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The Maintenance Management Blog

July 01, 2024

How To Ensure Success In Inventory Issues-Returns

Image: Two maintenance techs in stockroomWhen you undertake maintenance jobs, you often require inventory. Many jobs may not need the amount or number of stock items taken from the stockroom. A technician returns those extra items. In this article, we’ll look at how to ensure success in inventory issues and returns.

Simplicity is Key:

Issuing inventory and accepting unused parts for restocking needs organization.

Work order

One suggestion calls for no inventory issues unless a stockroom manager sees a work order. Know what leaves with the maintenance, how much, the asset needing attention, and who receives the items.

Having this information before the part leaves the storage room ensures adequate oversight. You have a record of the “transaction” or the transfer of stock.


Use much of the same above information with the return of unused items. Having a record of the work order and the issuance helps.

For instance, the technician requests and receives three items. Three returned.

  • Verify the quantity from the original issuance.
  • Verify that the items returned are the correct items. For instance, one of the three items returned wasn’t part of the original issuance.
  • Verify that the same person who received the items returned the unused stock. This helps avoid later confusion.

In some operations, returning parts might rank lower for busy tradespeople. However, you should make the process simple. You need to maintain the accuracy of quantities. Records kept show what stock moves, how often, and helps with purchasing.

Consideration for Potential Returns:

Other factors enter into the success of inventory issues and returns.

Quality Assurance for Returned Parts: Verify that the returned parts still function. You have a problem if you have four filters in stock for future jobs but the one that a technician returned ended up damaged.

Documentation and Testing Protocols: In many instances, supervisors have a procedure to determine quality assurance. They document a record for future review.

Tamper-Evident Packaging: Consider the use of “tamper-evident” packaging for parts requiring inspection beyond visual examination. For instance, heat-sealed plastic bags for hydraulic, electronic, and similar parts. If the packaging remains unopened, they don't need inspection.

Ensuring Completeness: Be sure to judge that the technician returns all parts of the parts. Again, if a hydraulic pump lacks a bushing, then you'll have a problem later.


A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) helps you manage your inventory by having a list of each part. Relevant information may include description, quantity, manufacturer, cost, and associated assets.

Then, the CMMS can help a supervisor organize the stockroom by assigning each part a location. A common designation is aisle>shelf>bin. This saves search time for either the maintenance worker or the stockroom manager.

For some assets, you may want to develop bundled or "kitted" parts for even better efficiency. For instance, a particular asset always needs the same parts for each preventive maintenance job. You gather these parts, say in a duffel bag for easy transport.

A quality CMMS also will have a feature to institute an issue/return procedure for inventory. The stockroom manager uses the same system to reconcile returned items.

A facility may not implement all of these issue/return procedures. However, a maintenance manager should discuss the following goals with the team.

  • Reducing the instances of missing items.
  • Damaged parts.
  • Unavailable parts.
  • Cluttered stockroom.

What process would best achieve those goals? Consider a CMMS to overcome confusion of a disorganized stockroom, and to ensure success in inventory issues and returns.


Inventory counts as a huge expense for companies. When parts arrive without notice or "disappear," you end up with more financial challenges. A disorganized stockroom risks having too many items that don't move. You also risk losing track of parts, then later thinking you don't have enough…so you place a purchase order.

To ensure you have success in inventory issues and returns, you must implement a system that accounts for all parts. You need a documented history of when parts come in, when they go out, and when unused parts return.

A CMMS helps organize all of this. For a world-class system, consider MAPCON. 800-922-4336. Ask for a demonstration of the powerful issue/return feature.


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: inventory, issue-return, CMMS, maintenance — Stephen Brayton on July 01, 2024