January 30, 2023


Innovator Spotlight: Ronald Gibson, Navistar

Innovator Spotlight: Ronald Gibson, Navistar

You’re looking to save costs and improve uptime. But, let’s face it, supply chain interruptions are making maintenance work more difficult. 

An unplanned repair can amplify these interruptions and leave your team scrambling to find the critical parts needed to prevent costly production delays. In the auto industry, for example, downtime can cost up to $50,000 per minute, putting a lot of pressure on maintenance departments to work more strategically.

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Digitizing your parts inventory can go a long way to mitigating these delays. A detailed parts inventory lets your team know what’s on hand, monitors quantities, and automates purchase orders. 

But don’t take it from us. We spoke with Navistar Maintenance Technician Ronald Gibson to walk us through the benefits of digitizing and automating your parts inventory, especially as we face long lead times and limited supplies. 

Ronald Gibson, Navistar

“Time is the most valuable non-renewable we all have. So if a well-curated inventory can buy us back a day or two in manpower, that’s an opportunity to utilize that elsewhere and save a bit on that project to increase profit.”

Ronald Gibson, Navistar

Improve Inventory Control with Accurate Data

The first step for Gibson was getting a handle on what was in the tool crib, which involved a physical hard count. Maintenance teams know all too well the chaos of an unmanaged parts inventory. He recently recalled: “I was coming into a situation where there hadn’t been anyone accountable for the inventory for probably the better part of a year.” He went on to paint the picture:

“Let’s say you needed a 22mm, 12-point, shallow socket:

  • 1st you had no idea where they were.
  • 2nd you had no idea how many you have.
  • 3rd you had no idea how many were left.”

What’s worse is that those parts were available. They were even on site. But nobody knew exactly where the parts were. “And without a digitized system,” Gilbert explained, “you couldn’t proactively pre-order the part before it ran out. We just didn’t know.”

MaintainX made a massive improvement to inventory control for Gilbert: “Ordering [parts] was a lot easier and faster because I could say to my manager, ‘We’ve got about five of these left,’ allowing him to make predictions around restocking.” For example, if two parts are used a week, and five are left, he knows the part will run out in two weeks, and it’s time to contact the vendor and reorder. 

These predictions allow for efficient purchase orders and reduced time to repair, especially with supply chain issues in today’s global marketplace.

MaintainX parts inventory

Save Time with a Digital Parts Inventory  

Time, Gibson said, is the most valuable non-renewable resource his team has. “If a well-curated inventory can buy us back an hour or two, or a day or two, in manpower, then that’s an opportunity to utilize that elsewhere and save a bit on that project to increase profit.”

Using MaintainX’s Parts Inventory feature, Gibson’s team is managing parts more accurately, streamlining its inventory efforts. Another benefit? Cross-team visibility. Gilbert said,

“Management can check remotely about inventory, knowing it’s pretty much up to date within a reasonable margin or error. This helps because now no one has to call or make a trip down to see how many wrenches we have. MaintainX updates our parts inventory automatically as we use them.”

Maximize Your Parts Inventory!

  • Add images: Make it quick and easy for your team to identify what’s needed.
  • Include record numbers: Automatically trigger a purchase order when you hit the minimum.
  • Attach a description: Know the vendor, part number, and cost of all your parts.
  • Add Parts to Work Orders: See a real-time log of who last pulled inventory and for what job. 
MaintainX Parts Inventory

Save Costs by Finding Parts on Hand 

Imagine ordering, paying, and waiting for a new part to come in, only to discover that part was available on site all along. For example, when Navistar’s QA department needed 600 ft/lbs torque wrenches, its digital inventory saved them from over-ordering. Gilbert explained:

“Because we had taken a thorough inventory, we discovered two brand new, still-in-the-box wrenches from 2017. We utilized both immediately upon request. The savings was about $1,000.00 per wrench, plus saving on the cost of time, overnight shipping, and lost production time.”

MaintainX Parts Inventory

Get Ahead of Supply Chain Delays with Up-to-Date Quantities

Gibson and his team are no strangers to parts that are hard to come by: “We got a lag time of about 7 to 10 business days, which is aggressive in this supply chain situation.”

Furthermore, his team tries to buy locally when it can. And, now, they always refer to their digital parts inventory to better manage in-house supply. Gibson explained that he can now share how many coil grinders he’s ordered, on what day, and who has checked them out. 

“If we didn’t know that,” Gibson said, “we would have to wait a couple of weeks to get them in.” With his digital inventory on MaintainX, he can track who he checked the parts out to and get his hands on them quickly without making an unnecessary order.

Get MaintainX to Add Details to Your Inventory System

With MaintainX, you can add the following details to each part in your digitized inventory system:

  • Part Name and Part Number
  • Pictures
  • Available Inventory
  • Minimum Quantity
  • Average Unit Cost
  • Lead Time
  • Unit of Measure
  • QR/Barcode
  • Part Type
  • Location and Area
  • Assets
  • Teams in Charge
  • Vendors

MaintainX streamlines parts inventory and tracking, increasing your visibility on parts and connecting your site to vendors and purchase orders, so you can get work done quickly and efficiently. Remember, as we like to say, MaintainX helps you work smarter, not harder.

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Nick Haase
Nick Haase
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