A Plan for Every Part drives waste out of inventory and warehousing operations. It is the foundation for the continuous improvement of your procurement and material handling activities. Here’s how to get started:
A Plan for Every Part is exactly as named: a compilation of facts and figures about all of your part numbers. While there is specialized software for this purpose, an Excel spreadsheet works fine, too, in many situations.
Typical dimensions include:
- Part number
- Part description
- Annual usage
- Container type
- Container size (length x width x height)
- Part Weight
- Container capacity
- Storage method
- Transport method
Compiling all of this data is messy and people intensive. Designing a data collection template for each part will increase accuracy, standardize units of measure, and generally speed things along. A change process will be needed to maintain the integrity of the data.
As this database takes shape, opportunities to reduce complexity (and subsequent waste) in containers, racks, and material handling equipment will appear. There are great benefits in standardization! Defined locations improve inventory control and reduce if not eliminate the time wasted looking for parts. An overall reduction in inventory can also be expected through less overproduction and increased inventory turns.
Set up length, width, and height as separate fields so that they can be sorted separately. Ask me how I know this. 🙂
There may be a temptation to limit A Plant for Every Part to the highest usage or most expensive parts. Don’t go there. Any part, even a small bolt, can halt production if it is missing when needed.
Thinking about warehouse automation? A Plan for Every Part is a necessary prerequisite.
On my capacity expansion project, we are combining A Plan for Every Part with this material handling checklist to design and size the new plant’s marketplaces. Not only will the marketplaces be better both operationally and financially today, but we are building a bridge to automation opportunities tomorrow.