Subject Area: 6 Common Mistakes Spare Parts Managers Make
Spare parts managers are perfect, right?
If only that were true.
Over the years I have met and worked with literally thousands of people engaged in spare parts inventory management.
Repeatedly I see the same mistakes made over and over again.
Here are six of the most common mistakes that spare parts managers make.
How many are you guilty of?
- Don’t train in spare parts management
- No plan to improve
- No targets
- Don’t connect internally or externally
- Over complicate things
- Don’t refresh their know-how
This is far and away the most common error. People assume that all inventory has the same characteristics and that what works for one type of inventory will work for every type of inventory. This could not be further from the truth.
The reality is that the spare parts that are held in-house for servicing a company’s own plant and equipment have very different characteristics to other forms of inventory.
Not understanding this leads to all the problems that companies experience: too much stock and not enough of what they need.
For many spare parts managers it seems that spare parts management is only about transaction management. There is no plan to improve the mix of inventory to overcome the ‘too much stock and not enough’ problem mentioned above.
If there is no plan, then why have targets? These two ideas follow each other. Put another way, if there is no target then any result will do. It is hard to be criticized for outcomes if there is no target.
It is also hard to implement continuous improvement. Targets are critical to achieving top level results.
Far too often spare parts management occurs in a management silo. It is perceived to be a stand-alone function that needs little or no interaction with other departments. This is a consequence of the ‘transaction management’ mind set.
But spare parts managers are not great at networking externally either. These days there are lots of ways that people can connect with, and learn from, others and yet not enough people take advantage of these resources.
If you are engaged in spare parts management, you should join our group on LinkedIn. Use this link.
When you boil things down, spare parts management is captured by the expression: simple but not easy. It is simple because we know what’s required to do a good job. It’s not easy because executing the simple things usually requires a degree of discipline.
Too many people seem to operate from the premise that spare parts management is simple but complex. It’s not. The requirements for best practice results are well known and simple to apply. Perhaps people complicate things because it otherwise seems too simple, not technical enough.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall every detail of every training course I ever did. Maybe some people can but not me. The problem is that all activities have some nuance in both design and execution (even the simple ones). When someone completes a training course and then a year or two later need to apply that learning, there is a high probability that some of that nuance has been lost.
This is one reason why professional organizations always require that their members undertake continuing professional development. If it is good enough for engineers, accountants, supply chain managers, and other professionals, then it should be a requirement for spare parts management professionals.
For information on our Pro Level membership please visit our Pro Level page.
Posted by: Phillip Slater