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Material Stores Improvement Project

The situation

With the integration of the CCSG maintenance team into Estates, it was discovered that their maintenance operation was serviced by multiple ‘unofficial’ material stores around campus. These ‘satellite stores’ numbered some 22 in total, in addition to the Main Stores. Further analysis has identified another 19 ‘porters’ stores in residences, which also contain stocks of white goods.
Whilst the Main Stores are subject to full SAP MRP systems with a fully approved audit trail, the Residences stores have little or no stock control outside the knowledge of the trades who use them. A review of the Residences stores revealed they contain a combination of new items; used items from refurbishment projects; purchased bankrupt stock; and obsolete items. In many stores, there was little knowledge of what was actually stored in those individual locations.
Due to lack of stock management, excess stock is carried by the University; unnecessary funds are tied up in this stock; excess space is used; new material is being purchased whilst it already exists in other stores; and that material can become damaged or obsolete or, in the worse cases, could be stolen or misappropriated.
A drive to rationalise the number of stores, reduce the amount of stock held by the University and to instigate stock control in all stores, is the subject of a small team composed of representatives from Estates, Design, Procurement and the stores personnel.

The solution

The team undertook two parallel workstreams. The Main Stores were subject to a 6’S’s Rapid Improvement Event where all unnecessary items were removed (through a ‘red-tagging’ exercise) and stock was reviewed to remove or relocate non-moving or slow moving items. Stock turns are equivalent to one per annum with the ambition to achieve a stock turnover of three per annum. Two van loads of obsolete, zero value items were removed and other items relocated to more appropriate locations. 75metres of shelf space was freed up to accommodate white goods and fast-moving goods.
In addition, a stock audit of the 22 stores has commenced and, at the time of writing, 10 of those stores have been stock checked and items ‘red-tagged’ for removal. Armed with this knowledge, it will be possible to rationalise the stores to a manageable number and introduce stock control and checks.
Estates Procurement are now working with the University SAP team, to develop an integrated stock control system and audit trail for any satellite stores that it proves beneficial to maintain.

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The outcome

The project is ongoing and will identify opportunities to achieve significant cashable savings for the University. These savings will include identifying unnecessary levels of stock; improving the knowledge of what is actually held in stock, thereby reducing the purchase of already stocked items; reducing the holding of obsolete stock; and releasing space across the University. In addition, all white goods are to be sourced through Estates Procurement (rather than through a number of routes) and will therefore introduce controls on ordering, usage and a full audit trail.