Business Simplification: MRO is a Good Place to Start

By George E. Krauter

May 03, 2018 at 8:20 AM

Companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs; simplification of business procedures can have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. The process of purchasing, receiving and paying for MRO parts produces 80 percent of a firm’s processing costs while only accounting for six to ten percent of their total dollars purchased.

Although dot-com companies offer programs that purport to reduce the MRO burden and simplify the process, too many times the burden is actually shifted for other departments to bear and does not produce the savings projected for the company.

Consider the existing MRO supply chain from the manufacturer all the way to the engineer who consumes the part. Let’s use an automobile V-Belt manufacturer as an example.

First, the belt manufacturer receives orders from their authorized distributors, they ship the belt orders to regional warehouses maintained by these distributors. (Note:  With some exceptions, the orders are not shipped to local distributor points). Second, the regional warehouses process incoming shipments and await orders to authorize shipments to their local distribution points. Third, the local distributors assume the burden of receiving inventory, processing incoming orders from their clients, shipping the belts and then creating invoices for the belts delivered. Fourth, the client who consumes the belts now has to duplicate the process once again to account for receipts, matching purchase orders to invoices and issuing payments.

BUT WAIT! Fifth is the movement of the belts to the client’s MRO storeroom requiring more processing costs to receive the parts into inventory and then control an audit trail when the belts are issued to the mechanic who will finally put the belts on the company’s asset.

There are five…count ‘em… five duplications of process activity for MRO; as stated, this is 80 percent of a company’s burden for six to ten percent of purchased value.

Let’s take a closer look at a typical MRO scenario: For example, to calculate the amount of paperwork and/or entry data activity, consider a mean average MRO purchase order of $500.00 (this includes orders for stock as well as those for spot buys… non-inventory MRO requirements). A typical P.O. set contains five copies (maybe more?}, the packing slip has three, the receipt has five to match the P.O., the invoice has five, and don’t forget the payment to the supplier to satisfy the invoice for the belts received. This amounts to 20 pieces of paper…20 activities of burden.

BUT WAIT! The average MRO P.O. will generate at least two shipments to satisfy the order…so add another receipt/ invoice activity to produce another nine for a total of 29 functions to control the P.O. audit cycle just at the user’s level. Combining activities can cut down on functions, but if you add all the other burden activities performed by the other members of the supply chain for replacement of inventory in the MRO storeroom and for spot buys, you have upwards of 50 functions per P.O. placed.

There has to be a better way.  Business simplification is essential and can be a significant contributor to corporate net profit.

THE ANSWER?   Study and understand the movement of parts through the existing MRO supply chain from the manufacturer through to the various distribution activities and finally to how parts are moved/controlled to points of consumption in the plant.  Recognize the audit requirements of each member in the chain and take action to eliminate the duplications. If an MRO consuming company was vertically integrated, they would certainly recognize these duplicated functions and take action to eliminate/streamline them. Too many times companies do not recognize the benefits that can accrue from business simplification; they just continue on with the status quo.

There are companies who partner with MRO providers that have solved this dilemma and continue to produce sustained savings. Take time to consider methods to optimize your MRO supply chain burden via a business simplification plan that fits your particular MRO situation. It will pay off.

Tags: MRO MRO efficiency MRO simplification MRO parts MRO process
Category: Blog Post

George E. Krauter


George Krauter, former founder and president of Industrial Systems Assoc. [I.S.A.] has retired as vice president of Synovos.

Currently, he has initiated, "George Krauter Consulting [GKC]"  for effective reliability and cost recovery for consumers  of MRO materials. George is a recognized authority on the management of the MRO supply chain and support for maintenance reliability programs. His book, "OUTSOURCING MRO...FINDING A BETTER WAY" is available from Amazon and from Reliability

He is published in Uptime, Modern Distribution Management, and Supply and Demand Chain Executive. George has conducted seminars across North America, in Europe, and in the U.A.R. as well as a guest speaker at Temple U., Howard U., Duke, and MIT.

George is a graduate of Temple University; he lives with his wife, Joyce, in Bucks County, PA. All grand kids live within eating distance. He can be reached anytime:

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