3 Service Parts Management Best Practices from the A&D Sector

The aerospace & defense (A&D) industry uses sophisticated service parts management solutions to manage their dynamic, global operations. With parts that are quite literally on the move at all times, A&D organizations cannot rely on outdated ERPs, or worse, a series of spreadsheets to manage their global theater of service locations and thousands of parts.

What A&D best practices can you apply to your service parts management strategy?

1. See your supply chain as a whole

When you’re tasked with managing dozens of service locations and service parts depots, each with its own targets, constraints, and unique challenges, you may manage each location as if it functioned independently from the others. In reality, service locations operate both independently and as a network.

Availability of parts in each location, the ability to ship parts conveniently when needed, and viewing location dependencies requires having a 30,000-foot view of your supply chain. A service parts management strategy that is sustainable and profitable pays attention to how locations work as a series of echelons. If your part availability depends on multiple vendors, having a multi-echelon optimization capability is essential to forecasting needs and making sure you have the right part available at the right time and the right place.

2. Find a partner to deliver immediate value

If you’re considering overhauling your service parts management system, perhaps evolving past your legacy ERP or other solution, you might ask yourself whether to build your own in-house solution or work with a vendor. Building a solution in-house may give you more control, but it can take years to build, deploy, and achieve value. Partnering with an expert vendor knowledgeable of how your service parts supply chain impacts your operations allows you to use an out-of-the-box solution tailored to support your business objectives.

Service Parts Management for Defense Agencies

3. Manage outcomes, not parts

Because you are tasked with managing service parts, it’s tempting to fall back on tried-and-true success metrics like fill-rates, on-shelf availability, and even inventory turns and costs. But your inventory is there to support a purpose—yours or your customers’ asset or equipment uptime. Managing availability of parts without an eye on how these affect equipment uptime is only solving half of your business problem. In fact, it’s all of your business problem because when equipment is down, the loss of productivity possibly cancels out the cost savings from your depot’s 97% fill-rate.

By adopting these best practices from A&D, you can bring the power of the Internet of Things and your supply chain to work, providing tremendous value to your organization, driving revenues, safeguarding margins, and providing superior customer service. Are you ready for a holistic service parts management solution? Here’s how to talk to your cross-functional team.