Book Review

Managing Maintenance Storerooms
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Managing Maintenance Storerooms

By: Michael V. Brown

Paperback: 264 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6
Published by: Audel
Publication Date: August 2004
ISBN: 076455767X


  • Chapter 1 - Maintenance Materials Management
  • Chapter 2 - Storeroom Layout and Stocking Methods
  • Chapter 3 - Inventory and Control Procedures
  • Chapter 4 - Storeroom and Inventory Control Improvements
  • Chapter 5 - Storeroom Measurements
  • Chapter 6 - Computerized Inventory Management Systems
  • Chapter 7 - Purchasing for the Storeroom
  • Appendix A - Item Description Examples
  • Appendix B - Maintenance Storeroom Policy and Procedures
  • Appendix C - Skill Requirements for Storekeepers
  • Appendix D - Unit Abbreviations

Our Review

This compact book is based on the training material developed and delivered by New Standard Institute, of which Michael Brown is a founder, and President. Accordingly, it has a very practical, down-to-earth feel about it, and there is plenty of ideas and tips that can be quickly implemented. There are some important, more recent developments in Stores and Inventory Management that are not covered here - but for those organisations looking to establish solid control over their maintenance stores, this book is an ideal starting point, and reference.

The book starts with little preamble or waffle - we are straight into a solid exposition of Maintenance Materials Management principles right from Page 1. The first chapter examines the principle objectives of sound inventory management:

  • Balancing Quality and Price
  • Purchasing the correct quantity of materials
  • Receving materials at the optimum time

Chapter 1 also covers concepts surrounding MRO supplies, and has tips on storeroom management. Of particular note in this chapter is a discussion of the benefits and justification for having a controlled storeroom - something larger organizations take for granted, but smaller organizations sometimes have difficulty in justifying.

Chapter 2 discusses the praciticallities of laying out a Maintenance Store. The choice of site, the amount of space required, and suggested stores layouts are all included in this chapter. One small improvement in this section would be to include discussion of the possible need for a dedicated area for storage of repairable items that are to be dispatched offsite for repairs. In my experience, unless there is a dedicated area for storage of these items (and a clear tagging system to identify parts to be repaired), then there is potential for non-repaired items to be replaced on stock shelves in error. The use of mezzanines, alternative lighting sources, and different racking configurations are all discussed in a highly effective and practical manner in this chapter.

Chapter 3 discussed inventory and control procedures. Perpetual Inventory, Cycle Counts and Annual Inventory control methods are discussed, together with the key features of each. Stores Requistion Forms are illustrated, and the features required of a stores catalog are also discussed. There is extensive discussion of item numbering and naming conventions, however no reference is made to any current standards that exist in this area (such as NATO or Auslang conventions). This chapter also discusses methods for determining Minimum, Safety Stock, and Reorder Quantities, as well as the concepts of Reorder Quantity and Economic Order Quantity. However all of this discussion assumes constant, or normally distributed demand rates for inventory items. In reality, in most organizations that have sound Predictive and Preventive Maintenance programs, as well as solid Maintenance Planning and Scheduling processes, the demand for maintenance materials can be predicted at least some time ahead of the date that they are required - this is the fundamental principle behind MRP, Just In Time and ERP systems. This chapter does not consider how this may impact on these theoretically calculated Min/Max/EOQs, although it is discussed to some extent in Chapter 4. The chapter also considers inventory costing methods (such as First In, Last Out, and First In, First Out methods). There is only rudimentary discussion regarding how best to handle the cost of large capitalised spare parts, and the costs of repairable items.

Chapter 4 moves on to improvement considerations, including how to shorten lead times, supplier relationships, reducing stores inventory, bar coding, and Electronic Data Interchange. The use of Consignment Stock as a cost reduction method is also discussed. Inventory reduction through the identification of obsolete stock (and using Bills of Materials to try to identify this obsolete stock) is discussed in some detail. However the use of computerised tools to analyse past usage history, and adjust stock levels accordingly, is not discussed. Bar coding is discussed in extensive detail, including identification of alternative scanning tools, and bar code standards. RF identification is also briefly discussed. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) gets a small section, but most of this has now been superseded by internet technologies and B2B e-commerce.

Chapter 5 discusses a range of performance measures that can be used to assess Maintenance Storeroom performance, and also discusses ABC and XYZ analysis.

Chapter 6 is a brief discussion of the use of computers to assist with Inventory Management and purchasing. The basics are covered well here - and this chapter is written in such a way that it will remain relevant, despite the constant advances in Information Technology.

Chapter 7 discusses several areas of interest when purchasing maintenance materials. There is extensive discussion of the legal implication of placing purchase orders, and discussion of the impact of various (US) purchasing laws is also covered. Warranties are discussed briefly. Shipping and Transportation considerations (and who pays the cost of these) is given solid coverage.

Finally, the Appendices provide more detailed information for reference purposes. I would imagine that a number of organisations would find the sample Maintenance Storeroom Policy and Procdures to be particularly valuable.

In summary, this is a solid, pracitcal book, that would be valuable for Maintenance Stores Supervisors, and those seeking to establish sound Maintenance Stores and Inventory Management procedures. It covers the foundations of establishing effective control over Maintenance Spare Parts inventories very well - but those who already have this in place, and who are looking for the next step to optimise their maintenance stores operations may find little in this book to spark their imaginations..

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