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The Importance of Keeping Critical Spare Parts

May 3rd, 2020

Last updated: October 7th, 2022

Many of the production facilities we deal with at Robinsons Facilities Services operate on a 24/7 basis and therefore their budgets are built on the principle of continuous running and the expected output that produces. Efficiency is therefore critical, and downtime – or even running below 100% efficiency – can be very costly.

Machinery and equipment are assets to these organisations and asset protection is a fundamental principle that guides many management decisions. A major aspect of maintaining these assets is managing spare parts.

What are Spare Parts?

These are consumable or replaceable items that are critical to a machine’s operation and can be sourced and replaced quickly. A good maintenance programme is crucial to managing efficiencies and reducing downtime, and a planned preventive maintenance (PPM) schedule is standard practice in most organisations of this type. However, breakdowns can still occur on an unforeseen or unplanned basis. This could be for a variety of reasons, but in such cases, your knowledge of these machines should lead to a good inventory of spare parts being built up.

Why are Spare Parts Important?

Quickly being able to replace spare parts and get a machine running again reduces downtime and means deadlines and quotas can be met, machine utilisation can be maintained and energy usage is more regular. This in turn means that budgets can be met and the whole operation of the facility is more manageable.

How Should You Manage a Spare Parts Inventory?

Most production facilities can’t carry too many spare parts on site, because they can be a financial and an organisational burden to an SME. You may be able to justify carrying one or two valuable spare parts and a good inventory of smaller but critical spare parts – such as bearings, belts, motors and fans etc, but for many spare parts you need a trusted, reliable and convenient supplier who you can call on 24/7 to source and replace spare parts as quickly as possible. Many businesses rely on these suppliers 100% and carry no spare parts at all, and that is certainly possible if you can partner with and build a relationship with a professional supplier such as Robinsons Facilities Services.

Maintenance departments need to be organised and have a recorded inventory of which spare parts are needed for each machine, what stocks you have on site and where they can be found. Your PPM contractor will be able to help you with that in terms of recording and managing this inventory. Those items that can’t be kept on site need to be sourced externally, and similar records need to be kept for those, ie. their cost, their source and their typical availability.

Lean manufacturing techniques and budgetary constraints mean that many companies don’t carry a huge inventory of spare parts, so it is a balance between how quickly you can get hold of spare parts and how critical they are to the machine’s running. Some short term machinery downtime may be manageable, and less important than others, for example.

Supply Chain Management

We believe it’s important to build a reliable, trusted support network that helps us to manage our spare parts availability. We are a Prompt Payment Code member and we are proud to support suppliers and subcontractors throughout Yorkshire.

How Robinsons Facilities Services Can Help with Your Spare Parts Inventory

It is important to build a good relationship with suppliers and your PPM contractor and have a good knowledge of what spare parts are on-site, what spare parts are available quickly (ie. overnight or same day) and what may take longer. This should help you build a manageable inventory to reduce downtime, ie. what do you need on site all the time (and which can be replaced as a spare part consumable when it is used), what can you source within 24 hours and doesn’t need to be kept on site and what can you justify keeping on site cost-wise on a ‘just-in-case’ basis.

The aim isn’t to have zero inventory of spare parts, but it needs to be minimal, manageable and justifiable. Key to this is partnering with a contractor who has knowledge of your machines and can source spare parts quickly. At Robinsons Facilities Services, we carry spare parts for boilers in our vans and have a network of trusted suppliers across the Yorkshire region who we can utilise to keep you running. Our established reputation means we know what you need, and you can rely on us to have these stocks ready for when you need them.

Contact us today and we can help you manage your critical spare parts.

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