by Bryan Christiansen
Ask any facility manager what they like most about their jobs and chances are they’ll tell you that no two days are the same. From Monday to Friday or even on weekends, there is always something new.
But if you take the conversation a little further to ask about the challenges they face, then you’ll probably hear maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) quite often. And they’re right. MRO is all about the nitty-gritty details that you won’t notice until something goes wrong.
The good news is that despite the challenges, savvy facility managers have already cracked the code of good MRO management. Here are some principles they use.
Get Savvy with Technology to Map out Asset Lifecycle
MRO management should always keep in mind the five main stages of an asset’s life: procurement, deployment, utilization, maintenance, and disposal. By mapping out an asset’s lifecycle, savvy facility managers ensure that whichever asset they decide to procure will give them the longest service value, with minimal preventative maintenance, until its final disposal.
Assets don’t last forever; at some point in time, bolts become loose, paint fades, walls crack, and the list goes on. These changes are part of the asset’s lifecycle, so knowing what to expect lowers the chances of being taken off-guard. Moreover, using inventory management software and/or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a great way to track the usage of MRO items and make accurate forecasts for the next quarter.
This mitigates risks and puts you in a better position to negotiate pricing for parts and supplies instead of losing leverage and paying for emergency shipping when something goes wrong.
Revisit Supplier Loyalty Every Six months
It’s easy to get comfortable with one supplier or service provider. And why not? After many years of contracting their services, they’ve become your go-to solution for parts and other supplies to keep your facility running. But are you getting the best deal, and if not, is it time to take your business elsewhere? The only way to answer these two questions is to compare their services with other companies.
Making it a habit to revisit supplier loyalty every six months allows you to flag concerns before they spiral out of control. Supplier checks and balances will also ensure that you are always a step ahead with the MRO features suitable for your facility. It also allows you to see where your supplier stands in the supply chain- are they a middle agent, and if so, would it be more advantageous to contract directly with their supplier?
Focus on Price, Cost, and Value
Price, cost, and value may seem like the same thing, but they are worlds apart. To clarify the difference, it is worth remembering that you always strive for added value at a competitive price to lower the overall costs associated with an asset or item throughout its entire lifecycle. That said, getting the cheapest MRO items is not a part of good MRO management; getting the most competitive MRO items with added value is.
Again, a CMMS system comes in handy in this aspect. With it, you can easily compare MRO items and implement better cost management across all facility management levels without compromising quality. It allows you to track spare parts usage and turnover which can point the quality of the MRO items you are purchasing.
As with all strategic activities, good MRO management depends on good analytics and the ability to look at the big picture.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS.