CIPS and the key challenges facing MRO procurement professionals in 2018

By Dale Benton
The need to reduce operational budgets, reduce inventory costs and improve asset performance have been identified as some of the biggest challenges faci...

The need to reduce operational budgets, reduce inventory costs and improve asset performance have been identified as some of the biggest challenges facing maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) procurement professionals. 

This is the takeaway from a new white paper released from RS Components. The report surveyed more than 851 procurement professionals from the global MRO procurement industry and looked at the opportunities and pressures procurement professionals face around key areas including innovation, inventory management and supplier knowledge.

The White Paper can be found on the CIPS website

Around 55% of procurement professionals identified the need to reduce operational budgets as the biggest pressure they face, followed quickly by reducing inventory costs (52%) and improving asset performance (42%) as other major concerns.

Despite improving asset performance and maintaining ageing assets being the biggest day-to-day challenges, only 7% of respondents said their company has a strategy in place for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). However, the growing appetite and enthusiasm for new and emerging technology is evident, as 53% of respondents said that they were having conversations with suppliers around new product innovations.

Other key challenges include concerns over the implications if Brexit and their role in the industry (41% globally) and achieving stakeholder alignment in the MRO category (38%).

Mike England, President EMEA, RS Components, said: “The research findings reflect the conversations that we’re having with customers, and shine a light on indirect procurement and MRO supplies. The results particularly demonstrate that change remains a key concern in MRO procurement, where teams are being pushed harder than ever to deliver savings, something a coordinated supplier strategy is essential to achieving.
 

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With the Internet of Things (IoT) being identified as a key innovation that will define the industry, Helen Alder, Head of Knowledge and Product Development, CIPS believes the IoT journey is only just beginning.

“I still think we’re at the start of the Internet of Things journey and, while it might develop quite rapidly, that’s not what I’ve seen so far. Organisations are aware of the technology and are looking at applications but, as the research shows, not many have any sort of solid strategy in place yet.”

This is echoed further by England. “For instance, one of the key applications IIoT could be used for in an MRO setting is helping organisations move from a reactive or even preventative maintenance approach to a predictive maintenance strategy, in which machines are monitored and alert to required maintenance well before they fail. Engineers and procurement teams won’t attempt a large-scale overhaul of all their equipment and processes in one go, so a phased test and learn approach is the most sensible way to explore the benefits of new technology. However, it’s important that companies get moving with this test because while progress is relatively slow now, the pace of change will speed up over the next two to five years, and anyone burying their head in the sand will be left behind,” he added.

The White Paper can be found on the CIPS website

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