A stock room should never look like an episode of Hoarders. These stock rooms lead to inefficiencies, unhappy workers and lots of horror stories. The worst nightmare of every inventory manager is a stock room with missing or wrong inventory. The solution to this nightmare is, of course, inventory management. Prioritizing organized inventory management keeps your facilities and warehouses running smoothly.
Inventory management has evolved rapidly over the years. What was once done with pencil and paper can now be controlled through software. CMMS vendors provide cloud-based inventory management so that the same information is available to every user. No matter where a user is, they can be sure they’re seeing accurate stock levels. The ability to do so has benefits far beyond simply knowing the quantity of your inventory items. Maintaining inventory control with CMMS software brings a higher level of oversight not possible before CMMS. Even better for businesses, these benefits extend to areas other than inventory.
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The biggest benefit CMMS inventory management provides is insights. Like most business software, CMMS tracks data over time. With this information, inventory managers can find patterns in their item use. For example, a warehouse manager may find that the order quantity of industrial light bulbs exceeds their usage. The manager can then stop ordering bulbs as frequently, reducing inventory costs. As Facilities Net explains: “Managers can identify parts that technicians use frequently, as well as parts they never use, and they can match parts with pieces of equipment on which they are used. With a little analysis, managers can establish maximum and minimum stock levels, reorder points and criticality.” The insights gained by inventory managers can be put to use in a variety of ways that make the facility more efficient. The following benefits are all gained from the insights a CMMS provides:
The insights from a CMMS help facilities plan for the long-term. Rather than turning inventory management into a constant game of guess-and-check, managers can turn to the data. Determining when to order items is an aspect of inventory management that can be difficult to master without data. This is especially true for big purchases, which shouldn’t be bought too early or too late. Looking at the CMMS data, inventory managers can identify the times when certain equipment commonly needs to be replaced. They can then order items just before they hit the reorder point, ensuring the inventory level never dips below.
Location Tracking and Item Transfer
Tracking item locations is one of the most powerful inventory management features of CMMS. CMMS software uses real-time inventory tracking to keep tabs on every piece of company inventory. Especially important for tracking equipment, real-time inventory tracking makes location transfers easy to manage. Rather than calling up several locations before finding the equipment they need, inventory managers can just look it up in their CMMS. They can then use it to place a work order for the transfer, which is sent to the other location. After the transfer is complete, the new location of the item is automatically updated, so that a different inventory manager can find the item when they need it.
Low Inventory Alerts
Remember what we said earlier about missing inventory being a manager’s worst nightmare? CMMS provides low inventory alerts to make sure this nightmare never occurs. Great inventory control means that your most important items never get too low. CMMS keeps track of both current inventory levels and your reorder point, so that when an item gets close to the reorder point, it gives you an alert. No longer do you have to keep an eagle eye on every piece of company inventory. CMMS does this for you so you can spend your time doing something more productive.
Decreased Equipment Downtime
Large facilities with lots of heavy equipment occasionally run into faulty equipment — it’s just the nature of the beast. The difference between efficient and inefficient facilities is how long the equipment is down. Quick repairs are necessary to run your facility effectively. But repairs can only happen quickly if the right parts are in stock and readily available. Many facilities run into the all-too-common problem of misplaced or out of stock parts that are critical to a repair. A CMMS details spare part information for equipment, so you know exactly what you need for your most critical assets. By keeping track of where these spare parts are and alerting you when stock levels get low, equipment downtime is drastically reduced.
Better budgeting is a result of several of the benefits above. By understanding the patterns of item usage, facilities know what to prepare for. They know just how many of each inventory item they normally use, and therefore how many they need to buy and when they need to buy them. Using this information, they know if they can fit additional expenses into their budget. Inventory managers can also use their CMMS to reduce the cost of rush orders. Facilities don’t have to rush order an item if they already have it in stock. Keeping track of the inventory levels of important items ensures that they’re always available, so when equipment breaks down, the manager doesn’t have to place a rush order to get it in quickly. Rather, they just check their CMMS and grab it from the stock room. In addition, a CMMS tracks item cost information so it’s all collected within the system for all users to access.
You undoubtedly know the benefits of great inventory management, but you get so much more when you use a CMMS to facilitate it. When used to its full potential, CMMS can turn any facility into a well-oiled machine (so to speak). It just takes some effort and the proper use of insights.