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LEAN Materials Management for College Campus Stockrooms and Physical Plant Operations

Materials management is an essential core function of the logistics processes and realities for expansive environments like college campuses, especially those with multiple units and locations. A large investment in systems and human resources is devoted to procuring, receiving, and managing both materials and supplies. In addition, a large investment is expended on either the movement and tracking of items over multiple locations on a campus or multi-campuses. If not handled efficiently, mishaps and errors can be unproductive, and in some cases cause significant financial or physical harm.

The drivers that define the materials management processes within Higher Education institutions are varied. They include scientific research, Bio-Medical practices, managing classroom lab requirements/logistics, and inventory management for running the physical plant of the campus. Each of these areas demand differing sets of materials management and logistics competencies, including the processes of requisition, ordering, receiving, verification, tracking, usage, storage, and disposal.

In addition to classic inventory management requirements for tracking supplies used in repair and replacement type operations, colleges must also monitor the use and storage of hazardous materials utilized to support their curriculum.

Overcoming Challenges To increase productivity and if properly executed, eliminate wasted resources, colleges should implement flexible materials management software that smoothly handles the varied and complex requirements of higher education maintenance operations.

Effective materials management software provides higher-ed organizations a platform that both unify inventory and enterprise asset management logistics, while giving each department or academic entity the flexibility to meet internal KPIs and SLAs. It improves safety, reduces costs by eliminating wasteful purchases and provides a streamlined inventory requisition and management structure.


Benefits of a Lean approach to Materials Management Colleges and universities can save time and increase efficiency levels with materials management software that is architected on the principles of LEAN operations processes. Here, wasteful procedures are eliminated and productivity is enhanced. Some advantages are given below:

Implementation of an Integrated Purchasing Process – Maintenance management software interoperates with financial management systems through electronically automated processes, which accentuate efficiency and provide opportunities for competitive pricing negotiations, just in time delivery, and greater overall visibility.

Transparency in Operations – The software provides a transparent view of assets and inventory. It also helps in providing smart staffing solutions with smarter budgeting and purchasing decisions.

Safety Standards and Compliance- The software provides complete visibility into addressing hazardous materials inventory and ensuring complete safety on the campus with apt regulations compliance. Bar code technology and serialization provides accurate issue and return as well as appropriate charge-back of chemicals and supplies used in laboratories.

Fosters Productivity – The software helps to streamline operations by providing synchronized materials and tool availability for critical tasks such as maintenance work, safety inspections, or student housing repairs.

Properly architected and implemented materials management software combined with a thorough approach in understanding how each organizational entity performs work, processes information, and interoperates provides a streamlined automation platform to manage and control all logistics associated with bringing in and tracking materials, assets, and supplies on Colleges and University Campuses.


LEAN Materials Management for College Campus Stockrooms and Physical Plant Operations