The Reliability Files

Better Inventory Management Helps Cut Operating Costs

EP Editorial Staff | May 28, 2012


A study conducted by Grainger’s Consulting Services estimates that more than half of U.S. businesses aren’t effectively managing their maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies, leaving them with dead, obsolete and budget-draining inventory. In 2012, U.S. businesses are expected to spend approximately $110 billion on MRO items—ranging from light bulbs to cleaning supplies to nuts and bolts—and more than $12 billion of it will never be used.

The Grainger research also found that: customers spend an average of 90 minutes per day replenishing product; half of the inventory customers maintain had no turn within the last year; and customers rarely analyze the inventory they do keep on hand.

The problem is pervasive across all industries: Precious time and money are lost on non-core work as sites struggle to understand the cost savings and efficiency gains that come from stocking only the inventory that is critical to have.

Grainger’s KeepStock services offer a unique portfolio of solutions that help facilities of all sizes better understand their inventory and help them take costs out of their business.

Because each facility is unique, a solid inventory-management program is one that is customer-centric and offers a breadth of options that accommodate a wide range of specific needs from the very simple to the very complex. Grainger currently offers a total of seven solutions within its KeepStock portfolio—many of which can be fully integrated with a facility’s purchasing system or

They include:

Click above to see Grainger’s full-size advertisement.

KeepStock Label: This low-tech, low-cost solution lets customers print informative labels directly from to help identify, organize and manage their inventory.

KeepStock Scan: Using this solution, facilities can manage their own inventory with a Grainger-provided scanner and labels. KeepStock Scan offers online reporting that details order history, thus helping customers easily analyze their purchasing behaviors.

KeepStock Mobile: This solution uses Grainger-provided scanning software to help manage inventory that moves, such as supplies in a service truck or van.

KeepStock Track: This solution tracks products in and out of a stockroom through a barcode inventory control system.

KeepStock Secure: Best known as a “dispensing” solution, KeepStock Secure features an optimized vending machine with carousel technology that allows for significantly more product to be stored at one time. Grainger provides complete project management of the machine implementation, including planning, transportation, installation, onsite training and replenishment services.

KeepStock Onsite. With this solution, a Grainger representative visits a customer’s facility to scan and maintain inventory. It’s integrated with, so orders can be placed in real-time.

KeepStock Store: This solution is a Grainger-operated, fully stocked branch located onsite at a customer’s facility.

Return On Investment
By implementing Grainger’s KeepStock solutions and improving inventory-management processes, research has shown that a facility can reduce MRO product spending by as much as 25%. Other measurable benefits include:

  • Lower procurement-process costs for consumable MRO supplies;
  • Optimization of inventory levels (i.e., less overstocking or fewer “out-of-stocks”);
  • Improved inventory control and organization; and
  • Enhanced productivity of the MRO-procurement team.

By dramatically reducing the amount of on-hand inventory needed to run their operations, some Grainger KeepStock customers also have been able to free up valuable storeroom space and leverage it for profit-driving uses, such as expanding production floors.

To learn more about these types of inventory-management solutions, visit MT

Lake Forest, IL

For more info, enter 260 at




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