A pharmaceutical manufacturer tackles repair part inventory issues in their MRO storeroom using an ActivRAC mobile system.
It’s a story all too familiar to maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) employees: A piece of machinery in your production line breaks down. You’re sure you have the necessary repair parts on-hand, but you can’t seem to find them in your MRO storeroom. The longer you search, the longer the downtime for the machine. Production is getting behind so in the interest of time, you decide to pay extra to rush order new repair parts, plus a couple extras to prevent the issue from happening in the future. While waiting for the items to arrive, you stumble upon the parts you needed. Not only has time been wasted, but now money has been lost due to missed production and redundant inventory.
Major MRO inventory issues like this are common, but the issue isn’t typically with the employees – it’s with the storage system. Aveva Drug Delivery Systems, a transdermal delivery system manufacturer in Florida faced similar issues with their MRO inventory management.
“We had over 10,000 part numbers we needed visibility on. With ActivRAC, we are able to find a place for everything critical to the operation and quickly service the needs of each department.”
-Stephen Zakovsky, Inventory Specialist at Aveva DDS
Slow-moving parts like those used for MRO often pose a challenge for inventory managers. Learn more about managing slow-moving inventory in our white paper.
At Aveva, parts needed for equipment maintenance were being stored throughout individual departments in the 117,000 square foot facility. Within each department, the packed shelves made it difficult to locate needed parts and perform visual inspections. If a part was needed in one department and it wasn’t in the local storage area, the employee had to either reorder or search through other departments’ storerooms until they located the part. With over 10,000 unique parts in storage, it’s no surprise that the system was creating unnecessary downtime in production and pulling employees away from their day-to-day responsibilities.
Accurately tracking inventory under the old system was nearly impossible for Aveva. Duplicate parts were often purchased mistakenly or unnecessarily, but because they were spread throughout different departments, these purchases sometimes weren’t added to inventory counts. The inventory issues created more duplicate purchases, as well as unexpected stock-outs that led to longer machinery downtime. Without any security measures in place in MRO storerooms, many parts – some very expensive – were left vulnerable to damage, theft, or misplacement.
The size of Aveva’s production facilities. Parts were scattered throughout different departments, making parts retrieval a lengthy process.
Stephen Zakovsky, an Inventory Specialist at Aveva, saw the need for centralized MRO storage and contacted the nearest authorized Spacesaver distributor in Florida. Zakovsky originally considered horizontal carousel shelving like they’d used in the past, but Spacesaver representatives recommended installing an ActivRAC system with shelves, cabinets, and drawers mounted on mobile carriages. This system saved enough space to put parts from all departments in a convenient, central location. With the simple turn of a wheel on the end of the shelves, the aisle slides open to provide easy access to inventory.
Upon hearing about Aveva’s security concerns, lockable drawers and controls were suggested to limit access to certain compacted rows. The area was controlled and organized by a single employee to provide greater security and efficiently support the picking operations of the MRO storeroom. Easy visual inspection, organized shelving, and an electronic MRO inventory management system streamlined the process. Duplicate part purchases have been all but eliminated, saving a significant amount of money and space. Now employees can focus on their production and repair responsibilities rather than hunting down parts.
“We had over 10,000 part numbers we needed visibility on. With ActivRAC, we are able to find a place for everything critical to the operation and quickly service the needs of each department,” said Zakovsky.