Leveraging Maximo for Inventory Management

John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant/Product Researcher, Total Resource Management (TRM), Inc. 

Posted 1/25/2024

Do we really have to talk about this? Maximo has had Inventory Management functionality for many, many years. Not only is the function present, but it interconnects to many of the other Maximo modules such as Purchasing and Work Management. Ok. We can talk.

using an inventory tracking system like Maximo can be helpful in inventory management

Maximo as an Inventory Tracking System

It all begins with defining the “items” you wish to keep track of. Whether these are items you have in stock now, are considering their purchase, or simply purchase then press into service, it all begins with the Item Master. What is an item you say? In general, it is all those consumable things you use to conduct your business. If it is something you buy, receive, then use up, it is easily an item in Maximo-speak.

However, other things can be stocked/inventoried as well. Services from your Vendors can also be inventoried. Say you have a contract with a consultant for them to provide 100 hours of time during the year. This Service can be entered into inventory and as the hours are worked, those hours can be reduced with official transactions against the quantity.

Assets as well, those pieces of equipment you purchase, inventory, issue out for work, and then perhaps return them to the warehouse can also be tracked within Maximo. Even as you receive these “items” their records are serialized and placed into stock for later use or issued immediately.

These same Assets can have lists of Spare Parts pre-established to assist those performing maintenance to know ahead of time what might be needed. These Spare Parts lists can start with the Bill of Material (BOM) from the manufacturer. You might not stock all of them from the beginning but knowing what you might need in the future is certainly helpful.

How does Purchasing play a role in this?

As you know, Maximo has end-to-end Purchasing functionality that is also integrated into the various modules. No matter if your Purchasing process is run entirely within Maximo, or via an external system, in the end, you use your approved POs to receive items into the warehouse.

When the items appear on the loading dock, your warehouse teams look up the list of approved POs awaiting receipt and perform the receiving process. Once complete, the items are officially in inventory and the PO will close out.

Later, when the invoice is received, you can perform the three-way match: What you ordered is what you received is what you are being billed for.

Back to Inventory Control

Items can be issued, returned, and transferred as needed to suit the needs of your business, all the while being tracked via official transactions. These debits and credits happen behind the scenes and can be read by external accounting systems.

Reservations for items can also be made during the planning phase of work orders. If the items needed to perform the work are known ahead of time, the work order makes reservations for those items in the Inventory system. The folks in the parts crib know what is coming and can pick and stage as needed. If the items need to be ordered, that is fine too since the need for reorder is clear and easily performed.

Reorder criteria can also be established for items… or not… to automate this critical process. Set the reorder points, safety stock, lead time, and preferred vendor and Maximo will churn out the necessary purchase orders for approval. Or turn off the automation and manually generate your reorders at the desired frequency.

Lots along with their expiration dates can be received and tracked as needed. Leveraging the Bins accommodation for items also helps to keep the stock organized. The scheme used to maintain these elements is up to you, no matter if it is your current approach or you are starting with a blank slate.

Items can be assembled into Kits as needed. Once you define a kit (just another item on your Item Master) you can assemble the kit using the items you have in stock. Maximo will tell you how many kits you can form with the quantities of items you currently have in stock. At any time, you can disassemble the kits into their discreet items and return them to stock.

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Built-in Inventory Software

There are many more functions built into the Maximo Inventory module. Physical counts, adjustments, and reconciliations can all be performed directly in the software. (Of course, these functions, like all Maximo functions, are managed via security settings so only the right people can do them.)

Notifications and reporting of issues also have functions built-in that can be configured to suit your needs. Whether active notifications such as emails or texts, or passive notifications such as Start Centers that indicate the issues at hand, Maximo easily informs your staff about what they need to focus on. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are also easily constructed for management to monitor.

How can TRM help with Inventory Tracking?

While most of the focus of use for Maximo is Asset and Work Management, the Inventory Tracking/Control and Purchasing side of the house is equally powerful. TRM has implemented all aspects of Maximo for all kinds of clients for many years. Also, do not forget that TRM has developed a feature set that uses the PunchOut standard to perform parts catalog lookup and ordering. As you plan to use parts on a Work Order, you can point to a catalog such as Grainger, lookup, and reserve those items in the Maximo Inventory system. Any online catalog service that uses this standard can be added to the system.

Let us know how we can help you take advantage of all of Maximo, so you can get its full value.

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John Q. Todd

John Q. Todd has nearly 30 years of business and technical experience in the Project Management, Process development/improvement, Quality/ISO/CMMI Management, Technical Training, Reliability Engineering, Maintenance, Application development, Risk Management, & Enterprise Asset Management fields. His experience includes work as a Reliability Engineer & RCM implementer for NASA/JPL Deep Space Network, as well as numerous customer projects and consulting activities as a reliability and spares analysis expert. He is a Sr. Business Consultant and Product Researcher with Total Resource Management, an an IBM Gold Business Partner – focused on the market-leading EAM solution, Maximo, specializes in improving asset and operational performance by delivering strategic consulting services with world class functional and technical expertise.

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