Using the 80/20 principle in Spare Parts Management to insure your time

Finding the time

Within the first few months of my first job, I have needed to prioritise time management. To achieve the most out of every day you need to spend your time wisely. This is especially challenging when you are working remotely with no direct supervision. One of two things usually occur: You are so busy that you have no time to feed yourself, or you do all your household chores before 10h00 in the morning. The workload intensity and frequency are never the same each day. Therefore, one needs to balance the time between intense work activities versus work activities that are days away but cannot commence. Sometimes you are lucky and you have warnings or lead time to work activities, but most of the time things are just unplanned. You therefore need to control productivity in a short space of time.  The challenge I have recently faced is how to best prepare for unplanned increases in work activities. It is easy going from busy day to busy day. However, if you have some downtime in productivity due to outside factors, what is the best course of action to quickly ramp up again?

20% of your time does 80% of the work

To most asset management- and supply chain practitioners, the spare parts management environment is the wild west of unpredictability. Unplanned demand of spares is often considered normal. And even when you have a thoroughly devised strategy to maintain assets, the typical supply chain activities will find a way to interrupt your groove. It is not easy to predict where the failures will occur in the supply chain. However, there are quick methods to reducing 80% of the unpredictability by doing 20% of the workload. One method is ensuring there is enough safety stock that covers the spares needed (demand) over the purchase lead time. This action covers a few aspects. For instance, you reduce the overall chance of stockouts. Furthermore, reducing the chance of stock outs if the supplier is delayed. And reducing the operating cost by increasing the order quantity. By adding simple measures in place ahead of time you can proactively address multiple problem areas. Apply your work effort wisely to gain the most from your time. Because at the end of the day, time is money.

Taking the time to see the bigger picture

When it comes to the day-to-day workload and managing the time during periods where scheduling is out of your hands, you must remain proactive. Valuing your time better is the best place to start. Just like in the spare parts management supply chain when the workload can be chaotic and unpredictable, one needs to see the bigger picture. Understanding the similarities between frequency and intensity allows you better time management. Then, when it comes to big projects you have applied your time just like ensuring there is enough safety stock. A small-time insurance that adds benefits to multiple areas of the workload. Hence if lead times are incorrect, calculating accurate safety stock is impossible. Just like if the intensity required is not understood, time management is impossible. Remember, doing the right task at the right time is 80% more effective than spending 80% of your time doing 20% of the workload.

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André Jooste
Supply Engineer - Gordian SA