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Create an Internal Virtual Warehouse

Posted on September 2, 2022 by Thomas Lester

Creating an internal MRO virtual warehouse (or Corporate MRO Catalog) allows a multi-site company to leverage its assets across the entire organization and deliver value for inventory parts.

With a Corporate Catalog, a company can have a single view of all corporate information. Consolidating parts across the company into a"virtual" warehouse becomes a powerful tool for your own organization. Total inventory can be viewed to determine volume usage, part equivalences, common suppliers, price variations, etc..

To further increase volume purchases and reduce pricing, product lines can be selected and mandated, the supplier base can be consolidated, and Preferred Supplier programs can be put in place.

Allow me to illustrate with a case study example. A multi-site pulp & paper manufacturer with eleven locations had envisioned creating a corporate catalog for many years. But they never got beyond the just talking stage. It sounded fine in theory, but whenever they tried planning the implementation, without a single system in place, it appeared to be an impossible job.

Then, at a trade show, they had been introduced to a data cleansing company and the path became clear. The foundation for any corporate catalog is a standard data layout and a single numbering schema.

Through data scrubbing, standardization and enhancement, data from each plant was normalized, independent of the system where it resided. Within the normalized data, a company nomenclature was established.

A corporate item numbering schema was introduced to act as an alias to each site's current item numbers. That way maintenance tradespeople could continue to use item numbers that were familiar, but at the exact same time corporate supply chain people could consolidate item information across sites.

The results speak for themselves. The business now has a corporate catalog of MRO items; duplicate items were removed from each site's internal Stores inventory; surplus active inventory was identified for use through attrition and/or for return to the seller for credit; both wholesalers and product lines were merged for additional volume-based savings and; sites located in close proximity to each other now share common critical spare parts.

These initiatives generated real money savings and they were only achievable through the introduction of the Corporate Catalog. Now all eleven sites can start to function as one entity; they have a digital warehouse so far as MRO stock is concerned.

So far, six of the eleven sites are completed and included to the Corporate Catalog. Each has attained approximately one-half million in savings, demonstrating that the endeavour more than justifies itself.

To keep the data integrity of the MRO corporate catalogue (and every site's catalogue ), the business has opted to out-source its continuing Catalog Management needs into the information cleaner. It is a true partnership relationship.

A Corporate MRO Catalog (or digital warehouse) is a powerful tool which enables a company to leverage assets and optimize stock for the sake of the whole organization.