MRO Insights to Keep In Mind as You Search for Food and Beverage Improvement Opportunities


The food and beverage industry certainly took a hard hit from the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the lingering effects of the global pandemic were just the start. 

The raw material shortage caused by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, stubborn inflation, and labor challenges are just a few of the disruptions that market leaders had to face in a post-pandemic world—and it seems there are many more on the horizon. Manufacturers have accepted the reality that the current supply chain landscape is one of nearly continuous disruption that occurs with little to no warning. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at how market leaders can implement strategic MRO sourcing techniques to ensure that their supply chains are resilient, even in the face of uncertainty.

Strategies that can help make operations less wasteful and more efficient

Use an airtight materials management system

Insight into the availability of MRO and spare parts inventory levels is crucial when it comes to staying ahead. Excess stockholding translates to unnecessary expenses and inefficiently used capital that would have otherwise been invested elsewhere.

Management teams should be able to review inventory data and answer questions like:

  • Is there sufficient stock of replacement parts available?
  • When will maintenance stock arrive according to maintenance plans? 
  • What alternate sourcing strategies are in place in the event of delays?
  • Can we quickly find parts at other plants to minimize unplanned outages?
  • Is there any evidence of indirect spending?

Answering these questions can help managers prevent overstocking, reduce waste, and prevent lost revenue lengthy downtimes. 

Another area of concern is understocking, which can lead to production downtime. If parts are replaced only when a technical malfunction occurs, this significantly reduces the lifespan of assets. 

Since many businesses implement a scheduled maintenance program to maintain and prolong asset health, it’s necessary to constantly monitor their MRO levels so they always have an adequate amount of replacement parts at their disposal while ensuring wasted spend doesn’t occur.. 

Increase visibility across your operation 

One of the most significant challenges food and beverage supply chains face is limited operational visibility. As operations and procurement become increasingly complex, it can be easy for information around existing materials to get lost. 

This can lead to operational inefficiencies that seem inconsequential until they spiral into larger downtime events that cost operations significant expenses in time, resources, and capital. This is why food and beverage operations need a high-level understanding of the end-to-end process in their MRO strategy. It makes it possible to practice preventative maintenance approaches rather than reactive ones. 

Not only this, but it can help teams maintain compliance, keep SOPs efficient, and reduce operational waste and downtime.

Doing this may not be easy, as it will require a robust strategy that can help teams account for vendor delays, potential maintenance challenges, and existing procurement strategies. Developing an approach this intricate and detailed is not possible to implement or maintain with traditional and outdated manual methods. 

MRO solutions that can help make inventory management a breeze

Network visibility with cloud-based solutions

Many food and beverage manufacturers make the mistake of relying on limited legacy systems in a digital era. Not only are these systems unintuitive, but they are also incapable of adapting to rapidly evolving supply chain landscapes. Plus, these systems make it nearly impossible to harmonize data and significantly increase the chances of data silos that impact an operation’s bottom line. 

Investing in a cloud-based solution makes it simple to centralize data collection for harmonizing data from all departments, sub-units, and branches into a single hub that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Standardized data collection minimizes duplicated data and quickly processes information with natural language processing and machine learning to offer meaningful insights. 

This keeps procurement and operations teams out of the dark, making it possible to more effectively collaborate and reduce operational inefficiencies. It simplifies management processes, compliance reporting, and preventative maintenance, all in one easy-to-adopt system. 

Actionable insights that keep operations moving 

Traditional optimization approaches may have included the help of consultancies and multi-step systems. These approaches, however, are inefficient and can lead to increased vulnerabilities due to their phased implementation approaches. 

A truly optimized system should be able to build on top of what works, identify pain points, and keep operations moving while improving. 

A smarter approach is to invest in cutting-edge technology that’s backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning. These Industry 4.0 tools use powerful AI models to crunch millions of data points and use relevant past data to simulate future trends. This way, managers can make data-driven decisions instead of just taking a shot in the dark.

For instance, AI and ML can analyze previous occurrences of production downtime to assess asset health and determine potential future failures. That way, managers can order replacement parts before disruptions even occur. This maximizes asset life span and minimizes unplanned production downtime. 

Stay one step ahead with intelligent materials management

Recent disruptions shed light on the fragility of food and beverage supply chains. To survive in an increasingly uncertain supply chain landscape, businesses can either cross their fingers and hope for the best or take a proactive approach toward procurement. 

Leveraging MRO management software can equip supply chains with the resilience required to face any challenge head-on while staying ahead of the curve. Learn how organizations can improve their vendor consolidation strategies through intelligent indirect materials management.

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