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Demand categorisation in a European spare parts logistics network

A.A. Syntetos (Centre for Operational Research and Applied Statistics, Salford Business School, University of Salford, Salford, UK)
M. Keyes (Centre for Operational Research and Applied Statistics, Salford Business School, University of Salford, Salford, UK)
M.Z. Babai (BEM‐Bordeaux Management School, Talence Cedex, France)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 20 February 2009

Abstract

Purpose

Spare parts have become ubiquitous in modern societies and managing their requirements is an important and challenging task with tremendous cost implications for the organisations that are holding relevant inventories. An important operational issue involved in the management of spare parts is that of categorising the relevant stock keeping units (SKUs) in order to facilitate decision‐making with respect to forecasting and stock control and to enable managers to focus their attention on the most “important” SKUs. This issue has been overlooked in the academic literature although it constitutes a significant opportunity for increasing spare parts availability and/or reducing inventory costs. Moreover, and despite the huge literature developed since the 1970s on issues related to stock control for spare parts, very few studies actually consider empirical solution implementation and with few exceptions, case studies are lacking. Such a case study is described in this paper, the purpose of which is to offer insight into relevant business practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue of demand categorisation (including forecasting and stock control) for spare parts management is addressed and details reported of a project undertaken by an international business machine manufacturer for the purpose of improving its European spare parts logistics operations. The paper describes the actual intervention within the organisation in question, as well as the empirical benefits and the lessons learned from such a project.

Findings

This paper demonstrates the considerable scope that exists for improving relevant real word practices. It shows that simple well‐informed solutions result in substantial organisational savings.

Originality/value

This paper provides insight into the empirical utilisation of demand categorisation theory for forecasting and stock control and provides some very much needed empirical evidence on pertinent issues. In that respect, it should be of interest to both academics and practitioners.

Keywords

Citation

Syntetos, A.A., Keyes, M. and Babai, M.Z. (2009), "Demand categorisation in a European spare parts logistics network", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 292-316. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570910939005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited