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How do I organize my parts storeroom?

Maintenance managers must organize facility storerooms using the 5S methodology or a similar system that allows parts to be found quickly and efficiently. In many facilities, the storeroom becomes a disorganized mess of thousands of needed parts that cannot be located when required. By applying the 5S method, you can increase your efficiency by about 30 percent.

Sort
Start by assigning a small work team that’s intimately familiar with how parts or groups of parts are used. You want parts to be stored close to where they will be used and organized in a fashion that makes everything easy to locate quickly.

Straighten
Sometimes known as “set in order,” this second step refers to cleaning up and reconfiguring the storeroom that takes into account safety, labeling, and retrieval of parts. Often, this means a parts storeroom takes up less overall space. Tactics that work well in the “straighten” step include color-coded storage locations and the assembly of “kits” that contain all tools and parts required to complete a frequently performed task.

Shine
This step moves the new storeroom system from novelty to habit. You want to incorporate maintenance procedures within your new system so that it is regularly inspected, cleaned up, and tidied on an ongoing basis. It’s important to have a maintenance technician accountable for each task to make sure the storeroom stays organized.

Standardize
Once your parts storeroom gains a reputation of being a reliable place to obtain needed parts for regular maintenance, it’s time to strive toward best practices. At this stage of the game, you can start closely examining how purchasing decisions can be integrated and inventory management metrics can be used to indicate how parts usage can be better tracked. It’s important to weigh the costs of parts and storage as well as the downtime incurred if something is not immediately available to optimize inventory decisions.

Sustain
This final step refers to the moment when best practices in storeroom organization and parts management become part of an ingrained culture. Ongoing audits, regular training, and concise record keeping become second nature to the entire maintenance team.