Agilix Solutions | Products & Services

Strategies for Managing your Inventory of Critical Machine Spare Parts

If you work in manufacturing or on a commercial jobsite, you’ve likely found yourself in the middle of a project when you realized that you don’t have the spare parts on hand to get the job done. You’re stuck. You’re facing costly downtime while you track down and secure what you need. The project is delayed, and there may even be a ripple effect, causing delays in other areas. That’s why it’s so important to have a spare parts inventory management system in place to ensure that you have the appropriate level of critical spares available.

You’re not alone in figuring out how to best manage your spare parts inventory.  Agilix Solutions is here to support you with our streamlined inventory processes. Let’s look at how we develop a plan to meet your needs and explore the various options that can help keep your projects on track.

Understand Your Machine Spare Parts Inventory Weakness

The first step to preventing downtime due to lack of spare parts is to have a clear understanding of any weak links in your inventory chain. To identify your weak links, we start by asking the following questions. Have you ever:

    1. Suffered downtime due to a missing part?
    2. Had to pull parts off one machine to use on another machine in need?
    3. Paid extra to have a critical part shipped overnight?
    4. Thought you had the spare part in stock, but realize that the part is defective or outdated?
    5. Used grey markets such as eBay or other online marketplaces to purchase a critical spare part?

Some of the above situations are quite costly, while others can cause safety issues in your facility. We then go on to explore our customers’ situations a little more deeply:

    1. Do you have and accurate plant model that identifies all of the physical assets in your plant? You should go line by line and know all products, status and condition of each.
    2. Do you have an updated complete bill of materials for your critical assets? It is important to fully understand and continually update a list of materials and assets.
    3. Do you know which spare parts in your inventory are still being manufactured? Take time to understand the status of your critical spares.
    4. Do you know which spare parts have been announced for discontinuation or are already discontinued?
    5. Do you have the right spare parts if a critical machine goes down?
    6. Do you have an efficient and accurate process for managing and maintaining storeroom inventory?

Ultimately, we find that only 20% of clients can answer yes to these questions. In our experience, we’ve found that if a customer cannot answer two or more of these questions with a resounding “yes,” it’s a good idea to reach out for spare parts inventory management help from the Agilix Solutions team.

Know Your Product Availability

The likelihood of you having everything you need on a shelf in-house is very small. If you want to prevent scrambling for a critical spare part, you must have a solid understanding of your product availability.

Step One:

Start by taking a complete inventory of your parts and where they lie in the tech cycle. It is essential to know if a spare part is active or mature.

Step Two:

Know where your parts are and create a product availability spectrum. Is the part:

    • On your shelf
    • On an Agilix Solutions shelf
    • At a manufacturer’s warehouse
    • In production
    • Made to order
    • Difficult to get quickly because of a long lead time to manufacture or import
    • Pending obsolescence
    • Obsolete

Having a clear picture of where parts are, where they can be obtained, and how readily available they are will help you build a plan for efficiently managing your spare parts inventory.

How Agilix Solutions Can Help You Manage Your Machine Spare Parts Inventory

As we mentioned earlier in this article, you don’t have to tackle spare parts inventory management on your own. Agilix Solutions offers a variety of tools and programs that can help you get a better understanding of your inventory, product availability, and how to best manage your stock – whether that’s in-house, or with Agilix Solutions or one of our manufacturer partners.

Rockwell Automation Online Product Lifecycle Status Page

Our partners at Rockwell Automation offer a free tool which allows you to type in any part number and immediately learn the availability and status of the part you’re looking for. The Online Product Lifecycle Status Page helps you identify the lifecycle stage of any product you may need from their extensive catalog.

Inventory Assurance – A Comprehensive Testing Service

This Rockwell service directly addresses the status of the products on your shelf. Agilix Solutions sends any part to Rockwell for a flat $300 fee for comprehensive testing. If the product passes the test, it will be returned to you with a new one-year warranty. If the product fails the test, Rockwell will waive the fee and apply it to the cost of a new part. For parts with a cost of less than $300, the difference is returned to you. All new parts come with a new one-year warranty and the assurance that the product is both functioning and safe.

Installed Base Evaluation (IBE)

The Installed Base Evaluation is the most powerful tool offered to industrial and manufacturing facilities by Agilix Solutions. Through the IBE process, we’ll accomplish the following for your facility:

    • Identify product life cycle status of all parts on the production floor and the storeroom
    • Catalog obsolescent spare parts and dead inventory
    • Identify shortages and excesses of spare parts
    • Develop migration and conversion priorities
    • Create a baseline for determining a strategic management program

An IBE can reduce annual carrying costs and streamline your inventory. More importantly it allows you to have what you need, at the appropriate stock levels (not too few and not too many), and to know that what you have on hand is current and can be used when needed. An IBE completed by Agilix Solutions allows you to tackle the daunting task of managing spare parts inventory and does not interfere with production time.

Parts Management Agreement (PMA)

This vendor-managed inventory service from our partners at Rockwell automation gives you ready access to the parts you need to efficiently and effectively run your facility. You can benefit from this program in a variety of ways:

    • Put critical spare parts on your shelf, owned by Rockwell, and off your books. This means that there are NO carrying costs.
    • Adjust and optimize your critical spares with a Flexible Inventory to match the needs of your facility. Use the PMA as a tool to guard against obsolescence and waste as you add, subtract and upgrade your factory floor.  You can also utilize the PMA to systematically reduce your owned inventory.
    • Receive a one-year, in-service warranty on all parts. The warranty begins when you put the spare parts in service.
    • Save money. Replenishment parts are remanufactured by Rockwell Automation – this offers a great cost savings versus purchasing new parts.

Do not let another year go by unaware of what you have on hand, or even worse: throwing money away due to carrying costs or obsolete parts. Your Agilix Solutions Account Manager can provide additional details on these programs and get you started on the right path to saving time and money through enhanced spare parts inventory management, or, contact us today with any questions you may have.