Guest Column | September 13, 2010

Guest Column: The New MRO Normal — Doing More With Less

By Robert Holmes, Marketing Director, WinWare, Inc.

We hear a lot about the "new normal" in business these days. Most often this term is used to describe our new economic outlook. It is also used to describe the new business outlook. I have even seen it used to describe the changing temperatures on our planet. And these may all be big-picture truths. It is hard to deny that there truly is a "new normal" for each of these facets of life. But what does "new normal" mean beyond the big picture? What does it mean to our everyday lives? To our work? To the management of MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) materials?

OK... I agree. It seems odd to take a lofty discussion about how the world is changing economically and environmentally and apply it to something like MRO. Even in the world of manufacturing, where the use of MRO material is critical to production, it has not been given much thought over the last 20 years. So why in the world should we change our thinking just because we are living in the "new normal" era? What used to be a mundane task — making sure people have materials to complete their job — is now being reconsidered. The "just get it" attitude that most manufacturers had toward MRO materials in the past is now changing.