How to Manage MRO Efficiently During the Pandemic


The most critical part of logistics management is handling MRO effectively. The success of a maintenance unit depends on the MRO decisions taken by an organisation. MRO planning is essential for plant managers, corporate teams, and warehouse managers. These three people play a critical role in MRO decision making. MRO inventory is the backbone of any industrial unit.

What does MRO mean?

MRO stands for the three main components of a manufacturing unit – Maintenance, Repair, and Operation inventory. The MRO inventory includes all the disposable materials, supplies, spare parts, and equipment needed for manufacturing. The proper handling of MRO is essential to ensure the completion of the finished goods.

Let’s now look at some MRO inventory examples

Now that we know the meaning of MRO, let us see what does MRO inventory include? Below are the categories of supplies that typically stand for MRO inventory:

– Personal protective equipment
This involves all the personally used gadgets by the technicians like gloves, masks, earplugs, safety glasses, hard hats, and respirators.

– Cleaning supplies
This category includes materials used for cleaning and hygiene like disinfectant liquid, cleaning brushes, mops, different sizes of brooms, and buckets.

– Office supplies
This category includes all the stationery items used for official purposes like notebooks, pens, pencils, tape, erasers, notepads and post-its, etc.

– Personal technological equipment
This category includes the IT assets required by the managers and the other logistics staff like desktop computers, laptops, printers, scanners, fax machines, paper shredders, and more.

– Industrial equipment
Materials that are required to manage and maintain the industrial equipment and machines fall under this category. This involves lubricants, valves, bearings, tools, motors, and gears.

– Laboratory equipment
This is yet another critical aspect of production and, it involves all the materials required for conducting tests and clinical researches.

How to improve the Maintenance department during an emergency?

Covid-19 came without a warning and, overnight it brought lives to a stand-still. In such situations, units that had a healthy stocking of the MRO inventory could run efficiently, whereas others were forced to slow down productivity or shut it down completely. Additionally, keeping in mind, the protocols imposed during these times, like the need for masks, sanitisers and social distancing also made planning very essential.

Here are few things that supply chain units must adapt to deal with the unpredictable pandemic:

– Plan every small material related to the MRO inventory
– Use an automated technology to gain more visibility into the exact status and demand of MRO
– With the help of cloud-based software, improve the inventory accuracy and update it in real-time.
– Create a list of the critical spare parts that are required for production.
– Identify multiple sources from where critical and high usage items can be procured. This is done so that the dependency on a single vendor is eliminated.
– Establish mutual trust and strong relationships with suppliers and distributors
– Revised turnaround schedule as per the new work hours, allotted by the government during a pandemic.
– Secure the storeroom 24/7 to ensure that adequate supplies of all the MRO categories are always present.

What will happen if MRO is not maintained effectively?

Imagine you need a chemical for the production of products and, during the pandemic; it suddenly runs out of stock, in this situation production will be hampered. If a company is unable to produce products in adequate quantity, then customer orders will be unfulfilled, and this can lead to loss of money and reputation for the company.

Thus, there are three adverse effects of insufficient MRO:

– Production Stoppages
– Overstocking of MRO inventory
– Understocking of MRO inventory
– Loss of day to day production operations

The Final Word

Working during Covid situations is challenging. With proper planning and future readiness, facility managers can deal with crises efficiently. However, this situation is here to stay and to keep operating seamlessly- companies need to transform their maintenance process from manual techniques to a digital medium. The CMMS based inventory management system is the best way to keep your stock levels optimum and get their visibility from anywhere, anytime. Additionally, CMMS also allow remote working for technicians who can assess the health of assets without being physically present at the unit, through the medium of video calling.