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3 Spare Parts Vendor Management Tips for Savvy Maintenance Managers

Maintenance & Reliability
3 Spare Parts Vendor Management Tips for Savvy Maintenance Managers

3 Spare Parts Vendor Management Tips for Savvy Maintenance Managers

Effective maintenance management requires a lot of planning, organization, and multitasking. If you’re a maintenance manager, you’d know more than well how painstaking and draining it can be to keep on top of asset maintenance.

You have to be in the loop with not only several maintenance contractors but also spare parts vendors in case one of your company’s equipment breaks down and you need a specific component to get it fixed. Downtimes are costly, which is why you must always avoid them.

In this article, we’ll discuss some nifty tips and tricks that will help you stay atop your game and hopefully, make dealing with parts vendors a breeze.

Know how to communicate

Nothing happens without effective communication. However, before that, you need to streamline who you want to communicate with. To do this, you need to build a centralised vendor database and standardized parts order process.

Having an entire dataset of suppliers at your fingertips will allow you to narrow down your search. It is recommended you select at least three different vendors and take their quotations. This way you’ll be able to compare prices and find the best one.

Then comes the communication phase. If you’re dealing with a new vendor, your main objective should be to build a good rapport. That’s the only way they will go the extra mile for you and give you the best prices. Why? Because they’re looking for a company who will keep coming back to them – and you’re looking for a vendor who you can really count on.

Fine-tune the art of negotiation

As a maintenance manager, you’ll be juggling around multiple vendors. Negotiating prices is an integral part of the procurement process. The best way to do that is by leveraging your growth and size. Negotiate with vendors like you would negotiate with an investor.

When you’re negotiating, always keep your budget in mind and reverse engineer your way from there. Having CMMS or comparable parts management software might be crucial to track overall expenses, as well as costs associated with specific vendors.

Try to negotiate in-person when possible, especially if you’re good at it. In-person negotiations are more impactful because you can use your body language and persuasion techniques as leverage. If done correctly, it’s harder to turn down in-person offers.

One approach you can go about doing this is called value-based buying approach. With this, your goal should be to quantify the value of a win-win agreement for both your company and the spare parts vendor. Here are a few tips for “winning” any supplier negotiation:

  • Leverage the quotes you have received from other vendors. Negotiate with the vendor and ask them why you should do business with them instead of the other vendors.
  • Do your research by reaching out to the vendor’s existing customers and asking them about the prices they’re getting from the same vendor. That’s your bargaining chip.
  • Sit on the negotiating table with a hefty cash reserve. The more advance you can pay, the better negotiating position you’re in. In fact, the vendor will agree to offer you favourable credit terms.
  • Know how much the item costs to the vendor. When they know you’re good with your finances, you’ll be able to squeeze out that extra margin to save on your costs.

Track costs for all vendors and parts

If you want to maximise the value you get in your budget, consider implementing a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software (or another digital solution that can help you keep track of inventory and associated costs).

But why is this important? The simple answer is that 25 percent of an asset’s cost is incurred when it is installed, whereas 75 percent of its cost is spread out over its lifecycle. To manage this bulk of the entire cost, a maintenance manager needs to constantly plan ahead.

A CMMS not only takes inventory management to the next level but also simplifies tracking costs. Here are some benefits it offers:

  1. It stores vendor information and associates each vendor to the particular asset(s) they’re maintaining or the particular spare part they’re supplying.
  2. It automatically stores and manages all invoices, delivery notes, etc. so you can access all-time history for each vendor.
  3. You can track how much you’ve spent or are spending on each vendor, as well as on specific parts. You can even set up your budget and periodically track how much of that budget you have consumed so far.
  4. It helps you oversee parts turnover which helps with inventory forecasting and it can also be included when testing/comparing the quality of specific parts.

Small maintenance teams might be able to track everything with a spreadsheet, but that is still efficient when compared with a mobile CMMS solution.

Parting thoughts

Managing spare parts inventory is essential for any proactive maintenance effort. Maintenance managers should consider making their life easier by implementing a digital solution for tracking parts and vendors. Lastly, they should make sure everyone is followingbest parts management practicesas that will have a direct impact on vendor management.

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO ofLimble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.

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