Highlighting the big opportunities

Posted on 16 Apr 2024 by The Manufacturer

Pamela Bingham, CEO at ERIKS UK & Ireland explains how business strategy experts emphasise the critical nature of a new leader's first six months in post, shaping their perceptions of the tasks ahead while allowing colleagues to form opinions about their leadership style. With this in mind, she reflect on her initial days at ERIKS.

A question many leaders must ask themselves is – ‘I have joined a good business, what am I going to do to add value and make it even better?’ One of the first things that I want to do is to speak directly to my peers – the leaders of manufacturing and engineering businesses – and to discuss with them their pain points and get under the hood of their operations. Interestingly, Interestingly, ERIKS has just launched a piece of research which shows, more clearly than ever before, the link between Maintenance, Repair and Operational (MRO) practices and downtime. I’d like to bring this report, The MRO Supply Chain, to the attention of my peers as it’s exactly the type of information they are looking for. It clearly lays out where there are huge savings and profit opportunities in their businesses that they may not be aware of. This report will help them ask the right questions in the right areas to reveal huge potential wins for their businesses.


Among the revelations the report makes, for the first time, is a direct link between unscheduled downtime and the operation of the engineering stores, the supply chain, and the MRO procurement function. The survey clearly shows that in 2023 the main causes of downtime in UK manufacturing businesses were due to spares availability and lead time issues.

Highlighting the big opportunities
Pamela Bingham, CEO at ERIKS UK & Ireland

A further revelation covered in the report is that UK manufacturers businesses are collectively writing off millions of pounds of MRO stock every year. Comparisons between data collected in 2016 and 2023 show that oversight in this area has declined markedly and that stockpiling, undertaken as a reaction to Brexit, the global pandemic and more recently the conflict in Ukraine, has resulted in businesses both tying up cash in inventory and writing that investment off as products age or go unused. The serious issue of MRO product obsolescence is covered in detail in the report.

Another finding of the report highlights the issue of ‘squirrel stores’. These ‘squirrel stores’ occur when engineers build their own private stock of MRO equipment. While seemingly innocuous the presence of ‘squirrel stores’ sadly brings into focus the lack of trust that engineers have with their stores and purchasing teams and the report also looks at the ramifications for the accuracy of data about a sites’ performance. With 55% of respondents declaring this as an issue, the report looks at the trend and suggests some potential solutions.

My first six months at ERIKS were a real pleasure, busy but exhilarating. There is much to do as no business is perfect and I am looking forward to using my skills and experience to lead us forward, but I am energized by what I have found and the people I have spoken to. I am looking forward to sharing with you what I find and how my thoughts develop along the journey.

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