The following case-study reports how MIPU has developed and managed a project of spare parts warehouse optimization and re-organization for its customer. The aim of this project was to solve difficulties such as mess, scarce availability of materials and delays in the maintenance service activities.
The client followed by MIPU in this project is an international company that works in the pharmaceutical industry. This company owns production plants with an internal maintenance service, which relies on the spare parts warehouse and inventory of the factory.
The necessity of our client was to reorganize the storage activity with the purpose of reducing the costs of the spare parts warehouse and optimizing its daily management.
The main problem that brought the client to contact MIPU and require a consulting was the poor spare parts and inventory management. This was causing some problematic situations in spare parts availability and delays in the daily maintenance service.
This absence of organization was creating also other significant problems in our customer’s warehouse: poor cleaning, mess and ambiguity. The latter was connected to the existence of the same spare parts codified differently and consequently stored incorrectly within the shelves.
Therefore, our customer asked for a complete warehouse reorganization in order to gain control and optimize the warehouse management. The activity started with the codification of every spare part and the identification of its correct placement. The goal was the warehouse optimization in every single aspect.
Eventually, the project led to the installation of a tool for the spare parts warehouse automation.
At the beginning, MIPU applied the project just to one plant. Then, thanks to the trainings, our client has been able to repeat the same project in the other sites, independently.
The workflow adopted to reorganize and optimize the spare parts warehouse has included several steps. The first step was the collection of information and technical documentation. In the next step, we defined functional clusters. At last, in cooperation with the customer, we have selected the clusters to consider during the first implementation phase.
SPARE PARTS WAREHOUSE REORGANIZATION AND OPTIMIZATION PROJECT: 5 STEPS
The operational part of the project provided 5 fundamental steps:
- 1. Categorization of electrical and mechanical spare parts within the warehouse
- 2. Spare parts coding within the maintenance management software
- 3. Items creation in the WMS (Warehouse Management System) software and following labelling of the actual items
- 4. Compartments creation in the UDC drawers and items matching.
- 5. Items insertion inside the automatic warehouse.
THE CODING PHASE
The coding phases are the most important phases for the project. It is essential to define every code in a unique way and extend the number of codified items.
In fact, according to a first count, about 82% of the electrical components inside the spare parts warehouse were not mapped into the spare parts warehouse management software. This coding phase has resulted in 586 new items added to the “electrical” category only.
The implementation of coded items within the software has been the first step of the digitalisation project of the spare parts warehouse management. Every item has been labelled and, at the same time, dedicated compartments in the UDC drawers have been created. Each article has been matched to a specific compartment using the software in order to optimize picking operations from an operative and spatial point of view.
The remaining spare parts (bearings for example) has been organised in dedicated shelves, according to a warehouse layout that makes picking operations easier.
SPARE PARTS WAREHOUSE AND INVENTORY OPTIMIZATION PROJECT: IMPROVEMENTS ACHIEVED
With the help of the solutions proposed by MIPU, our customer has achieved the following results:
- – Precise knowledge of the items stored in the spare parts warehouse and their lying.
- – Movements traceability (deliveries and picking).
- – Knowledge of the stock.
- – Items codification improvement and consequent ease of individuation.
- – Huge reduction of picking times.
Each point in the list lead to an important improvement in plant reliability. In fact, a better spare parts warehouse organization and management can cut the waste of time related to maintenance. More availability and more reliability mean increase of production.