Identifying Mission-Critical Parts and the Impact On Your Supply Chain

Identifying Mission-Critical Parts and the Impact On Your Supply Chain

By Megan Wild

Identifying Mission-Critical Parts and the Impact On Your Supply Chain

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Managing a factory is by no means an easy task. Chances are, you have your hands full between supervising workers and overseeing production processes. All these are necessary for keeping the factory in working order. What would happen if you had a major equipment failure, though? Do you have a protection plan in place? If not, one task you’ll have to fulfill is the identification of mission-critical parts.


What are Mission-critical Parts?


Identifying mission-critical parts is a task in and of itself. What is considered critical changes from business to business, and even from department to department. In order to properly prepare, it’s important to make a distinction.

To do this, you must focus on what’s absolutely necessary to keep the factory running. A critical operation is an output that will cause the business financial damages or disrupt delivering products if it’s interrupted. Equipment, for example, is not a critical output, but the products that they produce are.

Another important distinction to make: Some instances interrupt only one department, while others affect the whole company. Only the ones that affect the whole company are mission critical. The others, though important, don’t fall within the scope of critical operations.

There is a caveat, however. Make sure you look at how your departments function together. It may be that the failure of one system in a department can trigger problems in the other, due to a hidden dependency.

Identifying Critical Parts


As critical parts vary widely from company to company, it’s important that you use a personalized system to identify them. Start your process by forming a list of your factory’s assets. These include safety measures, security systems, hazardous substance disposal and more. You’ll also need to gather any additional documentation included with the systems.

Follow up by researching what steps you’ll need to take should a broken system require new parts or specialized support, as well as the time it will take for these to happen. Based on the information you’ve gathered, you should now have a basic idea of which assets are the most critical and why they have that position. You can either strike the remainder from the list or start a separate lower-priority list.

Formulating a Plan


Now that you know what systems are most important, it’s time to develop a plan of action for if things go wrong. In the event of an emergency, your teams will need to know what systems to prioritize and what can wait. You don’t need them to direct resources toward restoring non-vital functions when they could be better spent elsewhere.

One point to consider when formulating your backup plans is if any of your systems require special treatment. This includes prolonged shutdown times for more delicate machines and temperature monitoring for equipment that’s prone to overheating. Should a failure happen, these critical systems will require more attention, since they could incur costly damages if left unattended.

Some of your systems may be so critical that an extended downtime will lead to huge losses for your factory. In these cases, you’ll want to have a parts supplier with the ability to do a day-of delivery. Should an emergency happen, you’ll be able to rely on them to get you the critical parts fast.


What’s to Gain From All This?


Conducting all this complex analysis is by no means a small task. However, it’s worth the effort, for both your business and your customers.

On the factory side, keeping tabs on the condition of your mission-critical systems will help keep the organization running at full capacity and ensure product quality. In the event of a failure, you’ll already have a plan in place to acquire new parts fast, minimizing losses due to downtime.

Furthermore, responsible management will ensure you continue to meet your clients’ expectations, even in emergency situations. Doing so could even raise your reputation in the industry, as performing well under pressure while still ensuring quality is no easy feat.

Running a factory isn’t a job for the faint of heart. Between managing workers, supply chains and outputs, analyzing for critical parts may seem like a waste of time. However, knowing what systems are essential and how to repair them is critical, and will save valuable time and money in the event of an emergency.

About the Author:

Megan Wild writes about lean manufacturing and creating safe work spaces. Her work has been featured on Procore, Fishbowl Inventory, Engineering.com, and more! Check out more of her thoughts, ideas, and musings by following her on Twitter.

This article was originally published at Apriso® Corporation's Manufacturing Transformation Blog  (July 19, 2017) and is republished on IndraStra.com under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) provided by Original Publisher. 
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