By Martin Supply •
Improve Spare Part Reliability for Increased Machine Uptime with Better Storeroom Management
Maintenance planning with preventative and predictive maintenance scheduling are critical for high-level production output. Without it, your production line runs the risk of unplanned and costly downtime.
Improving machine uptime remains one of the biggest challenges companies face when trying to increase production, but having the right spare part is only one piece of the puzzle. Companies looking to achieve optimum production must consider the reliability of spare parts as well as their spare part storage program, potential supply chain constraints and data system integrity.
How to Optimize Spare Parts for Reliability and Reduced Downtime
Manufacturers purchase equipment to provide a certain level of output. These machines can cost thousands, if not millions of dollars, and unscheduled downtime can be devastating to the operation.
The fact is, machines and their wearable components break down and idle machines are lost revenue. When a machine fails, the impact to production is immediate and that broken component must be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. When it comes to timely repair, critical spare parts must be on hand when they are needed. Additionally, organizations must have clear criteria established to determine other spares needed to support your business.
Pitfalls of Poor Spare Parts Storage and Management
Not only must you have an adequate supply on hand, but the parts themselves must also be reliable as well. The quality of the spare parts sitting on your shelf is dependent on how they are transported, stored, dispersed and installed. Failure to ‘care for your spares’ can lead to spare part failure, additional machine downtime, higher operational costs and loss of revenue.
To avoid mishandling the storage of spare parts, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the part exposed to extreme heat or cold?
- Is the part exposed to dust, debris or contaminants?
- Is the part exposed to corrosive elements like moisture, humidity or saltwater?
- Is the part exposed to vibration or movement?
- Is the part stored in the proper position?
- Is the part subject to damage during transport?
It doesn’t end there. You’ll want to ask yourself how long those spares have been in inventory. Every part has a lifespan and the longer it remains on the shelf, the higher the probability of failure.
In the recent past, inefficient parts management was more of a nuisance than a crisis. If equipment broke down unexpectedly the warehouse manager could order an emergency part and expect a relatively quick turnaround. But today’s supply chain inefficiencies and shortages are creating order backlogs and delayed shipping, meaning your machine could remain offline far longer than anticipated. Couple that with expensive spot buys and expedited delivery charges and potential profitability takes a hit.
What’s more, when equipment goes down, the productivity of the plant goes with it. If equipment stays idle, businesses often have to make difficult decisions to lay off or furlough employees. This can be a devastating blow to the long-term success of the business and its workforce.
Proper Storage Impacts Spare Part Reliability and Your Preventative Maintenance Program
Regular inspections and maintenance tasks keep equipment in top running condition and detect potential component issues before failure occurs. But to have an effective preventative maintenance program, you need reliable parts on hand. Heat, moisture, vibration and contamination can all degrade the reliability of your spares. To best way to protect them is through the proper labeling and storage of spare parts.
Below are some examples of proper storage techniques:
Use anti-static bags for safe storage and handling of sensitive electronics and components. Anti-static bags prevent buildup of static electricity, protecting spare parts from damage during transport and storage.
Rotate Spare Parts Regularly
Rotate motor shafts and other components according to manufacturer recommendations to maintain the integrity of the bearings.
Heavy-duty storage cabinets are an ideal solution for storing spare parts and tools away from sunlight, moisture and dust. Storage cabinets are available in overhead cabinets, cabinet drawer accessories and roll-out tray cabinets for customized storage capabilities.
Dust Control Drawers
Even in the cleanest of workspaces dust can create built-up residue that compromises spare part reliability. Dust control drawers are an ideal choice for dust-free spare parts storage.
Most spare parts have an ideal storage temperature ranging between 59-77°F and require protection from sunlight, UV light, moisture or ozone sources. Temperature and environmentally controlled spaces can extend the life and reliability of spare parts.
Shelving and Racks
Racks or shelving is an ideal storage solution for spare parts like replacement belts. Belts, like conveyor belts, should be stored in a controlled area in protective packaging. If possible, store the belt roll on a tube, rack or support stand away from humidity and sunlight and rotate often. Rubber parts are especially vulnerable to degradation from environmental factors.
Over time, vibration from nearby machinery or traffic can cause damage to parts and equipment. Rubber-padded mats can absorb repetitive vibrations, reducing the effects of vibration and impact on your spares.
By implementing proper storage in your spare part reliability program, you can experience:
- Higher overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
- Fewer emergency purchase orders
- Increased capacity
- Higher production output
Data Integrity Must Be A Foundational Element in Critical Spares Inventory
To maintain an effective spare parts program, data integrity is also important. Make sure the data associated with each part is in a format that is searchable, consistent and provides all the necessary information required to restock the right parts. This can be challenging in organizations that do not have standard operating procedures for information entered into their parts database. World-class organizations use the following best practices to ensure clean data is maintained:
- Using consistent nomenclature to describe the part
- Including manufacturer name
- Including manufacturer part number
- Asset tagging for each spare part
- Including shelf-life information
Following these basic protocols not only improves the maintenance and reliability of your production line but can also help you recoup investments. Spare parts should be tagged with the asset they are used with. These asset numbers can help businesses track specific inventory if a machine or equipment is replaced. Then, associated assets can be bundled with the equipment for higher resale value.
Data can also be used to monitor the behavior of critical assets and track equipment failures to identify the optimal stock levels required for each asset.
Implement 5S in Storeroom Management for Inventory Integrity
Spare part reliability goes beyond proactive preventative maintenance and data systems integrity. If your storeroom is disorganized, your spare parts program will suffer.
To improve the organization of your storeroom, consider implementing a lean workplace program like 5S. The methodology for 5S includes five phases known as Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. Bringing organization to your storeroom ensures every part is labeled and placed where it belongs. Aside from a clean and orderly storeroom, you can experience:
- Reduction in the time workers spend searching for parts
- Reduction in unnecessary spend on missing inventory items
- Reduction in waste
- Better communication
- Optimized productivity
Storeroom Reset for Better Maintenance and Reliability of Spare Parts
Want to increase efficiency in your operation but don’t know where to start? We offer custom-tailored solutions for your maintenance and reliability needs. Our storeroom reset program can help you transform your current storeroom into one that is well-organized and efficient allowing your maintenance organization to ensure your assets have the spare parts needed to continue operations. We can help you increase plant productivity, free up working capital, improve maintenance productivity and gain greater visibility into material usage.
Learn More About Martin Supply Storeroom Reset. Watch Now: Martin Supply Storeroom Reset
Call 800-828-8116 to speak with your Martin Supply representative and Set up a No-Cost Consultative Assessment
At Martin Supply, we understand your operation depends on reliable access to the right parts at the right time. Excess or obsolete inventory ties up cash flow that could be spent elsewhere in the business. Let our experts assess your current state operations and create a tailored solution for your storeroom management.