Riwal UK partners with IPS for new parts management system

Riwal UK partners with IPS for new parts management system

An innovative new parts management system is improving productivity for Riwal UK, as they implement major changes to its depots.

Steve Skeates, National Operations Manager for Riwal UK, said: “A core element of the Riwal Way is continuous improvement and line management that minimises waste, including wasted human resource. One of the biggest costs to any access rental business is its parts and service operation.”

Riwal UK contacted IPS, the UK’s leading independent replacement parts provider, to work on creating a bespoke parts management system for its depot at its head office in Wellingborough, as well as its facilities in Wigan, Bracknell, and St Mary Platt in Kent.

“Our CEO described our engineers almost like surgeons,” added Steve. “They are experts who need to maximise their time spent servicing and repairing access platforms. We realised that our engineers actually spent a lot of time travelling to the parts store. We might think an engineer spends 90 minutes servicing a machine, but 10 minutes of that time could be spent going back and forth for parts – particularly if the parts store is a long way from the service bays.”

After listening to Riwal’s needs, IPS came up with a novel solution – take the parts store to the engineers. Working closely with Riwal, IPS developed a system of ‘speed trolleys’.

“For example, the trolley for the engineers looking after all-electric access platforms contains 45 bins of fast-moving parts, all now located within a metre of the machine,” said Steve. “Prior to this innovation, the engineers were travelling 50 to 60 metres each time they needed to get a part. That is a huge amount of wasted time for these specialists – you can imagine over the weeks, months and years how these trolleys will deliver enormous savings for us. They will pay for themselves many, many times over.”

IPS originally launched its Parts Management System in 2007, to help plant hire and access rental companies with the stocking and management of fast-moving parts. By keeping the right parts on-site, it enables hire companies to reduce down time caused by unscheduled maintenance and breakdowns. It also eliminates freight and shipping costs from the parts buying process.

IPS profiles the fleet, to identify which fast-moving parts are critical to that individual business, right down to the mix of machines at each depot. This includes fixed pricing for 12 months, which helps customers to accurately plan their parts budgets. A carefully-tailored inventory is stored at each depot, assigned with minimum and maximum stocking levels. Each part is assigned a unique image and record card, for ease of identification.

IPS supplies the customer with a brochure categorising the parts by manufacturer and type, to help optimise the efficiency of the stock-picking process. The company’s mobile sales vans regularly visit each location to monitor and replenish stocking levels, guaranteeing that a healthy inventory is maintained at all times.

IPS also produces regular reports, providing the customer with a complete overview of all parts used, by depot and by product mix. In this way, the parts mix evolves as their fleet changes. By removing any surplus parts stock, the system also reduces waste and unnecessary expenditure.

“We QR-coded the bins so that our engineers can use an app to monitor parts usage,” said Steve. “That gives us excellent insight into the consumption rates of parts. So if one bin isn’t actually being used as much as we expected, we can swap it out for another fast-moving part.”

IPS worked closely with the Riwal UK team, including Craig Barrow, National Technical Manager, and Sam Reading, Parts and Warranty Administrator. They installed the parts management system in all four depots within six weeks. It is comprised of five parts systems rolled into one:

  1. Parts
  2. Consumables
  3. Filters
  4. Paints
  5. Automotive cleaning products

“I have dealt with IPS in the past, so I was fully aware of what they can offer and what they deliver. IPS came in and did the entire installation very smoothly and within our agreed time frame,” added Steve. “The fantastic thing that IPS offers is availability of products. We can still procure all the branded products that we need, at highly-competitive rates.”

The Riwal Way includes close scrutiny of stock and parts management, and Riwal currently utilises a Kanban system in all countries.

“By working with Sam and Craig IPS was able to create a system which enhances our Kanban with real-time visibility of stock levels and a procurement pipeline,” added Steve.

Kevin Shadbolt, Director for IPS, added: “We’ve built up a hard-won reputation as experts in parts management systems over the past decade. Riwal is a truly forward-thinking company, which challenged us but we are truly proud of the system we delivered. It will further enhance productivity for Riwal’s engineers and the company’s superb levels of customer service.”

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