The power of inventory management in power generation 03 April 2018

Power generation is a heavily regulated and highly competitive market. Most power generation companies are under great pressure to improve their efficiencies and safety standards, demonstrate innovation and reduce costs.

With an emphasis on large and expensive equipment small tools and consumables which are found in much larger quantities are often forgotten. In the power industry, small tools and consumables have big role to play but most of the time, they are used carelessly, lost, stolen or misplaced.

Improper management of tools and plant upkeep supplies can lead to dramatic consequences for production such as rocketing costs, safety incidents, damaged reputation and losses in productivity and profitability. According to the industry experts, companies actively implementing new technologies and asset management processes are 26% more profitable than their competitors.

Too many power companies, reportedly underestimate the importance of 24/7 availability of consumables or timely tool calibration of such items as jackhammers, multimeters, drills and many others that keep the valuable machines running smoothly. Whether it is preventive maintenance tasks performed on regular basis or emergency repairs, it is crucial to ensure that personal protective equipment, inserts, rivet, screws, cutting and power tools, and other MRO items are always at hand to do the repairs properly and fix all critical assets in an accident-free environment. Reducing walk time leads to greater productivity.

It can, however be very hard to accurately forecast the use of such consumables items. Orders based on rough approximation can result in up to 50% inactive stock, including low-turning products and obsolete items. Carrying excess inventory can add as much as 25% to its initial cost.

It is very common this day and age to have a software for managing the inventory and tools. But there is a missing link since the software cannot hand out the materials to the workers - it is still done either manually, which leads to a significant downtime in production and idle time, or through an unattended and uncontrolled storage unit, which can lead to rocketing costs. It’s estimated that one minute of production downtime due to a lost or misplaced tool or unavailability of a consumable item can cost tens of thousands of euros.

This is where STANLEY CribMaster, can revolutionise inventory management by offering both software and hardware that fully automate the process of controlled inventory dispensing, stock re-orders and replenishment, tool calibration scheduling, tracking and locating consumables and tools.

ProStock is a simple but genius carousel and locker type machine. Users get full visibility and control of consumables and tools in real-time, reduce inventory spending by 25% - 45% in the first year, but most importantly, can provide workers with 24/7 controlled access to materials right where they’re needed.

Any time workers access the machine, they are required to identify themselves in the system, which then records and keeps accurate counts of item flow. When the stocks reach their pre-determined minimum, the system automatically places an order with the preferred supplier. Thanks to customisable settings you can limit the access by worker, by product type, by quantity and run your plant in a safer, smarter and more efficient way. In addition, managers automatically receive scheduled overstock, understock and dead stock reports, upcoming tool calibration alerts, and can track their consumable spending by employee, job or time period for accounting and budgetary analysis to have a reliable intelligence that enables more informed purchasing decisions.

“The pie shaped sections of the carousels in the ProStock allows facilities to accurately manage the distribution of hundreds of items to their workforce. The ProStock, with its high capacity storage capability but small footprint, powered by STANLEY CribMaster software, can greatly improve workflow in any plant,” explains Chris Magson, European sales director for STANLEY CribMaster.

The original ProStock comes as standard with 10 carousels vending up to 560 items. With the new ProStock mini you have the ability mix and match carousels and lockers to dispense up to 280 items at the point of use. Each self-calibrating carousel is configurable for custom section dimensions and can function as a main or auxiliary unit.

 

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 814 450

Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.

Responsible for social media and the online platforms, Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.