The Secret to Controlling Your Cost of Maintenance, Pt. 2: “But inventory’s hard.”


In a recent blog, I shared the secret to controlling your cost of maintenance, which boils down to understanding this simple equation:

The cost of maintenance equals the cost of labor plus the cost of parts to do the job. (CM = Labor + Parts)

Some of my readers had a similar reaction to Jerry, the MPulse customer featured in that article, who told me, “Steve, I love your perspective. But you and I both know, inventory management is a big can of worms.”

I understand Jerry’s point. Perhaps no issue in maintenance management is more frustrating than inventory control management. I call it, “The Great Denial,” because many maintenance managers don’t even want to talk about it.

But here’s another secret to controlling your cost of maintenance—you can get your fastest return on investment (ROI) by implementing inventory control management. Yep. You read that right. If you ignore inventory control management, you are denying yourself the fastest way to find real savings for your organization.

The key? Finding the type of inventory system that works for your organization, and using the power of your CMMS to implement it.

Start with the Basics

Let’s assume for a moment that your organization doesn’t do any inventory control management. Your maintenance techs simply order the parts they need when they need them. Maybe they even buy an extra one, which usually sits on the shelf, forgotten and unused. Hey, you aren’t alone. Lots of organizations have worked that way for decades.

If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s time to start with the basics—which means using CMMS to create simple records of inventory items that let you to track and report on consumption of those items. That’s it! You’ve just started an internal inventory control management system. Congratulations!

As easy as that sounds, CMMS software can make it even easier with barcodes and scanners. Scan the part. Scan the asset. That’s how long it takes to link inventory to a new or existing work order record. This system also lets you enter inventory items as they arrive and automatically track who is performing work.

Even the Basics Offer Big Benefits

Now I’m the first to admit that this is inventory control management at its most basic. But even with these simple workflows, your organization will save time and eliminate errors by reducing tedious data entry. Plus, your team will be able to identify needed parts faster, and you’ll save money by reducing inventory shrinkage and bloat.

Are you already implementing basic inventory control management with CMMS? Then you’ll want to read my next post with even more secrets to controlling the cost of maintenance.