How to Reap the Benefits of Parts Standardization

Bob Schindler
Tags: 5-S, maintenance and reliability

Nothing leverages your parts and training budgets like standardization. It is one of the key areas of the 5-S process. The more you can standardize, the fewer parts you need to maintain and the further your training goes.

Some plants have dozens of manufacturers represented on their production floor with the subsequent glut of critical spares in the storeroom, shelves full of manuals and lost time while technicians re-familiarize themselves with troubleshooting procedures. It can also mean extra money spent on special tools, calibrators and handheld programmers, as well as maintaining extra vendors on file with the insurance, credit and shipping requirements that go with them. It takes some time and effort up front to establish standards, but the payoff can be continuous. The flavor of the month may be sexy and/or cheaper at the time of purchase, but you will probably pay for it later.

Here are some simple guidelines to get you started. These are just a few places to look but may not be the place you want to start. Review your facility for problem areas and opportunities, then formulate your plan of attack.

Check out your present equipment and look for commonalities like motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs), gearboxes, chains, sprockets, solenoid valves, PLCs, etc.

Like most journeys, it starts with the first step. Decide to make the journey and then dive into the available information stream for help. There are plenty of folks out there to help you, so ask your vendors, peers, techs and contacts for suggestions. Then, you can look at your plant and seek out the hidden opportunities. Remember, reliability doesn’t cost — it pays.