In the world of purchasing, paper has been king and the death of many a tree. Even with the digitization of many of our documents, it’s often the case that we don’t actually maximize our technology usage to automate and control the process. We have digital files that we are still printing, signing, scanning, sending, filing and then having to find again.
In today’s world, there are tools that are designed to increase the oversight of your purchasing process by implementing electronic and paperless workflows, from the initial parts request, to the receiving and installation. Automate the processes that allow for specialized personnel permissions throughout the inventory life cycle. Keep track of requests as they come in and as they are disseminated to the vendors for quotes and acquisitions. Have a parts and/or service agreement? Use a paperless purchasing mindset to keep track of all your parts, where they are, what their status is and who signed for them in a secure system that can be accessed and reported on with the click of a mouse or a tap on the screen.
Let’s think about access to your inventory and purchasing process and records today - are they in one location? Do you even have a system? Is your spreadsheet saved on your local computer? Maybe you have a software package that helps you with inventory - do you like it? Can you access your information from anywhere? Can you find the information you need in just a couple of clicks? What good is your inventory and purchasing data if you can’t access it? Do you have a parts subscription or service? Are you able to track and access information on parts that have been returned? Can you answer questions and submit proof within minutes and click and respond?
Today’s technology allows for you to utilize a cloud-based service, which not only ensures accessibility across multiple platforms, but also secures the data and backs it up. Imagine systems where you utilize your computer, a tablet or a smartphone to reply to a request from your maintenance team. You can research, initiate, submit and accept from any method you choose and from anywhere you have an internet connection. Aviation is a 24/7/365 industry and, many times, there are instances where you are not in the office, but your position requires you to be able to handle requests at a moment’s notice, any time, night or day. So, retire the PO binder and simplify with efficient and intuitive technologies.
The key to keeping effective inventory is knowledge, understanding and control of the flow of parts and materials in an operation. Operators like Reva Inc., are realizing significant control and visibility of their inventory simply by losing the paper and adopting technology. By implementing electronic or paperless workflows, you take control of the process as well as the materials. Software applications should allow for different levels of permissions and access. Say you want your floor techs to be able to view your inventory and see if a part is already available, but you do not want them to be able to issue a PO and work directly with the vendor. This is easily handled with different permissions. You simply assign the right people for the approval process in the work flow, you get a notification, you make your decision and then you push it to the next step.
Control allows for you to effectively manage inventory levels and cost while also delegating pieces of the process to individuals as is appropriate. Imagine a scenario where you aren’t chasing down a handwritten or modified PO in a binder, if it’s even there. Imagine a scenario where you feel confident in your processes and know that you have the control mechanisms in place to ensure the quality of parts and service necessary to support your flight department and its people.
A paperless purchasing and inventory control system doesn’t have to be complicated. The system should be efficient and intuitive. It should have an easy-to-understand parts and purchasing management philosophy that enhances your operations, not hinders it. Embrace a new approach that allows for you to manage, control and execute inventory and purchasing the way it should be done in the 21st century.