In an industrial facility, to whom should the storeroom report? That’s a question that is bound to create some debate on the plant floor.

It could be argued that accounting should have responsibility for the financial investment. Or, since most materials are bought from outside suppliers, maybe purchasing should control the spending. What about production? If they don’t produce, then the plant doesn’t generate revenue. Shouldn’t they have some influence over what is in stock to support manufacturing operations? For that matter, the assertion can also be made that the reporting structure is irrelevant as long as there are strong plant partnerships in place and the leadership of the organization directly responsible for the storeroom understands the concurrent challenges of prudently managing the financial investment while assuring the proper supply of critical materials. But the storeroom must report to somebody, and it makes the most sense for that somebody to be maintenance.

For one thing, the primary purpose of the storeroom is to ensure availability of the right parts at the right time so that maintenance can perform their work in the most effective and efficient manner possible. After all, a critical material shortage can shut down the plant and quickly eliminate any benefits derived through effective inventory management.

Maintenance (along with reliability engineering) provides significant input with respect to the types and quantities of parts that will most likely be required and, therefore, should be stocked. They also assist in developing equipment bills of material, identifying obsolete inventory and establishing a stores preventive maintenance program for critical spares, all elements of effective materials management best practices.

In addition, kitting and scheduling activities require seamless communication and cooperation between the storeroom and planner (who also reports to maintenance) to ensure timely execution of maintenance work.

Even with a full complement of key performance indicators, it would be unrealistic to expect anyone other than maintenance to orchestrate all of these activities without having at least some direct responsibility for the storeroom.

How does your plant handle storeroom oversight and reporting? What do you feel is the proper structure? Life Cycle Engineering would love to know. Send your comments and questions about the subject to info@LCE.com.

About the author:

Founded in 1976, Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) is a company specializing in reliability and maintenance solutions with focus in both industrial and government markets. LCE has been working in the government market for more than 30 years and the industrial market for over 25 years. To learn more, visit www.lce.com.