4 min read

What is MRO? Modernizing Your Facility's MRO Strategy

May 22, 2024

What keeps your facility operating? There are many parts and pieces that go into an efficient facility, including the staff, the equipment, and the maintenance.

What if we told you the true answer is more simple than that? It’s all about MRO, or Maintenance Repair and Operations, that keeps your facility moving day in and day out.

If you’re still using clipboards to track inventory and write work order requests down on paper, you’re going to want to keep reading for a deep dive into the importance of effective MRO and how you can bring your facility into the digital age of Maintenance Repair and Operations.

What is MRO?

Simply put, MRO means Maintenance Repair and Operations. But, a more definitive MRO meaning is the combination of processes keeping your facility and its assets in operating condition, which keeps your business operating smoothly. And, MRO systems are all of the activities connected to the upkeep of a facility, like maintenance processes, systems, and equipment used to support the main objective of your business.

A real-world example of the MRO meaning can be explained by a school district’s facility management department. Inside the management of a school district, MRO covers:

  • Maintenance of the school buildings and properties
  • Electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems
  • School equipment like desks, chairs, TVs, phones
  • Maintenance suppliers and contractors

Because MRO operations cover a broad spectrum of maintenance repair and operations processes, these workflows can be defined in four different types.

Infrastructure repair and maintenance 

This includes repairing parts of buildings like roofs, doors, windows, property landscaping, maintaining parking lots and sidewalks, pest control, weather maintenance, servicing HVAC and plumbing systems, and other general maintenance like janitorial services.

Depending on the ownership of the facility, the responsibility for infrastructure repair and maintenance may fall on the building owner or the tenant in a rental agreement.

Production equipment repair and maintenance 

This refers to the care of vital machinery and systems used to produce products and services sold by the business, including mechanical and electrical equipment required for production. Because mechanical equipment tends to wear down with use, regular servicing and routine maintenance are essential to prolong the equipment’s lifespan and avoid early replacement. 

Material handling equipment maintenance 

This is MRO systems that maintain the machinery that moves products in, through, and out of the facility, such as forklifts, shipping containers, storage systems, conveyor systems, and automatic packing systems.

Tooling and consumables 

These are generally smaller materials and tools used or consumed as part of the production or servicing. These are powered and manual hand tools (drills, wrenches), adhesives and glues, sandpaper, personal protection equipment (PPE), and janitorial supplies. Still, they aren’t part of the finished product, so they aren’t classified as direct spend.

The Importance of Effective MRO Operations

Now that you know what the MRO meaning is, it’s no secret that Maintenance Repair and Operations is essential to business operations. As you know, a fragmented strategy to MRO processes causes disruption in workflows, ineffective communication, and overall poor facility maintenance. Without a sound strategy and full-proof software system for the myriad of tasks that fall under Maintenance Repair Operations, it would be impossible to keep your facility functioning smoothly. 

If you’re struggling with poor MRO systems, you may be experiencing the following pain points:

  • Lack of open communication between teams, employees, and suppliers causes errors or mistakes
  • Access, privacy, and security is lacking or not flexible enough
  • Out-of-date record keeping
  • Lack of visibility into business metrics or inventory management
  • Little to no forecasting capabilities
  • Equipment failures due to lack of routine maintenance
  • An unexpected loss of valuable resources like time, money, and productivity

If you said yes to one or more of the pain points above, we’re glad you found your way here. Get ready to learn how to optimize your MRO systems to eliminate the pain points that are causing your business to stall out.

Optimizing Your Facility’s Maintenance Repair and Operations

It’s not too late to turn your business around with these Maintenance Repair Operations tactics.

Invest in a Maintenance Repair and Operations system.

