Alea Iacta Est. The Die is Cast

By George E. Krauter

February 02, 2017 at 12:47 PM

When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river, circa 49 BC, he stated, “Alea lacta est!” (“The die is cast!”) meaning there is no turning back; commitment is absolute. He started a civil war in Italia! 

It has always been a dilemma for me to understand why companies continue to operate their own MRO storerooms when lack of proper MRO management is a major cause of downtime, worker inefficiency and a drain on plant reliability levels.

Biochemical companies need security so they outsource security because they are not in the security business. Tire companies outsource maintenance because they make tires; their expertise is not plant maintenance so they hire experts to do it. Universities exist to teach; why throw money into an activity that loses money? And yet they remain in the MRO business and continue to lose money that could be recovered.

Over the years, I have contemplated many reasons why companies continue to operate and own internal hardware stores (aka MRO storerooms) when hardware store management is not their business. It seems to be: Inertia. “This is the way we have always done it.” “No time to consider change. (Time consumed by emergencies caused by poor storeroom performance—the vicious circle.)” “No one available to manage change.” “Management will not invest in MRO change; we just have to live with it!” “Truth be known, we really do not know how to change for the better or change to what?”

Well, after reading about Julius Caesar and the Rubicon, I have a new idea why there is the reluctance to get out of the MRO business: “If we fail, we can’t go back to the way it was.” “If we cross the MRO Rubicon, the die is cast; if we fail, all is lost.” “What if “it” does not work?” “Who will be blamed?” “Let’s stay where we are; it’s safer.” “Let’s not cause an MRO civil war revolution.”

I will admit that sometimes a change in MRO procedures and/or MRO suppliers will produce a “civil war” in the plant; however, if the change is implemented properly and measured to the advantage of all disciplines, there will be no MRO “war.” Satisfaction will prevail and, “Beneficiae Accessae,” aka benefits will accrue.

Caesar did cross the Rubicon; he defeated Pompey in Roma and when he defeated all opposition in Greece, Spain, and Egypt, he arrived in Syria and announced “Veni. Vidi. Vici.” “I came. I saw. I conquered.” 

If companies can acquire the will to cross the MRO Rubicon, they will come to the MRO “Storm Room;” they will see the opportunity; they will conquer the existing profit drain and realize reliable plant goals.

Wonder if Julius had a storeroom with slings, arrows, and catapult parts?

 



Tags: purchasing MRO indirect Supply chain management Procurement sourcing maintenance reliable plant
Category: Blog Post

George E. Krauter

user_avatar

George Krauter currently serves as Vice President for Synovos in Radnor, Pa. He is recognized as the originator of the concept that became known as “integrated supply.” He has participated as a guest speaker at Reliability 2.0, ISM Indirect Conference, International Maintenance Conference (IMC), The Conference Board, and events for APICS, SMRP, and ISM professional chapters. 

George is recognized as an authority on methods to achieve reliable, maintenance-connected MRO storerooms; he has published his experiences in Uptime Magazine, Food Manufacturing, My Purchasing Center, and Supply & Demand Chain Executive. He holds a B.A. and M.B.A.A. from Temple University (Philadelphia) and has conducted seminars internationally (Oslo, Abu Dhabi) as well as sessions at Duke University, MIT, Howard University, and Temple. He lives in Bucks County, Pa., with his wife Joyce; all grandkids live within eating distance. You may reach George by phone at 610-246-6492.



Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »


Related Content

Fleet Management: What are the Program Options?

Source One Management Services

Attention, fleet managers: Have you ever spent an entire week tracking down personal mileage from your drivers to calculate employee fringe benefits? Do you have any high risk drivers and would like to understand their driving patterns? Do you dread … Read More

Emotional Intelligence in Negotiations

Tom DePaoli

Purchasing and supply chain professionals must be aware of and strive to improve their emotional intelligence. A definition of emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control and express one's emotions and to handle interpersonal rela… Read More

Talent Management: Why Professional Development is So Important to Procurement

Guest Editor

Do we need to wait until technologies and automation address operational needs to free up the time for (paraphrasing Kraljic) Purchasing to become Procurement? The answer is “no.” Good Procurement – efficient and effective – for the foreseeable futur… Read More


Supplier Profiles

Staples

Staples Advantage is the one supplier that offers all the business solutions you need, all with the expertise of a specialty vendor. Read More

Digi-Key

It started in 1972 with an idea, a new concept in distribution. Today, Digi-Key Corporation is one of the fastest-growing electronic component distributors in the World. The stimulus for this growth is Digi-Key's customer-centered business philosophy… Read More

Lunney Advisory Group

Lunney Advisory Group was founded in 2007. Our firm is not your typical consulting company. Some members of our firm are highly qualified and experienced industry executives/practitioners while others are full time or adjunct university professors.… Read More


Webcasts

What CEOs Expect Of Purchasing

Guest Contributor

Procurement and supply management leaders have a seat at the table, and management’s expectations are high. But what do CEOs really want, and is purchasing delivering on these expectations? This webcast looks at how procurement and supply management … Read More

Growing Purchasing Influence On Indirect Spending

Guest Contributor

At world-class companies, purchasing’s influence touches just about every area of spending. But, how exactly do procurement teams get to the point where other departments approach them for help with sourcing such indirect categories as human resource… Read More

Procurement-Finance Collaboration

Guest Contributor

Procurement & finance are two business functions which are often at loggerheads with each other. One reason for this is the lack of perception alignment on an important metric of procurement and finance performance - 'savings'. Read More