July 28, 2011

Lessons from Nan’s pantry – why labelling ‘jars’ could help manufacturers save millions, a letter to the editor

I fondly remember my Nan’s pantry as a highly organised place, filled with neatly stacked and labelled jars. I’m often reminded of this, when I visit manufacturers, in my role as a maintenance or inventory management specialist. However, it’s not always the high levels of organisation that make me reminisce; in fact it’s often the opposite.  

I’ve often turned up on site to help a customer with a breakdown, only to find a host of spares out of their antistatic packaging and a confused client, not knowing whether or not the parts are functional.
Good inventory management solves this problem and gives maintenance teams confidence when replacing faulty gear. It also increases their ability to resolve equipment failures and reduces unnecessary downtime whilst increasing production performance. However, manufacturers can eliminate excess inventory from their books, and thus get better return on net assets, by not purchasing the inventory until it’s needed. Methods of achieving this include Just in Time (JIT) inventory management, sometimes referred to as the Toyota Production System. Keeping its ‘pantry’ in order in this way could save UK manufacturing millions.

John Mitchell
Business development manager

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July 22, 2011

Maintenance specialist launches bespoke inventory evaluation service

~ New offering helps manufacturers make use of their assets and reduce capital expenditure ~ 

Field service and maintenance specialist CP Automation has launched an inventory evaluation service for UK manufacturers. The system represents a solution to warehousing problems, providing engineering managers with a report on the condition and quantity of shelved spares. The system can help cut costs by reducing waste and giving manufacturers the option to manage their assets more efficiently. 

Inventory Evaluation Service can significantly reduce capital expenditure
Managing a warehouse, as well as keeping a firm grip on the associated manufacturing processes, isn’t an easy task. Furthermore, because they are rarely the top priority for most manufacturing directors, spare parts and standby equipment are usually forgotten on a dusty shelf until the next application failure.

Not knowing whether spares are fully functional can lead to costly additional downtime and increased maintenance expense. As a result, correctly testing and labelling working equipment as it goes into storage is crucial.

CP Automation’s new solution ensures that critical inventory is tested and returned to the shelf ready to go. “Our Inventory Evaluation Service gives maintenance teams confidence when replacing faulty gear and increases their ability to investigate equipment failures,” explained John Mitchell, business development manager at CP Automation. “Furthermore, new parts can also be sourced on request, while broken ones can be repaired.” 

The system has already been successfully tested by companies ranging from blue chip manufacturers to smaller, specialist businesses. In all instances, the evaluation service aims to help when budgets and engineer’s time are stretched to the limit. 

“Knowing that the part is ready to go into your application when needed is crucial for both maintenance and production teams,” continued Mitchell. “The savings made this way can be significant.  Furthermore, to compliment this, our workshops are fully equipped to rapidly identify faults and component failures”, he concluded.

The Inventory Evaluation Service can also be used to successfully scrap an entire line or large quantities of obsolete parts. The CP Automation evaluation team will assess the parts and, if required, dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way and in accordance with regulations such as WEEE (The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive).

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