3 MRO Software Tips for Finding the Best Materials Management Solution

Learn that selecting effective MRO software involves ensuring fast and dynamic results, integrating advanced technology with human expertise, and providing actionable decision support. Focusing on these aspects will drive significant improvements in managing MRO activities.
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Effective MRO is an essential part of facilitating smooth manufacturing processes and production continuity. Luckily, the days of managing all the necessary spare parts and MRO materials without the help of MRO inventory optimization software are long gone. 

Now, you’re left facing a different beast: picking the best MRO inventory software solution for your operations and procurement needs.

With so many options—each touting higher data collection volumes, more complex features to navigate, and elaborate implementation strategies—it can be hard to find a simple and effective MRO inventory optimization solution. So, what should you look for in the noise-filled world of MRO inventory management?

The Best MRO Inventory Software Stays Simple and Effective

The best solutions are those that actually get used; if an MRO tool doesn’t streamline your procurement and maintenance processes or adds unnecessary complexity, your organization won’t be inclined to adopt it in everyday operations. You want software that’s easy to learn, fits smoothly into your current workflow, and gives clear, actionable insights. This way, you can manage your inventory better, minimize unplanned downtime, and boost overall efficiency. Focus on quick adoption and visible positive impact to know you are getting the most out of your MRO inventory software supporting your business goals.

Look for fast and dynamic results

A good MRO materials management solution should be able to harmonize your existing inventory data with your MRO procurement initiatives from the get-go, not contribute to the noise of useless data visualization that offers no real actionability. Still, it should help you cut through the clutter of existing, and often disparate, information so that you can immediately use it to start making decisions. 

Long implementation times for complicated processes that require months of data cleansing and data governance without recommending new insights leave you saddled with additional problems that occurred during the waiting period or, worse yet, that arose out of your new “helpful” MRO data analysis. Your MRO inventory optimization software solutions need to be as adaptive as you are, continually using human action to make sense of the data to help you integrate advanced decision support, improve your manufacturing strategy, and reduce risks.

That means optimizing MRO inventory data across sites to catch imbalances on a location-to-location basis and couple it with robust findings. This allows you to keep your priorities current to continue solving problems rather than trade old ones out for new ones. Let’s evaluate this hypothetical situation to see what it looks like.

Suppose your initial goal is cutting costs, and you just so happen to identify significant expenses in excess manufacturing spare parts. It may seem intuitive to cut spending on redundant purchases and redistribute parts across plants, especially if you already have them overstocked or abundant duplicates. If your new manufacturing solution hasn’t found ways to review inventory data across sites, you may overlook different needs for the specific part across sites. 

Your older, high-volume plant may need more frequent repairs than your new one, but the parts are all housed in your new, smooth-running plant.  A system that doesn’t capture dynamic changes may fail to consider upstream planning in conjunction with cost cutting. Simply being down for a few hours because of delayed maintenance can lead to severe costs that could have been avoided with upstream planning. 

MRO inventory optimization software can be full of robust and dynamic problems that require robust and dynamic problem-solving. It can’t happen piecemeal; a slow and haphazard process ultimately keeps you from seeing results. Solid MRO inventory optimization solutions keep nitty-gritty details in mind while recommending action items so minor issues don’t wreak havoc on operations. 

Trading out one problem to solve another quickly doesn’t get you fast results; it just creates a new problem.

Effective Synergy Between Tech and Your Workforce

There is growing consensus that data collection leads to better results. However, more data is not always a good thing, especially when nothing is done with it to drive improvement. According to data science consultant Michael Grogan, “More data is not better if much of that data is irrelevant to what you are trying to predict.” 

It’s essential to determine the relevance of MRO inventory data and filter it using analytic approaches to help solve problems. However, manually performing analytics on an organization’s worth of collected inventory data is overwhelming, prone to human error, and, quite frankly, unscalable. This is why traditional data cleansing and governance projects fall flat on promised results.

