Logistics of spare parts is a strategic issue for concerned companies (automotive sector, IT sector, medical and industrial equipment, etc.) Small nut-sized or oversized products, dangerous goods… Spare parts have different features and demand a complex logistics organization. Due to their immediate need and very short delay, spare parts management needs to be reactive, flexible and available. In order to optimize spare parts flows, some value-added services are necessary.
A spare part is a piece intended for replacing a defective or a damaged piece of a good. Logistics of spare parts is characterized by heterogeneous products. Items might be just as well very small, or bulky, extremely light or heavy, dangerous or not, expensive or cheap. These parts thus need an adapted storage (mezzanine, modular pall rack, cantilever rack, mass storage, lockers, palettes with risers, etc.) and also require adapted logistics processes.
Control at reception
Some of spare parts are more strategic and sensitive than others: any non-compliance can have a real impact on the finished product. In the worst case, a damaged spare part can make a finished product explode. In order to avoid any risks, quality controls can be put in place at spare parts reception: quantitative control (spare parts counting for instance) and/or qualitative control (conformity compared to a photography, metrology, characterization). These controls allow to avoid storage of a non-compliant piece and avoid to deliver a damaged part.
Kitting and repacking at order picking
To facilitate spare parts shipment to repair stores, logistics warehouses can fulfill kitting operations. Kitting consists of grouping together several spare parts intended to be assembled together. An example of these operations can be cutting cables or tubes to the length required by the repair store. At reception, the spare part is immediately usable.
Spare parts can also need repacking operations: specific packaging for storage (panes for instance), industrial packaging for the oversized products (you can read more about this here), repacking of parts in a lot of 100, for example.
These two types of operations are time savers for repair stores.
Logistics of spare parts is also characterized by the heterogeneity of their annual consumption. On one hand, some products have a very low rotation rate (products stored in a fixed place for 5 years, for example) and on the other hand, some products might have a very high rotation rate. Regardless of their rotation rate, spare parts must be available very quickly. If a machine breaks down because of a damaged piece, the machine needs to be repaired very quickly. That’s why reactivity and flexibility permit to ensure the availability of parts. To do this, 24/24 and 7/7 on-call duty is required. This allows repair stores to have the necessary parts immediately for the repair operations.
To manage spare parts, logisticians need visibility on stocks, especially to monitor the expiry dates of some products (some chemical products for instance) or to manage the obsolescence of some parts (due to innovations and new technologies).
Express and urgent transportation
As we saw, spare parts orders can show up urgently and unexpectedly. To ensure their availability, logisticians must put in place fast transport solutions. This demands a strong reactivity to customer needs, an efficient logistics system and optimized delivery time.
Logistics of spare parts presents several issues for manufacturers and theses value-added services, offered by logisticians, permit to improve stock management, to avoid non-compliance, and to have a reactive and flexible service.
To see more about logistics of spare parts, you can watch this video:
Or you can read this show case.