The Estates Main Stores service the whole of the campus of the University. Material items required for Planned or Reactive Maintenance are obtained by the trades operatives for each day’s jobs by visiting the desk at Main Stores. Currently, the requisition process is almost entirely paper-based whereby orders are completed by hand (often with errors) and are given to the Stores staff who then have to pick the items whilst the operative waits. This process leads to time wasted in executing and completing the job; excessive numbers of visits by the operatives to the Stores (many of which are for the unnecessary checking of stock); rework of job requests to correct errors; and wasted time in waiting for orders to be processed. These can lead to a significant reduction in productivity and the potential for long lead times to complete the maintenance and, therefore, customer dissatisfaction.
A SCD team was convened from Estates, Purchasing, and Maintenance and, with the roll out of OPeRA (the purchasing platform) to Estates, a solution was identified to utilise the technology to resolve the above issues. The proposal was to turn the Main Stores into a ‘click and collect’ operation, introducing electronic ordering by the tradesperson via iPads to order materials direct from the Stores. The Stores would then pick the order and notify the tradesperson when the order is ready for collection. This simpler, non-paper based process, required not only the uploading of stock lists via OPeRA and configuration of the iPads but, more importantly, winning the cooperation of the trades through communication and training. The new, electronic process was mapped as a future state; iPads were issued to all trades; the stock lists uploaded to OPeRA and configured for use on the iPad; and comprehensive training of all trades was undertaken.
All trades have been trained in the use of electronic ordering and the process is now in place for simplified, more efficient ordering and collection of maintenance items. A process is underway to collect data to evidence the improvements in productivity and reduction in wasted time and effort.