Ten ways to cut MRO costs with industrial vending 24 August 2011

MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) consumables represent up to 20% of industrial organisations' spend, according to Tony Goodwin of MRO services firm Propeller – who says that the resulting purchasing burden could be much more efficient.

He points to technology that has emerged from coin-operated snacks and drinks machines, but now dispenses MRO consumables, PPE, tooling in a similar semi-automated manner, using time & attendance swipe cards, biometrics or identification codes for authorisation.

"Known as point-of-use or lineside vending machines, because they are located close to the production line or work area, they are nowadays advanced inventory management systems, enabling strict control of stock access, monitoring of usage down to user level and automatic reordering of out-of-stock items," explains Goodwin.

He argues that the latest generation of industrial vending technology, exemplified by hs company's British-made Pro-Vyda equipment, can now be configured for industry sectors, from aviation to automotive, energy, food processing and pharmaceuticals – and to accommodate all manner, shapes and sizes of stock items.

He also claims that using them can help plant managers to cut MRO costs "typically by as much as 30—40%", with 10 potential ways to achieve improvement.

First he cites reducing inventory holding: "As much as 70% of inventory items are never used or obsolete, so an initial data cleansing exercise and plant-wide amnesty on parts in lockers and toolboxes, as part of a vending machine implementation programme, will bring about immediate stock reductions," advises Goodwin.

Second, he makes the point that such systems free up valuable floorspace. "By utilising vertical space and high density storage technology, modern vending machines are designed to hold a vast array of products within a highly compact footprint," he explains.

And so he goes on, claiming: improved staff productivity; reductions in inventory spending, achieved by consistent authorisation and audit trails; optimised parts usage; eliminated pilfering; better health and safety management; and 24/7 parts availability, despite unmanned stores.

And he cites minimised downtime due to automated stock coverage, as well as better budgetary control as seriously useful improvements.

"Contrary to the view that workers might object to point-of-use vending machines, we find that hard-working staff respond positively to the idea of having the right parts in the right place at the right time – rather than wasting energy tracking down items themselves," states Goodwin.

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Propeller GB Ltd

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