Research Paper Discovers Black Hole in Factory Stores

Posted by  Julia Mullar 23-Nov-2015 00:00:00

A long time ERIKS Integrated Solutions professional with many successful MRO supply chain transformations under her belt.

ERIKS-IET-Stores-SurveyThis black hole sucks in  parts, people and cash – many of them never to be seen again. It distorts space and time: taking up valuable floor space that could be put to better use, and making 13 minutes disappear forever whenever a new part has to be searched for.

There’s one in every factory, but they have never been properly explored. Until now.

Now a major survey by ERIKS and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has looked deep into the black hole that is the factory stores, and made some discoveries that every business should know about. 

Chaos Theory

Nowadays, most factory floors are lean and efficient. In fact in the UK they are some of the leanest and most efficient in the world. But just a short walk away, stepping into the stores can be like stepping into a parallel universe of chaos, waste, unnecessary cost and lack of accountability.

And thanks to this latest research paper from ERIKS and the IET, that description isn’t based on hearsay or exaggerated rumour. It comes from the answers to an extensive internet-based questionnaire, which surveyed IET member companies with over 150 engineers, maintenance and storeroom personnel, across a variety of industry sectors, during July and August 2015.

Those results have now been analysed and collated into the ERIKS’ research paper: Factory stores – manufacturing’s necessary evil.

Millions Spent – or Wasted?

Every year, UK industry spends millions of pounds on indirect stock for manufacturing processes. But how much of the money – spent on everything from simple tools to pumps, drives and motors – is a necessary cost of doing business, how much is wasted through storeroom inefficiencies, and how much could be saved through better stores management?

The ERIKS’ research paper looks into the problem and offers solutions, examining topics such as:

Storeroom management
  • Operational responsibility
  • Stock value
  • Store management systems
Day-to-day running
  • Ordering
  • Restocking
  • Access
  • Obsolescence
  • Vending, and much more

Including verbatim quotes from people who deal with stores every day – from both sides of the counter – the paper shows that there’s a real demand to make stores more proactive, more efficient, and better aligned with the rest of the organisation.

After all, there’s a growing realisation that stores are not simply places to store parts. They can also help to increase productivity through realising efficiencies, help to reduce costs through more effective purchasing – and ultimately can even be changed from a cost centre to a profit centre.

If that sounds too good to be true, in two revealing case studies the research paper also looks at what real businesses have achieved in their own stores, with the help of the ERIKS Storeroom Solutions Team

Insight, in Seconds

The ERIKS / IET survey provides a real insight into the state of UK industry’s stores. It also begins to suggest ways to make them more efficient and more cost-effective, and to help them play their part in supporting the wider business.

It took several months to gather, analyse and collate the information. But you can download it now, for free.

ERIKS / IET Research Paper

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