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BizFOCUS: Spare Parts Mgmt During a Global Pandemic

As we’ve clearly seen through recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing variants have upended supply chains across industries and around the globe. Unlike standard marketplace disruptions like labor disputes and natural disasters, pandemic effects have not been confined to any single region or market. The result is worldwide supply chains have been pushed to the breaking point — and beyond.

But when something breaks or inefficiencies are identified, it gives us the opportunity to evaluate and take the necessary actions to mitigate the overall impact moving forward. For supply chains around the world, that time is now. The following review highlights 5 different areas that can be learned from the pandemic crisis in better managing your spare parts programs.

1. Communication, communication, and more communication 

During the pandemic, international supply chains slowed but in most cases never completely stopped. The main challenge reported was dealing with unprecedented uncertainty and the ebb/flow of communication:

  • Where is your shipment of spare parts or raw materials?
  • How are the shipping policies changing from country to country?
  • How long will your shipment take to clear customs?
  • When will your spare parts or raw materials be delivered?
  • And in the interim, what do you tell customers (vendors & end-users)?

The impact of COVID-19 on spare parts or raw materials is clear now. For weeks at the start of the pandemic, companies experienced “supply shocks” but most did not elevate this review until late in the game. These were disruptions to the availability of goods sourced from other countries. This included both finished goods for sale and raw materials used in manufacturing. Eventually, companies identified the event and scrambled to sort out what production was feasible, and what demand could be met.

The biggest impact of the pandemic was on raw materials – caused by clear disruptions in the global supply chain. Supply chain departments and operations are learning how to address these problems; in some cases, companies are managing these issues well, in other scenarios, organizations are still learning how to best address this ongoing landscape through a painful trial and error. Ultimately, companies are finding new ways to adjust their supply chain in order to meet the new manufacturing environment.

2. Put parts closer to customers

For years, “lean” was king as companies tried to reduce costs by consolidating spare parts inventory or raw materials for manufacturing in a few large warehouses. However, a pandemic crisis has shown us that it’s possible to have operations so lean, too lean, that they can do more harm than good; negatively affecting the ‘customer experience’ and actually starve customers’ spare part needs during a crisis (or a specific timeframe of high demand).

So for some time now, larger organizations have exercised this avenue, realizing having one warehouse to service global customers is not an efficient process and simply does not work – especially during a pandemic. Regional and local restrictions on movement (material storage and logistics), coupled with unexpected shelter-in-place and even quarantine orders, restricted both the flow of goods and the available labor pool for those single locations.

But for most companies, this type of model is neither a practical nor an applicable solution. So, what are the alternatives? Stronger business operations… operations and supply chains around the globe and across industries are being challenged to do a much better job in not only analyzing their own inventory data and trend analysis, but also their customers as it relates to their needs and operational trends – leading to better decision-making opportunities. 

3. Retire the spreadsheets — agile companies require seamless data integration

Supply chains generate massive amounts of data. Whether using descriptive, predictive, cognitive, or a number of other analytical models, supply chain analytics are incredibly important — uncovering patterns and generating insights. A recent review found that 46% of supply chain professionals worldwide still relied on basic Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to monitor, measure, and manage supply chain disruptions. Surprisingly enough, some companies still used spreadsheets to manage their entire supply chain.

When it comes to supply chain analytics, even in times when a crisis isn’t looming, spreadsheets are an antiquated tool and unreliable. They can take valuable time and are vulnerable to input and formula errors that can snowball throughout a system. The pandemic prompted longer lead times, fewer available workers, and an urgent need for real-time, remote visibility around the clock. 

With the proper supply chain analytics, your organization can make smarter, quicker and more efficient decisions:

  • Reduce costs and improve margins
  • Better understand risks
  • Increase accuracy in planning
  • Decrease lead times and help forecasting
  • Focus on short-term/long-term objectives and not just day-to-day operations

Another issue is companies using outdated technology within their supply chain – this can cause similar inefficiencies as well, but this is a topic for another day. Ultimately, data integration through implementation of the right tools are key to reducing costs and increasing revenue with greater operational efficiency, better planning and accurate forecasting.