Outdated data analysis methods that leverage traditional tech might automate data sorting processes, but the reporting doesn’t adapt to new information or couple with complex goals. Nor do traditional systems have the ability to make sense of your data in its current state.This becomes especially complicated if disparate MRO inventory data across facilities makes it impossible to make sense of the collected information. On the other hand, artificial intelligence and machine learning can help solve complex problems while making sense of large datasets without needing to cleanse the data beforehand. 

Your MRO tools and materials intelligence solutions should possess the capabilities of this new technology, making sense of data quickly and delivering applicable findings. That means you can cut through the data noise, quickly identify patterns, and, best of all, produce reporting that people can understand. Harmonizing your MRO inventory data is as much about collecting information from multiple sources as it is about making it useful for various stakeholders across maintenance and procurement teams.  

Actionable decision support

Efficient MRO inventory optimization software reports out and helps you consider your next best move. From spending to procurement, your investment in MRO inventory software should translate to visible ROI in the form of saved time, money, and resources. A useful MRO inventory optimization tool finds trends in spending and inventory consumption to optimize inventory and helps make intelligent choices about MRO procurement needs moving forward. 

Predictive analysis uses existing data to generate valuable insights, accounting for supplier insights and other metrics to help target specific savings opportunities for each spend category. Businesses can use this information to establish spending thresholds to minimize maverick spending. 

Your MRO inventory optimization software should propose solutions that are both doable and effective, using your unique spending, inventory usage, and procurement history to suggest the best approaches. 

How small steps make big changes

Start by addressing key areas such as MRO inventory data harmonization and technology integration. Gradually introduce features that enhance efficiency and support actionable decision-making. From optimizing MRO inventory data management to leveraging AI for better insights, each action builds towards a more effective MRO procurement system. Though seemingly minor, these incremental changes accumulate over time, driving significant enhancements in maintenance management and operational success.

Forecast Needs With Accuracy

Advanced analytics make upstream planning easy and tailored to your production needs. Following trends in material use, inventory stock, and spending data allows you to make informed decisions about when to beef up inventory or reduce overages to minimize expenses. It keeps spending where it’s needed and ensures that procurement happens at the right time so that you can cut the guessing out of supply strategies.

Forecasting needs also means making the most of existing resources to avoid waste, duplicate spending, or outdated purchases. Running these processes with automated software frees up time to optimize other moving parts of your operation. Reliable and adaptive data models save your team’s budget from unnecessary costs and establish a solid groundwork for scaling up.

Centralize data and decision making

Geographic separation is a common excuse for differences in data collection across sites. It results in a collection of uncentralized and often duplicate MRO inventory data. Disparate and outdated systems create siloed data rife with inefficiencies and offer minimal valuable insight into operations.

SaaS solutions centralize data into a single, customizable platform designed to eliminate data silos, offering a holistic overview of the entire supply ecosystem rather than a keyhole view of a subset of it. With access to real-time and accurate data, stakeholders can monitor the lifecycle of their production through every stage of the process. Then, they can make sense of granular-level data that can be compared across sites. 

With end-to-end MRO inventory data visibility, you can identify issues well before they manifest fully, avoiding bottlenecks in production and downtime. Machine learning algorithms illuminate the most pressing pain points in your MRO inventory management system and suggest the best next steps to resolve them on a micro and macro level. 

Find a solution that works with MRO providers

Harmonizing MRO inventory data should be easy. While some MRO inventory optimization solutions tout “real results” from complex systems with multiple layers, they can be challenging to navigate and generate convoluted results. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The right MRO inventory optimization software should streamline your procurement process and unlock the potential of your supply chain by providing features such as real-time visibility, advanced analytics, risk mitigation, and more. Skip the slow-to-implement and difficult-to-manage software and opt for a fast, simple, and configurable approach. Embrace the purpose-built solutions designed to optimize your MRO materials and spare parts while delivering sustainable results time and again. 

To learn more about balancing efficiency and responsiveness through MRO material management software, download the ebook on optimizing Your MRO inventory strategy today.

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