parts department

Spare parts

Spare parts, also referred to as Service Parts is a term used to indicate extra parts available and in proximity to the mechanical item, such as a automobile, boat, engine, for which they might be used.

Spare parts are also called “spares.”

Spare parts management

Service Parts Management is the main component of a complete Strategic Service Management process that companies use to ensure that right spare part and resources are at the right place (where the broken part is) at the right time.

Economic Considerations

Spare parts are sometimes considered uneconomical since:

  • the parts might never be used
  • the parts might not be stored properly
  • the cost of inventory for spare parts on hand
  • the ability to obtain the parts when needed from a remote source, such as a vendor, supplier, parts department, etc.

But without the spare part on hand, a company's customer satisfaction levels could drop if a customer has to wait too long for their item to be fixed. Therefore companies need to plan and align their service parts inventory and workforce resources to achieve optimal customer satisfaction levels with minimal costs.

User Considerations

The user of the mechanical item, which might require the parts, may overlook the economic considerations because:

  • the expense is not the user’s, but the employer’s
  • of a known high rate of failure of certain equipment
  • of delays in getting the part from a vendor or a supply room, resulting in machine outage
  • to have the parts on hand requires less “paperwork” when the parts are suddenly needed
  • of the mental comfort it provides to the user in knowing the parts are on-hand when needed

Cost-Effect Compromise

In many cases where the mechanical item is not stationary, a compromise is reached between cost and statistical probability. Some examples:

  • an automobile carries a “donut” tire as a spare part instead of an actual tire.
  • a member of a household buys extra light bulbs since it is probable that one of the lights in the house will eventually burn out and require replacement.
  • a computer user will purchase a ream of computer paper instead of a sheet at a time.
  • a race car team will bring with them to the race track another engine, “just in case.”
  • a ship carries “spare parts” for its engine in case of breakdown at sea.

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