Lack of inventory and storeroom management is detrimental to manufacturing

Paul Boughton

A new report by ERIKS has highlighted how the performance of factory storerooms and inventory control is all-too-often overlooked, impacting the efficiency and productivity of British manufacturing.

The report, Factory stores: manufacturing’s necessary evil – Balancing productivity, inventory and management responsibility in UK factory storerooms analyses the often disrupted link between engineering and stores, resulting in not only poor storeroom and inventory management, but also uncontrolled spending on spare parts and time wasted sourcing them.

Published in conjunction with The Institution of Engineering and Technology (The IET), the report surveyed 150 maintenance engineers and storeroom personnel* across a variety of industrial sectors.

Key findings included only 16% of those surveyed conduct monthly stocktakes; 36% stating that it took more than thirty minutes to locate spares in storerooms, indicating that highly qualified engineers are spending too much time sourcing spare parts rather than focusing on their core responsibilities.

Andy Silver, Customer Service Director, ERIKS UK, said: “Nobody can deny that UK industry is now amongst the most efficient in the world. However, we are concerned the performance of storerooms, or ‘factory stores’, has not kept pace with advancements in British manufacturing and is seemingly incapable of satisfying the demands of engineering.

“This report reveals that there is tension in UK industry between maintenance teams who want to stock spares, storeroom management who want to keep stock levels to a minimum, and accounts who want to minimise capital tied up in stock.”

He continued: “British manufacturing has seen somewhat of a renaissance in recent years and there are many examples of engineering firms carrying out efficient storeroom and inventory management. But, it is vitally important that the rest of the industry follows suit and implements measures to ensure factory stores are dynamic and able to constantly assess the needs and requirements of their engineer partners.”

The report covers keys areas of storeroom and inventory control including, day-to-day management, stocktakes and restocking, inventory access, stock authorisation as well as including verbatim quotes from engineers who took part in the research, which details their concerns about storeroom and inventory management and the challenges they face.

Download: Factory stores: manufacturing’s necessary evil – Balancing productivity, inventory and management responsibility in UK factory storerooms.