Should You Change Your Wayward MRO / Indirect Ways? SSI’s Recent MRO / Indirect Survey Says Yes

Published September 9, 2014

As in all generations, we have seen huge changes in the world around us. The continued development of the product of television, the phenomena of computer abilities, the vast information from smart phones available from anywhere you happen to be [even Dick Tracey’s wrist phone is a reality] are just a few wonderful changes we are experiencing with many more to come.

How do these “things” come about; how do they happen? They are conceived of, developed by, and put into utilization by highly intelligent individuals who are not afraid to change. “If this is good, what is better”…..”How can we change our product [our process] to improve our position in the market?” In better words: “How can we improve what we produce that will enhance the quality of life [happiness] for those who use or would use the products we offer to our market.”

These individuals recognize and act to insure that the products they produce and market are reliable so they are purchased repetitively and priced competitively. These actions require applications of lean concepts and reliability programs in the manufacturing process meaning that, if any function in the flow of production contains waste or represents a deterrent to market salability, it is CHANGED!!!  The change mind focus is critical in order for the company to continue to produce its products with optimum reliability at desired R.O.I. levels.

Now look at the situation existing in the real world of MRO storeroom management. SSI conducted a recent survey of MRO / Indirect Materials and published those results in the white paper: The State of MRO / Indirect Materials Management: Measuring Performance of MRO Storeroom Operations.

More than 200 individuals responded to the survey. Their roles spanned procurement, IT, and operations, and they came from all levels of responsibilities, from the C-suite down to buyers and maintenance managers. The industries represented included automotive, education, food & beverage, pharmaceutical and medical, pulp and paper and others. Company size ranged from under 100 employees to more than 1,000.

Here are the results of the information collected and conclusions determined:

  • More than half of those surveyed confirmed that their MRO / Indirect storeroom frequently causes downtime or reliability issues
  • 63% are not involved in their site’s operational excellence strategy
  • A lack of inventory tracking prevails
  • A lack of maintenance planning resulting in downtime and reliability issues exists
  • There is a major disconnect among the storeroom, purchasing, and engineering functions
  • Technology is underutilized or non-existent
  • Nearly 52% have no maintenance planning system to ensure spare parts availability

The results clearly show that no matter how sophisticated, pristine, or “state of the art”-minded, over 50% of the companies surveyed “put up” with a situation that detracts from the substantial investments made in product innovation and reliability programs. They do not “put up” with any detraction in their reliability processes…if detractions exist/occur, they change it! Why is there little change in the MRO storeroom process? If you are a manager, do you put up with this kind of a situation in your manufacturing process? Why would you put up with deterrents in your supply requirements for a reliable plant?

MRO storeroom management is generally not within the program agenda structures of Lean, Reliability Maintenance, and MUDA considerations.

The general attitude is ignore, endure, procure [our own]. Companies simply “walk by” the stores situation without recognizing the value that can be/needs to be released from MRO change…..plant personnel are not trained to create a world class stores operation; it is not within their core competency. Since storeroom management is not in their field of concentration or expertise, the situation continues to exist.

The need to change is proven to be critical to the advancement of our economy. Change thinking must be applied to every function within the process in order to reach optimum effectiveness. Although it may seem mundane when viewed from total productivity considerations, a world class MRO stores operation qualifies for high-priority classification when the need to change is evaluated.

If there is any question as to why time and money should be allocated to improving MRO operations [more emphatically…. A CHANGE to WORLD CLASS], just look to SSI’s recent white paper: The State of MRO / Indirect Materials Management: Measuring Performance of MRO Storeroom Operations – to see the need for action.

For more detail on achieving World Class Storeroom Operations, contact Dan Brennan at

Download the complimentary white paper.