Why manufacturers should centralize inventory management

4 minutes

In manufacturing, where—and how—your parts or supplies are stored can be the difference between costly downtime or a smoothly running business.

Ranging from casual practices to structured methodologies, inventory management in manufacturing has many looks: highly organized and tracked through a system, somewhat organized but could be better, chaotic, or even non-existent.

Without a system in place, one of the most common issues is a reliance on hidden inventory, where items are stashed away without proper tracking, leading to time-consuming searches, expensive overnight shipping, and administrative fees associated with frequent purchases. Manufacturing organizations need a comprehensive solution to optimize inventory control, manage maintenance processes, and minimize downtime to improve operations.

Today, we’re exploring how an asset management solution with built-in inventory management capabilities can help manufacturers get a handle on everything from inventory room organization to efficient stock tracking—without ever leaving your preferred platform.

Why is managing manufacturing inventory so tricky?

Manufacturers typically have a lot of assets to manage. When you tack on inventory to that list, it can feel like even more.

The scope of inventory can vary widely, from raw materials and essential parts to consumables required for day-to-day operations. An absence of a dedicated inventory control solution means parts and supplies are tracked on paper or worse, in somebody’s head. So what happens when they forget where they put the part or move on to another job? That’s why a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), complete with inventory management, is a must for manufacturers looking to optimize their operations.

How to centralize inventory management for better decision-making

These days, it can feel like everything is more expensive than ever before (probably because it is). In the face of inflation, supply chain disruptions, and other rising costs, effectively managing inventory can be the key to maintaining production continuity and reducing or eliminating prolonged and costly equipment downtime. A CMMS can offer manufacturers real-time visibility across sites, enable seamless sharing of inventory, and expedite emergency requisitions from one, easy-to-use location.

3 simple steps to help transition to more effective inventory control

Leveraging your CMMS for inventory can feel daunting, but simply starting might be the hardest part! For manufacturers looking to transition from inefficient inventory practices, we recommend a systematic approach:

  1. Start by tracking essential items and unique part numbers.
  2. Capture supplier information, lead times, and cost details.
  3. Over time, build a comprehensive inventory record to understand consumption patterns better.

Remember, in this scenario, your goal is to transform reactive inventory management into a proactive strategy that leverages data for more informed decisions.

Leverage the ABCs of inventory classification

Understanding your inventory can help determine the right amount of stock to keep on hand to fill demand while avoiding spending too much on inventory storage.

Manufacturers often rely on an ABC analysis to help determine which items to keep in stock and in what quantity.

  • Class A items encompass critical components that significantly impact operations and should be stocked cautiously
  • Class B items are those required less frequently
  • Class C items are fast-moving, low-cost consumables

A solution like Brightly Asset Essentials™ offers tools to classify inventory items, enabling better decision-making.

Consider strategic benchmarking for manufacturing inventory

While benchmarking within manufacturing is a valuable concept, it's important to note that benchmarks may differ across industries and practices. Organizations like the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) provide guidelines for accurate industry-specific benchmarks. A CMMS solution, such as Asset Essentials, complements these benchmarks by empowering manufacturers to track key performance indicators related to inventory management.

Unlock a Brightly future for inventory management

At Brightly, we help manufacturers like you bridge the gap between efficient inventory control and maintenance processes to minimize downtime, reduce costs, and increase overall operational efficiency.

Brightly Asset Essentials enables manufacturers to manage and maintain all assets and facilities—including inventory—from one location. From its intuitive interface to an easy-to-use mobile app, our solution helps manufacturers support more uptime, increase profitability, extend asset life and make smarter budget decisions.

Whether you’re looking to overhaul your asset management, streamline inventory room organization, or optimize stock tracking, we’re here to help you address the intricate challenges of inventory management. To learn more, schedule a call with a Brightly expert today.