Many companies are fully aware of the importance of maintaining security around their spare parts inventories. They secure their spares in lock-up areas, ensure staff are on hand to manage the high levels of spares requests during the day shift period of highest maintenance activity, and provide a rock solid approach for identifying storeroom entrants during the afternoon and night shifts.
Then they leave the back door open!
There is often the belief that storeroom personnel can ‘police' all store entries but this is rarely the case. Diverted attention while taking deliveries, or managing enquires, or other legitimately required tasks, could mean that attention to demand is not there when needed. To then ‘make life easier' there is often a gate left open through which anyone can enter. While the efficiency in terms of supplying spares and minimizing downtime is obvious, could it be that this practice actually puts your reliability at risk?
Removing items from the storeroom without proper record, no matter how honest the intent, will not trigger reordering when required. What about returns to store? If spares are returned without quality inspection then you run the risk of having parts on the shelf that may fail when required. Storeroom control is more than just neat shelves and good labeling. Storeroom control requires efficiency in the processing of items, both into and out of the store, and control over access so that only quality parts are stored and all withdrawals recorded.
Phillip Slater is a leading authority on materials and spare parts management. He is a qualified engineer, an experienced operations and maintenance manager, a seasoned management consultant, and the author of four operations management books, including Smart Inventory Solutions, now in its second edition. www.PhillipSlater.com