Manufacturers face daily hurdles with inventory management, even before the supply chain impacts of COVID and inflation. From part sourcing and replenishment to dealing with shortages, it’s hard to get the parts you need into your facility. Then, there’s the task of managing the material flow once everything arrives.
More companies are now adopting a Plan For Every Part or PFEP as their material handling system. It’s a modern approach to managing your purchased parts inventory that saves time and money while streamlining your operations.
What Is a PFEP?
PFEP is a methodology of inventory management that seeks to reduce waste while increasing productivity. Essentially, a PFEP is a database that contains vital information about all of the parts that a manufacturer uses to produce an end product. Rather than having this information scattered over multiple Excel spreadsheets or locations, all relevant information is in one place. This is especially important for lean manufacturers who continually seek to optimize their operations.
However, a PFEP is more than just a simple bank of information. It’s a strategic plan for continuous improvement of material handling and production control, creating the smoothest pathway from inputting materials to finished products.
Information in a PFEP
Different industries require varying information, but most PFEP databases will include procurement, shipping, and part information. Relevant PFEP data could include details such as:
- Part Numbers
- Storage Location
- Usage Location
- Box Weight
- Part Weight
- Supplier Location
- Transport Carrier
- Transit Time
Information in a PFEP is plant or facility-specific, meaning that if a company operates multiple locations, every location must have its own PFEP database.
The first step is to appoint someone who will oversee the PFEP database and be responsible for entering the data into the initial database (and all subsequent updates). The more employees that access and modify the database, the greater the chances are that something could get deleted or not entered properly.
Getting your PFEP up and running is the most labor-intensive part, as it’s the stage where you must gather all of the relevant part data. If you already have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, then much of the information you need is already gathered in one place. However, the data must be current to be of any use. If there is outdated part information or parts that are no longer needed, it will only add confusion.
Companies will frequently rely on outside consultants to build a PFEP database, but be careful – many of these consulting firms will put your data into a spreadsheet and leave it up to you to sort it out and draw conclusions. Look for a company like Real Time Intelligence that has the experience and qualifications to not only assemble your PFEP database but analyze the data to provide you with actionable conclusions.
A PFEP creates an inventory strategy with certainty and control that are not possible with old-fashioned inventory management methods. It’s simpler to schedule maintenance and repairs without being subject to delays due to unexpected factors like shortages. Other benefits of a PFEP strategy include:
With a PFEP strategy, you can oversee all aspects of inventory management.
Oversight of Inventory Levels
Improved inventory oversight makes it easy to know your present part levels, what needs reordering, and each part’s role in the value stream.
Supply Chain Visibility
A proper PFEP strategy allows companies to avoid possible supply chain issues and act to solve potential problems before they arise.
It’s easier to find the right vendor for certain parts and materials when you have easy access to vendor information. Quickly pivot to a new supplier in case of supply disruptions.
Anticipate when you will need extra parts and configure your inventory space accordingly.
Oversight Done Right
Inventory and material handling is an area of manufacturing that can be plagued with waste. By implementing a PFEP strategy, you can reduce the effect of shortages, reduce your standing inventory, and cut lead times.
PFEP is part of the bigger picture of transformation in the manufacturing process. For producers that want to “go lean,” starting a PFEP is as important (if not more) as evaluating labor needs or updating existing technology. The sooner it’s in place, the sooner a PFEP can start saving your company money. Partner with Real Time Intelligence and unlock the power of a PFEP strategy! Contact us today!