4 Best Practices for Warehouse Spare Parts Success | FORTNA

4 Best Practices for Warehouse Spare Parts Success

Protecting your warehouse operations from unplanned downtime is more important than ever. Using these four best practices can ensure your operation will have the right part at the right time.

by Ben Lacy

There is one warehouse distribution story I have heard time and time again. It’s how one small, inexpensive part for a conveyor or sorter breaks down and halts a million-dollar operation. A replacement for the part in question is found to have not been reordered since it was last removed from the parts inventory. The entire system stops, including all the shipping and labour, and won’t begin again until they locate, have the part delivered, and have it installed. This cautionary tale has been told in offices and part cages for years, yet this same scenario plays out across distribution centres.

In this FORTNA blog, we examine four critical spare parts strategies to protect your operation from unplanned downtime and ensure it will have the necessary parts to keep your system up and running, 24/7/365.


Get a Recommended Spare Parts List (RSPL)

An RSPL is a document from the equipment manufacturer listing all the recommended spare parts to keep in stock. An operation’s RSPL can be a combination of lists from many manufacturers and brands supplying the warehouse equipment. Maintaining and effectively using these lists can be a significant undertaking because each manufacturer has its own terms of service and ordering platforms. Working with a supply chain partner like FORTNA can help you combine these lists into one RSPL that can be easily accessed and leveraged for seamless operations.

A RSPL can also result from a third-party assessment, where an expert technician or team of technicians provides a system health check onsite. The evaluation can include a parts cage assessment where they identify opportunities to improve spare parts’ storage and re-stocking practices and procedures.

Identify Critical Spare Parts

Almost as important as the RSPL, identifying critical spare parts is vital. Using historical parts ordering, spare parts replacement timing and maintenance data, an operation can recognise routine parts replacement windows, identify parts that may wear at a faster rate, and parts that are operationally crucial that need to be stocked at an appropriate level.

This step’s importance is magnified even more as lead times for some base parts and parts that include electronics continue to grow longer.


Manage Spare Parts Like Product Inventory

Unfortunately, some maintenance teams still use outdated methods to track spare parts, like spreadsheets or unintegrated databases. Maintenance teams can take a page from the distribution fulfilment centre playbook and treat their spare parts like inventory. Using software and scanners to check in and check out, a system’s spare parts stock can provide dependable part counts and alert staff when certain parts are below a safety level or out of stock.

Applying the same standards, rigor and best practices already in use in the warehouse can dramatically reduce the chance of a downtime event due to a spare parts shortage.

Streamline Parts Ordering

Many distribution centres have various brands of equipment installed and in use in their facility. Managing all the different types of equipment, ordering sites, varying terms of service, and warranties can be difficult. Working with a single point of contact for spare parts, like the FORTNA parts team, can reduce order time and confusion. Partnering with a company that can order most OEM parts and offers alternatives when lead times or costs become prohibitive can be a game changer for your operations. Engaging with a knowledgeable parts specialist can also help you understand when parts or devices become obsolete and help manage warranty claims.


FORTNA has a team of parts specialists ready to help you find and stock all the quality parts your operation needs and will help manage the warranty service to ensure seamless system performance. Discover our genuine, high-quality OEM parts planning, ordering and warranty processing, backed by FORTNA’s purchasing power and commitment to ensuring uptime.

Want to streamline your parts operation? Contact Nate Peterson today to get started or visit the FORTNA Parts website.

About the Author


Ben Lacy

Director of Parts Operations

Ben Lacy is the Director of Parts Operations for FORTNA and has 10+ years of experience in operations and supply chain management across multiple sectors. Ben has an undergraduate degree from Transylvania University where he majored in Political Science and minored in International Affairs and Sociology. He obtained his MBA with a concentration in Leadership and Corporate Strategy from Wake Forest University.