"With USP, we want to show that we can automate 50% of the Spare Parts orders so that the material planner can focus on decisions that are critical to the organisation."
– Gordian Logistic Experts – NedTrain – Koninklijke Marine – Koninklijke Landmacht – Universiteit Twente – Dinalog –
Within many logistics service companies all order requisitions for spare parts are assessed by material planners. Gordian has noticed that, in practice, material planners change or do not follow (25% to 75% of) the recommendations. In many cases there is a good reason for doing so, but in many other cases it can be an arbitrary change. In the latter cases, the value added by the material planner to the planning operation is questionable.
The goal of Ultimate Spare Parts Planning (USP) is to automatically process 50% of all order requisitions without the intervention of a material planner. The key idea for realizing this goal, is the development of a feedback loop making clear the consequences of changes to order requisitions to the planner.
USP is an empirical research project. At all several participating companies we introduce the feedback mechanism. Moreover, we develop customer specific roadmaps to automate the order requisitions step by step.
Participating companies gain insight into the efficiency potential, in particular, for spare parts planning. We show, for a representative product range, what steps are necessary to automate a significant part of the order requests.
Automating the order recommendations for the complete product range results in a large reduction of work in Spare Parts planning. This can lead to a direct reduction of operational costs, but companies can also use the capacity to plan product ranges that could have a major impact on the organisation (as a result of invested capital or potential down-time). The automation provides material planners with more time to consider the risks when purchasing expensive slow-movers and can make clear delivery agreements for expensive, long lead-time items.