Do You See What We See?

Published April 29, 2015

George Krauter and I spent the better part of the last two weeks traveling back and forth across the country, visiting with industry professionals, attending trade shows and conferences – getting our regular fix on how others perceive the role of the MRO storeroom in plant operations. We’re about to hit the road again for still another perspective.

One thing is clear in our discussions with these procurement, supply chain, maintenance and reliability professionals is that little has changed. As George often says – “I’ve been doing this for 50 years and haven’t made a dent in it.” But it’s not for lack of trying, or for that matter, a lack of recognition.

Many of those we meet know they have issues with their MRO storerooms. Too many parts. Wrong parts. Obsolete parts and equipment. Bad data. Outdated technology. No tracking. Staffing issues. Well, you get the picture…

So what’s holding those companies back from making the change? We’ve learned that many recognize the challenges they face with MRO storeroom management, but they fail to connect that challenge to real value – i.e., the cost of downtime or failed equipment, the cost of walk about time searching for a part, the cost of sometimes hundreds of transactions. And so on.

In general, people fall in three basic categories when it comes to MRO.

  1. Those who recognize the value and are willing to work to initiate change
  2. Those who identify the challenge, vocalize their displeasure but take no action, instead opting to tolerate existing conditions
  3. Those oblivious to their surroundings, unaware of the MRO opportunity and who never think about change

Which one are you?