its Weakest Link

You’ve heard the old adage: equipment doesn’t fail, parts fail. Recognizing this is the first step to developing a more effective approach to MRO inventory and asset management. You know you need the right parts, in the right place, at the right time to support ongoing operations. An effective way to do this is to approach MRO through the lens of the Asset Management Lifecycle, grounded in practice within ISO 55000.

Asking the right Questions for Effective MRO Inventory and Asset Management

There is no getting around the fact that each stage of your Enterprise Asset Management Lifecycle requires spare part considerations. Asking informed questions at each stage will help you make better decisions and result in an MRO Lifecycle that helps you address spare parts inventory proactively, mitigating risks and driving better business outcomes.

The 3 phases of the MRO Lifecycle in relation to the overall EAM Lifecycle

MRO Inventory Lifecycle Lifecycle Phase Question to Ask
Introduction New site/equipment commissioning What parts do we really need to add to our catalogue?
Active Ongoing maintenance of operating equipment Are we holding the right parts, in the right quantity, in the right place to support ongoing operations?
End of Use Equipment phase-out/ decommissioning Which parts should we be running down and removing from our catalogue as part of an equipment change?

Streamlining MRO Inventory and Asset Management with Technology

There is a direct relationship between spare part availability, timely maintenance and asset health, but most companies have enough to manage. In fact, one of the key reasons why spare parts inventory management hasn’t received the necessary attention is that it’s a messy and resource-intensive undertaking. To do it right requires sifting through masses of data, including making sense of inconsistent part descriptions, duplicate paperwork and incomplete Asset Bills of Material. This is where technology can help, and it can do so much more.

There are solutions available to simplify and automate the analysis, so as an asset cycles through its life, you are making the best decisions concerning the associated parts. Internet of things (IoT) solutions, like connected condition-monitoring sensors, can provide real-time data on operating conditions. Such connected data streams can also enable you to move from a reactive to a predictive posture, identifying material requirements before the maintenance planning cycle has even begun. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can digest and analyze the data for patterns and identify failure modes. For better visibility, visualization tools can illustrate asset health and provide exception reporting to highlight maintenance priorities. Each of these can be integrated into your ERP or EAM software to support ongoing asset health.

In fact, the primary data driving MRO inventory lives in your ERP or EAM system. Whether you use SAP, IBM Maximo, JDE, MS Dynamics or other systems, Xtivity’s Pulse software solution leverages that transactional data, and more, to deliver optimized parts management and expose valuable insights.

Providing technology-driven solutions for MRO inventory and asset management, we help companies proactively increase their asset reliability by effectively managing their critical parts inventory. The results are improved cashflow and optimized operational efficiency, even in uncertain times.

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