MRO stands for Maintenance, Repair, and Operations. Therefore, MRO inventory includes all parts, tools, and equipment needed on a daily basis, from protective gloves to forklifts.


All MRO inventory is essential to make repairs, perform scheduled maintenance tasks, and ensure the normal operation of the facility. However, inventory management is not always seen as a strategic point to control total maintenance costs.


Despite this, optimising MRO inventory allows you to increase productivity, decrease downtime, and streamline day-to-day operations. All these benefits contribute to reducing maintenance costs without having to cut essential tasks or lay off staff. According to some studies, you can even reduce spendings by 5 to 30% 


Learn all the benefits of optimising your MRO inventory and how this is reflected in your total maintenance costs:


Eliminates unnecessary downtime

Breakdowns are always costly. So, one way to reduce maintenance costs is to keep downtime to a minimum. If you have an organised inventory, you don’t have to leave a task pending, waiting for the right parts to arrive. Not only does this cut downtime, it avoids having to travel to the breakdown site again (another waste), or even having to pass the information on to a technician when the parts arrive.


Avoid wasted parts

Did you know that latex gloves have a three-year shelf life? And nitrile gloves last five? If you leave some materials stored for too long, they will lose their properties. On the other hand, there are sometimes parts that can deteriorate because they are not stored in the right conditions. So, managing your MRO inventory helps you to better control expiry dates and avoid wasting the parts you have in stock.


Improve purchasing forecasting

Knowing exactly what you have available in the warehouse eliminates overstocking. But another huge benefit of organising MRO inventory is preventing understocking. Over time, the data allows you to predict trends (is there a time of year when breakdowns are more frequent, for example? Which parts do you need to order based on MTBF?). This enables you to better plan purchases.


Optimise logistics

Another advantage of monitoring inventory is that you can associate a cost to the part, understand where the parts needed for each work order are located, analyse how far technicians have to travel to pick up parts or tools, and whether bills of materials are realistic. You can then use that data to optimise logistics and increase productivity. Plus, with a centralised log, you can confirm stock and location at a glance.


Analyse your inventory costs

As you gain control over your inventory, you can evaluate supplier performance, estimate average delivery times, have more time to compare prices, and better deal with supply chain disruptions. You may even find that you can reduce the number of suppliers. All of this enables you to better manage your MRO spend and, ultimately, reduce maintenance costs.


But how to optimise MRO inventory?


The benefits are indisputable. Now, all that remains is to understand how you can optimise your MRO inventory. Here, you only have one solution left: use technology to your advantage. First, you need to centralise inventory, so you know exactly what each department is using. Next, you need to keep the database up to date.


Step 1: Centralise your MRO inventory


Create a database of all the materials you use for maintenance, equipment repair, and daily operations. It is important that the inventory encompasses all departments and even includes the “little things” that you will consume without realising. This way you will:


  • avoid buying duplicate materials (for example, cleaning materials or personal protection equipment);
  • understand which parts are similar or compatible (to reduce the number of things you need to order);
  • identify materials that are no longer needed (because of equipment that is either under-used or to be replaced);
  • save time on messages and phone calls to find out whether you have a particular part in stock or not;
  • control even the smallest purchases that are not always included in the MRO (for example, detergents, ink cartridges, reams of paper);
  • decide if you can channel more purchases to one supplier in order to get quantity pricing.


Step 2: keep the MRO inventory up to date

Finally, keeping the inventory up to date is the best way to organise the MRO and be able to substantially reduce operational costs. If you associate materials with each work order, you’ll automatically deduct inventory and have an up-to-date count of everything you need. Another way to keep your inventory updated is to scan every single part before you take it out of the warehouse. Either way you will:


  • always know what parts are available and where they are stored;
  • understand the useful life of each part or piece of equipment;
  • predict trends based on daily spend and scheduled jobs;
  • order stock before it reaches critical levels;
  • avoid ordering parts you still have in stock;
  • better manage all costs associated with inventory.


Managing your maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) inventory better has many advantages. Not only do you achieve immediate savings by better forecasting purchases and avoiding unnecessary expenses, but you also gain in productivity. As such, there are direct and indirect savings in inventory optimisation.


If you need a maintenance management software that allows you to better manage your inventory, schedule a demo with one of our experts.