What is a maintenance inventory system?

A maintenance inventory system is a software platform or tool that helps organizations manage their maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) inventory. A digital maintenance inventory system makes it easier for technicians to track stock levels, find necessary parts and equipment, and reduce wasteful spending.

A maintenance inventory system can do one or more of the following:

  • Track MRO inventory levels and stock
  • Assist in locating spare parts inventory and supplies when needed
  • Predict when stock will need to be replenished
  • Accelerate or streamline the process of purchasing inventory
  • Facilitate the signing out of parts and supplies for maintenance work

A maintenance inventory system can help you purchase, organize, and track usage of a variety of inventory, including:

  • Rotating assets (like pumps or engines)
  • Parts for repair or replacement (like bearings or motors)
  • Consumables (like nuts and bolts)
  • Supplies and tools for maintenance work (like lubrication or wrenches)
  • Personal protective equipment (like safety glasses or hard hats)

Examples of maintenance inventory systems

MRO inventory management software

This type of software platform is dedicated to managing the MRO inventory process from end to end–from procurement to parts usage tracking and stock replenishment. Some platforms also offer vendor management and basic analytics, but are strictly limited to inventory-related insights.

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)

CMMS software is an all-in-one maintenance management platform that handles all aspects of a maintenance program, including MRO inventory. Unlike MRO inventory software, the CMMS encompasses the entire maintenance operation, making it easy to integrate inventory data with other parts of the process and vice versa.

Enterprise asset management (EAM) software

EAM software tracks the entire asset lifecycle from design to installation, maintenance, and disposal. Tracking maintenance inventory and inventory turnover is just a small part of what it does.

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How can organizations use a maintenance inventory system?

Let’s explore what maintenance teams can do with a proper inventory system.

Make MRO inventory easier to find and track

With an analog maintenance inventory management system, it can take as much time to find a part as it does to actually fix the machine. But a software-based inventory control system makes it simple to check how many of each item you have in stock and where they’re located in your storeroom, as well as update records when items are used. Because you can track usage so easily, you can also calculate the cost of maintenance right down to the cost of individual parts and their connection with certain types of work orders.

Streamline stock replenishment

Manually maintaining MRO inventory stock can be challenging and inaccurate, as there are far too many opportunities for human error. A software-based maintenance inventory system takes out most of the guesswork, as all stock records are digitized, and updates are automated every time a part is used on a work order.

The more advanced MRO inventory platforms are able to use usage analytics and AI to accurately predict when an item is likely to be used, compare it against what’s currently on the shelf, and, if necessary, create a purchase order for more stock if levels are low.

Manage vendors and suppliers

An effective maintenance inventory tool can help you closely monitor vendor orders and shipments throughout the supply chain to help keep costs low while maintaining readiness. Orders to suppliers can be coordinated to achieve just-in-time inventory purchasing so parts arrive when they’re needed, and you can maintain flexibility in your budget.

Inventory management software can also be used to evaluate vendor relationships. Short shipments, late deliveries, and price gouging can happen whether you have an inventory system or not, but it will be much easier to detect and prove if you have inventory tracking software that can analyze all of the orders.

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