4. Keeping Bill of Materials up to date

Another way to address your spare parts and raw materials during supply chain disruptions caused by a pandemic is knowing your “BOM”. A Bill of Materials (or “BOM”) is a comprehensive list of components, labor, and/or equipment required to build a product. Although it’s a well-known and essential part of any manufacturing process, the accuracy of BOMs throughout the pandemic has been a crucial first step to success or an initial stumbling block right out the gate when it comes to identifying necessary spare parts or attacking supply chain needs. Here are a few reasons why your BOM is so important.

  • Custom-made shopping list
  • Never run out of materials again
  • Better planning
  • Better costing

Sounds easy enough, so why is it such a challenge for organizations? Your BOM should be a winning formula for manufacturing and reaching an end product. As a result, it’s important that you keep your BOM up to date in order to prevent inventory inaccuracies and spare parts shortages. It may be easier said than done, but take the time to review your BOM on a regular or semi-regular basis to add or remove parts from it as needed; it’s a critical start to the overall process.

5. Secure tomorrow by planning today

Ultimately, it’s like they say, “you can plan now or you can pay later.” We all know it’s important to expect the unexpected, but to be fair a global pandemic that temporarily shuts down global economies can be a bit much for any corporate business plan to encompass. Through unprecedented, recent times, manufacturers across the world and across industries are dealing with just that – a global pandemic that has reaped havoc on the global supply chain.

Simply put, manufacturers have heavy machinery that consume maintenance materials as well as require a strong spare parts inventory to keep operating. You want to avoid any unnecessary downtimes, especially during those peak production periods. So, through a pandemic or trying to leverage those high demand cycles, having a strong spare parts system in place can offer manufacturing stability and provide long-term success for your business.

The 5 above areas are just a handful of strategies to help strengthen your spare parts and raw material programs. To ensure you’re doing all that you can, a full 360′ comprehensive review is needed. But the key action here is taking action, not burying or ignoring the 600lb gorilla in the room. So, secure your business for tomorrow by planning today. 

The road ahead: Secure tomorrow by planning today

As you and your team look ahead into 2022, ask yourself these questions and be honest:

  • What challenges did you/your team face in 2020-2021 regarding supply chain issues? And what practices did you implement, if any, to mitigate future, similar occurrences?
  • What spare parts or raw materials did you/your team identify as critical for your operational success in 2020-2021? Now considering an ongoing, challenging supply chain environment, how are you/your team tackling these same needs for 2022 and beyond?
  • How are you analyzing not only your supply chain data or overall spare parts and raw material needs, but getting ahead of the curve and knowing your customer’s operational trends?
  • And how diversified is your supply chain program… do you still have all your proverbial eggs in one basket?

If your answers are a bit fuzzy, you’re not alone so don’t feel so bad. Whether you believe you’re addressing the current supply chain landscape successfully or could be doing a few things better, this is an honest opportunity to review and help strengthen the company’s position with future, similar marketplace occurrences.

FILAMATIC is your true industry partner and has your back with a strong spare parts inventory. So, avoid manufacturing downtime, take charge of your current supply chain landscape, and set your 2022 schedule up for success by taking advantage of the 2021 End-of-Year – Spare Parts Sale.

Specialists in Liquid Filling Systems

For over 70 years, FILAMATIC has provided a wide range of liquid filling solutions for the packaging industry. FILAMATIC creates quality, flexible, and innovative solutions for every stage of your business growth. Whether you require a single handheld filling machine, a complete turnkey solution, or a fully automated, integrated filling system, we have the industry experience that will exceed your expectations.

For FILAMATIC customers, please see the following:

  • Spare parts portal:  LEARN MORE HERE >>
    • Find your spare parts at your own pace.
    • Get the necessary information for spare parts for your system.
    • Ask our Customer Service Team for more information.
  • 2021 End-of-Year Spare Parts Sales:  GET DISCOUNT NOW >>
    • Special discount and opportunities for the 2021 spare parts sale.
    • ALL consumable and non-consumable spare parts.
    • Limited time only – ACT NOW!

For more information on liquid filling, capping, and labeling solutions, please call 866.258.1914 or visit –


This entry was posted on Monday, December 6th, 2021 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.