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Enhancing Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Activities within Supply Chain Management

By Rosita Johnson

Revolutionizing Warehouse Operations: The Power of Rewarehousing

Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) activities have long been integral components of supply chain management, ensuring the longevity and operational efficiency of equipment across various industries. The history of MRO dates back to the early 20th century, where the concept was first formalized to maintain military equipment. Over the years, MRO has evolved into a critical element for both military and commercial sectors, encompassing a broad range of services from routine maintenance to complex overhauls.


In ASCI’s case, initially specializing in the oil and gas industry, we have expanded into the federal government space, further growing our expertise in enhancing operational readiness and efficiency for a diverse client base. Currently, ASCI holds a contract involving Transportation Support Services (TSS) for the Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, Havelock, NC. FRCE is an industrial facility that reworks, repairs, and overhauls aircraft, engines, and components for both United States and foreign military customers. The FRCE performs depot-level repair, maintenance, and support services for multiple types of aircraft and engines. This collaboration highlights ASCI's capability in handling complex MRO tasks and underscores our commitment to supporting critical military operations with top-tier maintenance and repair services.


Historical Evolution of MRO

The term MRO was first introduced in the aviation industry in the 1930s, initially focusing on maintaining and repairing military aircraft. During this period, mechanics and pilots often performed these tasks themselves, but as aviation technology advanced, the roles of maintenance and repair specialists became more defined and specialized. By the 1930s, MRO was officially recognized in aviation documentation, primarily referring to "Maintenance, Repair and Operating" supplies necessary to keep aircraft operational​.


During World War II, the importance of MRO became even more pronounced. The rapid expansion of air forces necessitated the development of more structured and standardized maintenance processes, leading to the introduction of formalized maintenance procedures and dedicated overhaul facilities. In the post-war period, the commercial aviation sector adopted many of the maintenance and repair techniques developed during the war. The focus expanded to include not just aircraft but also a wide range of industrial equipment, establishing MRO as a distinct industry sector that drove advancements in maintenance technologies and processes, contributing to greater efficiency and safety in various industries​.


Understanding the MRO Process

The MRO process is a multifaceted approach that encompasses various stages to ensure that equipment and machinery are maintained in optimal working condition. Here's a breakdown of the key components:


Maintenance

Regular and preventive maintenance activities are crucial for minimizing unexpected equipment failures. These activities involve scheduled inspections, servicing, and minor repairs that help in the early detection of potential issues. Preventive maintenance is proactive, aiming to address problems before they cause significant disruptions. This can include tasks such as lubrication, cleaning, and part replacements. The benefits of regular maintenance include reduced downtime, improved safety, and extended equipment lifespan.


Repair

When equipment fails or shows signs of malfunction, repair activities are undertaken to restore it to a functional state. This involves diagnosing the problem, replacing or repairing faulty components, and testing the equipment to ensure it meets the original manufacturer’s specifications. Effective repair practices are critical for maintaining productivity and avoiding prolonged operational interruptions. Repair can be categorized into minor repairs, which address small issues quickly, and major repairs, which may require more time and resources.


Overhaul

Overhaul refers to a more extensive process that involves disassembling the equipment, cleaning, inspecting, and replacing worn-out parts, and reassembling it to ensure it operates like new. This process is typically more detailed and time-consuming than regular repairs and is often performed at scheduled intervals or when the equipment has reached a certain level of wear and tear. Overhaul is essential for restoring the equipment to its original performance standards and is commonly used for critical machinery that must operate at peak efficiency.


ASCI's Approach to MRO Activities

ASCI is dedicated to continuous process improvement in all MRO activities. During a 20-year contract with one of our major commercial clients, our materials management team consistently reviewed and updated maintenance order processing and inventory procedures, leveraged technology to enhance efficiency through our proprietary software, and collaborated with the client to identify and implement best practices. Our software effectively tracked open purchase order shipments and project material staging and issuance, contributing to significant efficiencies, cost savings, and reductions in downtime.


Effective inventory management is vital to MRO success, ensuring that necessary spare parts and materials are available when needed, thus preventing delays in maintenance and repair processes. ASCI's inventory management team worked closely with our client to maintain optimal inventory levels, avoid stock outs, and reduce excess inventory. This was achieved through regular analysis of material usage patterns, criticality assessments, and adjustments to stocking levels based on demand and operational requirements.


ASCI had a dedicated repair and return team for one of our clients, specializing in turbine and rotor repairs and overhauls. Our inventory team ensured that critical parts were readily available for repairs or to replace equipment that was no longer repairable. This dedication to efficiency and accuracy resulted in notable reductions in equipment downtime, allowing clients to maintain high levels of productivity and operational reliability, while also achieving substantial reductions in overall maintenance costs.


Conclusion

In a notable case study by Redlist, a metal manufacturer achieved significant cost savings and efficiency improvements by implementing a lubrication management program. In the first year, the company saved $209,070, including $24,750 on replacement pumps, mixers, and bearings, and $165,000 from reduced equipment downtime by identifying and repairing issues before catastrophic failure. Additionally, they experienced a 97% reduction in mean time to repair for non-catastrophic events, emphasizing the substantial cost benefits of effective lubrication management. The benefits observed in this case study highlight the critical role of maintenance, repair, and overhaul activities in ensuring operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


 

ASCI specializes in helping businesses like yours to address supply chain management challenges. Visit our website to learn more and to arrange for a free consultation.

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