A couple of weeks ago I ran a workshop on spare parts management for reliability and maintenance personnel. The attendees were a mix of tradesmen, engineers, and managers, covering both mechanical and electrical disciplines, from a large paper mill.
If you have ever worked in the area of maintenance you will know that some of these guys (and they are mostly guys) do not take too kindly to someone ‘messing with’ the spare parts that support the plant operations for which they are responsible. But this is precisely why this company asked me to provide specific training on the interaction of maintenance and spare parts management. (Plus as someone who spent his time in the hot seat of maintenance – along with the 3am phone calls – I understand where these guys are coming from.)
When any company introduces a comprehensive spare parts inventory optimization program (by comprehensive I mean a complete program that addresses policy and process as well as holdings optimization) it is usually the maintenance and reliability team that is last to come on board. This is because, in their minds, they have the most to lose if it all goes wrong.
Anyone who has seen me do this type of training knows that I like to involve the attendees rather than just lecture to them. It was in this spirit that, when I was demonstrating the application of a risk-based approach to determining spares holdings, one of the team members (let’s call him Joe) jumped up, holding a spare that he had brought with him (yes, really) and demanded that we apply the approach to that specific part. Having nothing to hide, I said ‘let’s do it’.
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