Traditional  MRO systems, like CMMS or EAM, can help improve several aspects of your facility management procedures by storing data in an easy-to-use, all-in-one digital system. These systems tend to be automated, reducing manual tasks and improving overall productivity. Thanks to transparent data storage, communication improves, and important business metrics are more readily available. But, if you want to kick it up a notch, consider a system that doesn’t restrain your team and has all the capabilities that the fragmented softwares have to offer, like FlowPath’s software for the modern facility manager. Your facility management system is supposed to increase your overall operational value - not take away from it. 

MRO systems can streamline workflows, manage projects and work orders from start to finish, analyze business data, track maintenance schedules, and control inventory.

Manage Maintenance Repair Operations inventory.

Managing your MRO inventory can be tricky when you don’t have the right tools. When will you need to restock? How much inventory do you have on hand? Are you running low on any essential supplies? It’s a guessing game without transparency into your facility’s MRO inventory.

When you’re unaware that an essential supply is out-of-stock, you risk losing money on an emergency re-stock. When you’re purchasing the supply on auto-subscription, but you have no need for it, you’re losing money having too many on hand. There’s also a chance that the equipment is unavailable for purchase, which will cause delays in facility production or service. Proactive MRO inventory tracking will alert you when you need to re-stock or turn off your auto-subscription–before it’s too late.

Negotiate Maintenance Repair and Operations procurement.

MRO procurement is the purchasing of products and tools that keep your business operating. It’s just as crucial to know how much inventory you have on hand as it is to know much this inventory is costing you. It’s worth analyzing the costs associated with your MRO procurement and negotiating with suppliers to get the most cost-effective process for keeping inventory in stock.

Facility Improvements from Effective MRO Systems

Are you here because you need to explain why investing in Maintenance Repair Operations is necessary for your business’s survival? Perhaps you need to convince the executive team that investing in MRO operations will improve workflows and productivity. Well, you’ve made it to the right place.

MRO systems have the below value propositions to offer your facility:

  1. Empower your staff.

Outdated systems that are confusing and complicated create stress for your staff, preventing them from taking charge and doing their jobs efficiently. When you remove the frustration of outdated processes and improve communication and workflows, productivity increases. With the help of connected MRO operations, your team members have all the tools they need to make strategic decisions and complete jobs quickly.

  1. Streamline your work order management process.

Work order management relies on fast, consistent, cohesive communication. Without a Maintenance Repair and Operations system, work order management could suffer along with your staff. You can expect longer timelines, increased chances of mistakes and errors, and frustrating miscommunication. Introducing work order software will improve the entire process from start to finish.

  1. Improve productivity.

With improved communication, fewer errors, and work order transparency, your workflow gets faster and leads to higher productivity. Thanks to the reliability of connected MRO operations and stronger communication, your team can get more done.

  1. Spend less money.

You can avoid unplanned costs by tracking maintenance trends, schedules, and inventory levels effectively. Analyzing past data can help you predict maintenance trends, while proactive maintenance schedules help you avoid costly emergency equipment repairs and production shutdowns. Tracking inventory levels allows you visibility into what you have in stock, so you’re never impacted by 

  1. Boost the bottom line.

Best of all, these simultaneous improvements can positively impact the bottom line. As productivity increases and costs decrease, your profits will naturally increase, allowing you to invest in more facilities, larger teams, and more profit-boosting business activities. At the end of the day, growth = profit.

Using Software for Maintenance Repair and Operations

Your business will thrive with the introduction of just one, single-view, connected platform that encourages faster workflows, improved communication and transparency, and better service for your end user. It’s especially essential in facilities where physical infrastructure is critical, like manufacturing, power generation, construction, and transportation. For example, FlowPath’s suite of services is an all-in-one system that provides complete transparency and visibility into a facility’s operations. With FlowPath, you can automate reporting, review past, current, and future tasks, and analyze the health of your business operations.

Are you ready to take the next step to modernize your facility’s MRO systems? Schedule a demo to see how FlowPath can take you from an slow, manual system to a digital-first platform that automates the the tedious tasks for you.

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Schedule a demo with our sales team and we can get into your specifics.

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