One man's trash is another man's treasure

Louise Smyth

Jonathan Wilkins discusses the issues of storing spare industrial stock and the alternatives available for manufacturers

The Rockefeller legacy began with a 16-year-old bookkeeper from Cleveland, Ohio, whose greatest ambition was to earn $100,000. That young man was John Davison Rockefeller, who, only 25 years later became the wealthiest man of his time. Rockefeller died in 1937 but it is estimated that his family's combined worth amounts to over a trillion dollars.

In the US alone, businesses and consumers spend approximately the same amount on duplicates of products they already own. Here, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete industrial parts supplier, EU Automation discusses the issues of storing spare industrial stock and the alternatives available for manufacturers.

Machine or component failure is the most common cause of downtime for small to medium-sized businesses, so it's no surprise that companies often keep replacement parts in stock. Some plant managers believe this helps reduce the time taken to replace a part, but having a large inventory of spare stock can have a negative impact on plant efficiency all year round.


One of the problems with storing spare stock is that it still needs to be maintained. Imagine sending a requisition for a spare part or assembly to the stock room, only to fit it and find out that it doesn't work as it has been sat in the inventory for several years.

Instead, by not stocking a large number of spares, plant managers can give storeroom staff more time to maintain the stock that really matters. Component suppliers, such as EU Automation, will often take uncritical spare parts off manufacturers' hands, helping relieve the pressure on plant managers staff.

Space and safety

There is also the assumption that all manufacturers have the facilities to store spare parts in an organised manner. In fact, many companies have no choice but to keep this stock wherever there is space; this can result in health and safety hazards and an inefficient working environment.

Stocking spare parts in a busy working environment or in front of a critical piece of machinery that needs around-the-clock access, can cause more trouble than it’s worth.

However, the biggest problem with not having a dedicated space for spare stock comes from the safety implications. Spare parts become trip hazards or could even block fire exits and escape routes — this could result in fines and even plant closedowns if investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Spare stock isn't worth risking the health of your staff or your company's reputation, especially when EU Automation offers nine-hour European delivery and same day international dispatch on its inventory of over 200,000 parts. We provide fast delivery of components such as inverters, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) so your company doesn't have to store and maintain these excess parts.

Jonathan Wilkins is marketing director of obsolete industrial parts supplier, EU Automation