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Storeroom & Spare Parts - What good looks like

by Angel Custodio

Part 1 of 8

This is the 1st of an 8 part series of articles by Angel Custodio, IDCON Senior Consultant, focused around best practices in Reliability Based Spare Parts and Materials Management. 

 Our spare parts stores are usually the area with more opportunities regarding reliability operation. What does good looks like? What elements are needed? How can we change our stores towards these best practices?

Several elements are taken in consideration:

  1. Master Data
  2. Storeroom Organization
  3. Storeroom Operation
  4. Inventory Control
  5. Quality Program
  6. PM program
  7. Reports, KPI’s and Data analysis
  8. Inventory Optimization

Spare parts can be defined as a duplicate or interchangeable part used for the repair or replacement of failed or worn parts. Additionally, we can say that the parts function is to sit on a shelf, or have it easily accessible, so it is available when needed.

For this first article we are going to look at Master data and what is needed for best practices

1. Master data – We look at what information is available. This includes:

  1. Meaningful description – We recommend the following naming convention: Noun, modifier 1, modifier 2… The limits are usually the size of the CMMS field that holds the description. 

  2. During a recent assignment, I was working with a CMMS where the parts description had 255 characters! This was a dream. We were able to populate the description with meaningful information, all that we wanted.

    The goal of any part description is to be able to identify a needed part in the system or report, WITHOUT going to additional screens.

  3. Manufacturer & manufacturer part number– The best practice is to have the correct information. These two fields are extremely important when restocking based on inventory levels. What is the correct information? It is when you can purchase the part in an open market without problems or looking for additional information. This information is usually stamped on the part or identified in the box or original packaging. 

    The parts and the equipment manufacturer are not the same. Sometimes the equipment manufacturer places his part identification number in exploded views, manuals and part list. When this happens, we end up with an incorrect part manufacturer and part number, buying it from an equipment manufacturer and paying more for it. It is fair to mention that sometimes equipment manufacturers will have typical parts modified (base, mounting, etc.). This is not common but happens.

  4. Specifications – Includes tolerances, materials, hardness, length, etc. This is particularly important in regulated industries where the term “Like for Like” is predominant.  This is a key element when considering a parts quality program; we’ll talk about this in detail in article #5.

  5. Primary vendor and vendor part number – This is usually who I’d buy this item from. Parts specifications are needed especially when challenged from purchasing regarding a selected vendor. If a vendor can provide the part WITH the same specifications at a lower cost, well, let’s buy it from him.


The key behind the element of Master data and best practices is to be able to quickly identify and get the exact parts you need at a price that purchasing can live with. Need help with your Materials and Spare Parts Management?  Feel free to contact me at  or join us for our next Materials and Spare Parts Open Training Course.