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Storeroom & Spare Parts - What good looks like - part 3

by Angel Custodio

Part 3 Storeroom Operation

In part 1 we covered what information we should keep (master data) and maintain. In Part 2 we went over how the parts should be organized in the storeroom. After getting these two right now it’s time to see what operations are taking place inside our storerooms. The basic operations are:


  1. Parts issuing
  2. Parts Receiving
  3. Parts return

Let’s see what good looks in these processes.

1. Parts issuing (dispatch)

This process is how maintenance or other departments evaluate our storerooms. In other words “Is the part available when I need it?” Parts issue at the storeroom should be for emergency or scheduled break-in work orders. A part kitting process (explained in a later article) where parts are identified and reserved in advance is best practice.

We can have the best in class storeroom; however, if the process of obtaining the part is a journey, the storeroom is ineffective. The issuing or part dispatch process is influence by:

  • Size of store
  • Store organization
  • Accuracy of your equipment part list or BOM’s
  • Searching capabilities of the CMMS
  • Knowledge of personnel

What good looks like is to have a store room in which it is organized properly, parts can be searched online in a catalogue or CMMS, and all of this done in a 4 – 8 minute range for small parts and 20 – 30 minutes for large items. 

2. Parts receiving

Receiving parts in the storeroom is not only about checking amounts received vs. amount ordered. What good looks in receiving should include:

  • Visually inspecting part for condition and/or damage (box condition, parts wrapping)
  • Checking parts catalogue number vs. purchase order information.
  • Verifying stamped manufacturer and mfg. part number against part master data
  • Verifying part location is appropriate. Examples:
    • Large and heavy parts are placed on lower shelves
    • Electronic boards being kept in their electrostatic bags and stored in an area free of airborne dust.
    • Bearings stored properly

Best practice in receiving includes a quality inspection that includes verification of part specification, metallurgy, review of vendor certification sheets if required and others. It should include checking if needed to be part in a PM program

3. Parts return (after issued)

This process needs to be clearly identified. I have been in plants where stores are managed by purchasing and there is a storeroom policy that parts cannot be returned. Usually, this policy comes after what I call a “let’s see if this one works” work habit of trades. Parts will be removed from the store without any evaluation and/or investigation if it is the correct part. This has to be corrected at all levels from trades to supervisors. 

What good looks like is a parts return process in place with the amount of transactions is a minimum. This will reduce your annual inventory $$ spent, improve the company cash flow and reduce the storage cost.

We’ll discuss additional storeroom operations in future articles, these include:

  1. Parts repair and return
  2. Cycle count
  3. Parts kitting
  4. Parts PM
  5. Parts quality program

If you need a Spares/Materials Management/Storeroom Best practice assessment or need training in Reliability Based Materials and Spare Parts Management, give us a call or email us today.  Feel free to contact me at with questions or comments.