‘As I walked into the office, there was this aura of happiness the room, and everyone was at his or her best mood. The long-awaited critical spare part for the project has arrived after a 2-year wait….’
Have you ever ordered an item and what was delivered was of no use?
This happens every now and then in our personal lives; we try to justify or make excuses that the people involved are not professionals and all sorts…
Do you know that this also happens in established local and multinational corporate organizations? One then wonders if the people involved are also not professionals.
Stay with me as we discuss causes and consequences of wrong spare parts delivery and recommendations to avert such incident in our organizations.
Indulge me to share a real-life scenario of wrong spare part delivery:
In this case, the delivery time, as advised by the manufacturer, was 18 months. The spare part arrived as planned and shipped to the work location – an offshore location with high logistic and personnel cost. Upon removal of the item from the sealed protective box, the crew discovered that the spare part was wider than the available space for installation. The impact of this discovery is better off imagined than experienced.
There are two broad categories of spare parts based on the time it takes to manufacture and deliver the required the spare part: The long lead item and short lead item.
Short lead items are off-the-shelf, easy to build items.
On the other hand, the long lead items are mostly customised materials, specified by the client for specialized applications. They are not items you can pick up at any retail shop, expensive and require long time to build.
From this point on, we will focus on the long lead items as the impact of their wrong delivery to business is enormous and recovery time is exceptionally long.
Causes of wrong spare part delivery:
Poor material specification – relevant information required to manufacture the spare part not provided. Utilizing untrained personnel to collate the required details can be a major contributor to this.
Lack of cross discipline collaboration – In most cases, the team requesting for the spare does so without involving key stakeholders when specifying both the physical and functional requirements of the spare part.
Lack quality assurance and verification process – non availability of quality assurance and control for critical spare parts often lead to delivery of wrong/substandard item.
Prioritizing cost over quality – over stretching the cost reduction drive can lead to delivery of substandard spare part.
Use of non-qualified and verified vendors – unverified suppliers, if not properly supervised, can cut corners to maximise their profits.
Sometimes, lack of quality assurance process on the product manufacturer’s part can result in wrong or substandard material delivery.
Impacts of wrong delivery of long-lead item:
Increase in cost of delivering the right spare part due to rework.
Loss of business opportunities or increased down time due to extended time required to deliver the correct spare part.
Installing the wrong/substandard spare part due to pressure to continue operation could lead to safety incident.
Reputational damage to the team responsible for purchasing the spare part.
Reputational damage to the manufacturer and loss future business opportunities if their action or inaction contributed to the wrong spare part delivery.
How we can eliminate wrong delivery of critical spare parts:
Key stakeholders should work together in specifying critical spare parts– from the engineers to the operators/users and the purchasing specialist.
Robust quality assurance and control process to be in place – this ensures proper material verification process is in place, which verifies the correctness of the material specification from the ordering stage through the manufacturing and delivery stages.
Use of qualified and verified suppliers – before placing the order for the critical item, conduct supplier qualifications and verifications, to identify the suppliers with the competence and capacity to deliver the critical spare part.