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Service parts management

A service parts management strategy plans for efficient and effective asset servicing by ensuring the service team has the resources to deliver reactive, proactive, and upgrade service activities.

What is service parts management?

Service parts management is a strategy employed by manufacturers and service organizations to estimate the demand for each part needed to service a fielded asset, then to maintain the correct stock levels to ensure availability without overstock and to deliver the right parts at the right time for service activities. After labor costs, parts are typically the second-highest cost element in service delivery, making service parts management a vital component of a cost-effective service program.

Without effective service parts management, a company is prone to significant waste associated with maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations. Just as the DIY homeowner typically makes multiple trips to the home improvement store, a service team not supported by good service parts management may make multiple trips between inventory and point-of-maintenance, incurring a large time penalty as well as transportation costs and keeping high-value assets out of operation for long periods.

Service parts management is a maintenance, repair, and overhaul activity, supported by service lifecycle management (SLM) software. Maintenance, repair, and overhaul parts management software within a service lifecycle management system helps companies optimize their service parts inventories and service timeliness and efficiency by employing the same functionality used to manage materials and inventories before and during asset manufacturing.

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Understand the benefits

Service parts management is often summarized as getting the right parts to the right place at the right time. Doing so contributes to highly efficient service activities and lower service costs.

Improve service readiness

Boost readiness with accurate service planning early-on in the product development process.

Higher first-time fix rates

Get visual and accurate service instructions with visibility and traceability of serialized assets, with their current configuration in operation.

Reduce overstock

Accurately plan for spare and alternate parts, minimizing inventory holds of unnecessary parts.

How service parts management software works

Service parts management involves planning, monitoring, and logistics functions to optimize service parts availability while reducing inventories and part spoilage (via obsolescence or otherwise).

Service parts management begins early in a product lifecycle before an asset’s production launch. The first step is to collect pertinent information about the asset’s reliability assessments, warranties, and other factors that drive service events, as well as information on the parts that will be needed to deliver efficient and effective service. A well-constructed and up-to-date service bill of materials (sBOM) and the physical asset configuration for each fielded product provide the data needed by a service parts management operation to determine the precise parts required for each service activity.

The combination of service event factors and service event parts requirements is used by service parts management software to determine inventory levels and locations. This parts inventory management aims to reduce the number of parts in inventory and the number of inventory locations without “over-leaning,” which can increase logistics costs and may place the company’s ability to meet service level requirements at risk.

Beyond inventory planning, service parts management also comprises inventory monitoring and may include:

  • Logistics planning and execution
  • Supplier coordination and management
  • Procurement management
  • Parts fulfillment

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