Overcoming the Obstacles to Improved MRO

By George E. Krauter

April 11, 2018 at 8:03 AM

In the world of MRO operations, even with multiple attempts to change, improve, increase reliability, the status quo in most plants seems to prevail.

When plant management recognizes that the proper supply of needed MRO materials is critical to the reliability of assets and, as such, critical to production performance, there are continual attempts to change.

Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying, “I have not failed, I just have found 10,000 ways it will not work”.  In other words, if applied to today’s business world, management tries multiple implementation change procedures that do not work, and status quo prevails in the end.

Why has this emerged as the rule of thumb?    Below are some real-life objections to MRO change that contribute to the lack of a successful MRO turn around.

There are times when these objections are voiced and times when they are left unsaid; either way, they can be insidious and be an obstacle to progress.

  • Stores improvement projects are assigned as an adjunct with no specific job assignment. Therefore, a proper level of effort is missing because a sense of priority is lacking.
  • Basic resistance to change: “This is the way we have always done it; why change anything?”
  • Fear of the unknown: “If I agree to the change improvement plan, and it fails, I will I be blamed? Will it be a blemish on my record?” “How do we know it will work?”
  • The entrenched supplier base: “If we outsource to a single supplier, how will we explain it to our existing suppliers who we’ve known for so long?”.
  • Lack of knowledge: “What would we change to?”  “How would we implement?” “Who knows how to do it?”
  • Timing and priorities: “There is no time to plan change (many times due to time consumed solving MRO problems) and no time to properly implement the change.
  • Financial considerations: “There are no dollars allocated for ‘MRO improvements’. There are no such assignments in any budgets”.
  • And finally, from management; resignation: “MRO is what it is; put up with it, stop complaining, and go finish your assignment”.

It is a proven fact that when improvement programs are implemented by the plant, the benefits are short-lived and not sustained. It matters not which discipline tries to implement the improvements, sustainability is not maintained because MRO operations are not a sole function assigned to a management professional. Rather, the MRO management function is assigned to individuals who maintain job functions with much higher priorities. This is the main reason many companies do not obtain all of the potential values that can be realized from MRO change opportunities.

Tags: MRO efficiency MRO materials MRO operatoins MRO change
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 Web.com.

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:   georgekrauter@comcast.net.

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