Applying Lean to MRO Spending

Being married to a Six Sigma Black Belt can be a nightmare. For example, my office desk is a mess -- the way I like it -- but every time I can't find something, I get a lecture on the amount of time I waste (or rework, as she calls it) on digging. Personally, I think that process-driven people like her just don't understand that it's in the moments of desperation searching for your keys, that you're most likely to come up with an ingenious idea. Nevertheless, even though I personally don't follow a lean or Six Sigma regimen in my personal activities, I know enough about the subjects when it comes to sourcing and Spend Management to know how valuable they can be. In late December, Grainger penned a self-serving piece in Reliable Plant about how companies should approach their industrial MRO purchases from a lean approach.

In the article, Grainger notes that "many organizations have strategic sourcing initiatives in place, but they do not extend to the indirect purchasing categories, specifically MRO." The venerable distributor then goes onto argue the value of spend consolidation and lean approaches to MRO Spend Management. Overall, it's a worthwhile read, even if it's clearly penned out of self interest. But personally, I find it quite useful and refreshing when suppliers like Grainger invest the time in thought leadership to educate the market rather than relying on traditional sales and marketing tactics.

Jason Busch

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