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Plant Management

Are these common errors undermining your kitting process?

March 29, 2023
By Michel Côté, Senior reliability consultant at Laurentide

In my work as a consultant, part of the maintenance and reliability diagnostics I carry out at Contrôles Laurentide's clients involves visiting and auditing installations dedicated to kitting.

What is kitting?

As the name suggests, kitting involves pre-assembling all the key components into kits in order to simplify the repair and/or maintenance process of an equipment. It allows technicians and other professionals to have the necessary parts, materials and tools to carry out repairs and other services quickly and efficiently. Thus it is a key element of efficient industrial maintenance planning.

A process that begins with good intentions

A properly deployed kitting process easily returns more than it costs by:

  • Increasing the efficiency of maintenance work
  • Reducing downtime of equipment when performing scheduled work
  • Minimizing delays and wasting time looking for the required material to perform the job.

But often, what we find is that the kitting process fails and leads to a buildup of kits that gather dust, or parts and materials left abandoned in the designated area.

Zone de kitting laissée à l'abandon dans une usine
Zone de kitting laissée à l'abandon dans une usine

Examples of Kitting Zones Left Unmanaged and Abandoned

Several reasons can explain why a plant can have difficulties running their kitting process effectively.

Among the most common causes are a poor prioritization of the work backlog by planners, or an excessive percentage of misscheduling that pushes back the realization of planned and kitted jobs.

Another very common problem is when the planner requests to prepare a large number of kits that are included in the "Ready to Execute" work backlog list. However, these jobs remain in the work backlog for months (or even years) in some of the companies we visited, which inevitably leads to chaos in the kitting zone, as well as a loss of efficiency and credibility in the scheduling and planning process.


Money on the shelves and unnecessary expenses

A deficient kitting process will have repercussions on the company's working capital, since the value of the parts and materials purchased or taken from the warehouse to be kitted can represent tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment and immobilization.

It is important to note that most industrial plants typically reorder parts automatically, without considering whether or not the maintenance work will be executed: this can lead to excess inventory if the kits are eventually returned to the store for the items to be restocked.

How can these errors be prevented?

Here are some important items to consider for the deployment of a kitting process:

  • Having previously deployed a planning and scheduling process that has reached a certain level of maturity. This step is essential!
  • Keeping on top of the list of pending work orders, both in terms of its content and the priorities assigned.
  • Developing with operations a prioritization matrix of work orders that will be based on risk rather than emotions.
  • Identifying someone who will be responsible for the maintenance and tracking of the kitting zone.
  • Conducting compliance audits of the kitting process and measuring and communicating results with performance indicators (KPIs).
Zone de kitting bien aménagée et gérée

Examples of properly managed kitting zones

To learn more about planning and kitting

Vous désirez en apprendre davantage sur les bonnes pratiques au niveau du kitting? N’hésitez pas à nous contacter ou à participer à nos séances de formation de 2 jours en planification et ordonnancement de la maintenance.

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