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4 surprising MRO service hacks

A man in blue coveralls leans over machinery he is repairing. Posted on the wall behind him is paperwork and a box holding tags.

The stakes are high for industrial maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) providers. Squeezed between the push to lower expenses and the pull of customer service demands, industry leaders seek creative solutions to those age-old challenges.

At one time, updating a service-oriented supply chain led to lengthy analyses and an even longer run-up to securing capital. Today, companies can supplement their operations by accessing a growing physical and technological infrastructure managed by third-party logistics providers.

These new services offer shortcuts or "hacks" that can help companies adapt faster and more cost-efficiently to customer and market dynamics.

Hack 1: Local drop-off and pick-up locations

It's possible to expand geographic reach overnight by incorporating a global network of drop-off and pick-up locations into service delivery options. One such network is the UPS Access Point Network™ with 27,000 secure locations worldwide--8,800 of them in more than 400 U.S. cities. UPS Access Point Network locations include 24/7 self-service lockers, pharmacies, grocery stores, dry cleaners and 4,600 The UPS Store® locations.

  • Urgency - Multiple, day and time-definite delivery options to more locations may alleviate the need for regional parts stocking in order to maintain service levels.
  • Flexibility - Longer pickup and drop-off hours can help technicians be more flexible to schedule changes and provide more responsive service.
  • Productivity - Urgent delivery options and more flexibility can contribute to greater productivity for technicians and customers.

Hack 2: Contract warehousing, distribution and post-sales services

As innovation and product lifecycles get shorter, managing subsequent inventory and service logistics gets that much harder. Those who deal in high-volume MRO parts and service might consider hands-on support from a third party that specializes in warehousing, distribution and service-parts logistics.

  • Responsiveness - The existing physical and technological infrastructure third-parties offer can help companies seize opportunities more quickly and with less capital investment.
  • Service Metrics - Specialized expertise in global warehousing, distribution and post-sales services can help to better meet internal cost targets while improving customer service.
  • Growth - Tapping into an existing network of global facilities can help companies test the potential for international revenue growth and may offer less financial risk than going it alone.

Hack 3: On-demand additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM), also called 3D printing, is best known for enabling faster prototyping and product development. But MRO parts and service providers are starting to recognize its power to help reduce inventory carrying costs and improve response times.

  • Efficiency - On-demand AM printing of low-demand or out-of-production parts can help to reduce inventory carrying costs and losses associated with unused or missing stock.
  • Speed - The UPS and Fast Radius AM solution enables companies to submit parts plans on day one and receive the part the next business day in the U.S.
  • Differentiation - AM can help companies differentiate their service within a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Hack 4: Returns management programs

Buyers are bringing their consumer expectations to the workplace--including the demand for easy and convenient returns. It's critical to meet those needs, but it's equally important to consider how a returns management program can help to pay dividends for years to come.

  • Preference - A UPS survey shows "Returns" as an MRO parts buyers' top post-sales expectation. It's imperative to meet those needs to remain in consideration. These solutions can help.
  • Profitability - A disciplined returns program can get inventory back into stock faster for sale, and can help to reduce or eliminate the expense of outdated or "dead" stock.
  • Precision - Better inventory tracking can contribute to more accurate forecasting and can help improve inventory turns and order fulfillment.

Learn more about how UPS can help you tackle the challenges of MRO service.

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