In many manufacturing plants, a parts room occupies considerable space, uses non-value-added staff and takes employees away from their jobs to get the supplies they need.
Typically, if staff members need new gloves or a machine part, they take the old ones to a parts room where a clerk exchanges them for new ones. With this scenario, the parts room is stocked with everything needed throughout the plant and is staffed full-time during all shifts.
With a satellite stocking program, department managers and supervisors are in charge of parts for their shifts. Here are some specific factors:
Benefits: The principle saving from a satellite stocking program comes from the elimination of parts room jobs. In smaller plants, the parts room can be closed once parts are delivered. In larger plants, it may be necessary to leave it open for all shifts, but staff numbers can be reduced.
Employees spend more time fulfilling their duties when parts are stocked in each department. The time savings can be considerable, depending on the distance to a centralized parts room and the number of trips employees make.
Finally, with its new scaled-down function, the space allotted to the parts room can be significantly reduced. There's also the potential benefit of tightening inventory control when department managers and shift supervisors take charge.
One drawback of a centralized parts room is that it may provide incentives for staff members to waste valuable production time. For example, an employee's need to replace a broken drill bit is legitimate, but in addition to the time-consuming walk to the parts room, he may waste a few minutes socializing. And instead of replacing his worn gloves at the same time, he may wait until tomorrow so he can make another trip.
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