ADVANCED MRO IS ESSENTIAL TO GIVE COMPANIES A LEADING EDGE Latest technology allows MRO to boost overall supply chain efficiency


RS South Africa, a trading brand of RS Group plc (LSE: RS1), a global provider of product and service solutions for industrial customers, has spent over 80 years aggregating suppliers using technology and services to over a million suppliers globally.


“Customers approach us with their specific pain points, and we look at what solutions we can offer in terms of an overall plan or strategy,” explains Craig Henry, MRO Business Development and Value-Added Solutions Manager at RS South Africa.


Here Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) is key to the seamless functioning of supply chains across a range of industries, from equipment and machinery to the processes essential for a company’s daily operations. The efficiency of MRO significantly impacts maintenance planning, operational costs, and overall supply chain efficiency.


Managing MRO activities presents many challenges for companies, from inventory optimisation to procurement complexities and effective maintenance planning. If unaddressed, these challenges can lead to disruptions in the supply chain, affecting productivity and incurring unnecessary costs, highlights Paul Nash, Corporate Accounts Manager, RS South Africa.


Key to supply chain management is identifying reliable suppliers, a critical focus for quality MRO. Another factor is data management, from inventory levels to procurement information and maintenance records. “Planning and scheduling maintenance is an important area a company must focus on,” advises Nash.


Technology is transforming MRO operations, offering innovative solutions to traditional challenges. It includes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), predictive maintenance algorithms, and automation and digitisation. Meanwhile, the introduction of AI and blockchain on the supply chain side is assisting with traceability.


‘Smart’ contracts are another trend, whereby customers comprehend the value that a stakeholder and partner like RS can add to their businesses. The traditional 12-month contract is a thing of the past, with companies now requiring a three- to five-year optimisation plan to be rolled out to cut costs over the long term.


Asset tracking is equally important, with customers switching to robotics in certain applications as part of the overall trend towards automation. Even 3D printing now presents customers with another tool in their arsenal to secure critical components quickly and conveniently.


“Make sure your objectives and goals are clearly defined. Priorities what is going in first and what is most compatible. Key stakeholders are crucial. If you do not have their buy-in, any strategy is unlikely to take off properly,” concludes Henry.

RS South Africa is a proudly Level 2 B-BBEE accredited company. For more information about our extensive product range, visit the RS South Africa website.



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