Now Hiring!


Are you looking for a new opportunity?  Do you know someone who is?  We are currently hiring for placement at our client location in Toledo, Ohio with immediate availability.  We have both Requisition (Order) Specialist positions open as well as Warehouse Specialists including nights.

If interested, please follow the below links to learn more and apply via!


Material Presentation Options in the Work Area – Keep Fill


In a recent blog posting I spoke briefly about having the RIGHT material presentation tools in the work area for your employees.  Today, I’d like to expand on that idea as well as begin a multi-blog series on the most common of these tools used in our industry.

Why use material presentation devices in the work area?  This is a common question and the answer is very simply, efficiency.  Be it a skilled tradesman, a mechanic, or a grounds keeper, their role in your organization is to repair or maintain things, and/or to perform some other function that is critical to your daily objective.  Ideally, you would like them completing those objectives as quickly as possible and correctly the first time.  What you really do not want to see, is time spent by these key individuals doing the non-value added tasks to get to their key objectives.  In support of that ideal, keeping the time used to chase a repair part, a planned replacement, or even office supplies is desired.  One way to acclomplish this task while still minimizing risk of inventory loss (as much as possible) is to use very well thought out, organized, and properly maintained work site presentation devices or POU (Point-Of-Use) devices for purposes of our discussion.

The first POU device I’d like to discuss is POU in it’s simplest form, the “Keep Fill” POU.  As pictured with this blog posting, the Keep Fill POU is simply a series of bins (or shelves, or even boxes if desired).  Each of these bins has an individual item in it based on what’s used in the general work area where you are placing the POU device.  There is only one bin of each item typically, and that bin holds an acceptable quantity (based on usage and cost).  The bins are well labeled and typically barcoded to allow ease of refilling them on a set frequency.

What do we put in the Keep Fill bins and how much?  These are great questions and each could have a slightly different answer depending on the POU philosophy that your organization adopts.  Typically, ValuePoint only recommends inexpensive, non-critical, or very high usage items for this type of POU.  This balance ensures you gain the maximum amount of efficiency (by not having your team members running to the storeroom or chasing orders all over) while minimizing the risk of financial loss by individuals who misuse or abuse the opportunity for efficiency (yes it will happen to you).  Placing only high usage items in the POU ensures you minimize “walk time” and gain maximum efficiency for the inventory risk.  Placing inexpensive items also ensures that you minimize that same financial risk, while placing non-critical items ensures you don’t have excess wasted time if the bin runs empty before you refill it on the next planned cycle.  Your organization may choose one or more of these types of material as part of your overall Keep Fill POU philosophy.  That decision depends greatly on the walk time to your local goods storage area, criticality of the work being done, and organizational financial decisions surrounding inventory and transactional cost.

One last critical idea to any POU is MAINTENANCE!  At some frequency, a team member is going to be needed to fill and maintain the overall POU.  It is critical during the setup phase that you carefully plan that process to also ensure maximum efficiency.  Ideally you also DO NOT want the team members who use the material to be the ones who fill the POU areas.  Doing so really defeats the purpose of efficiency in the first place.  Barcoded bins that support the use of scanning are an easy way to speed the refill process by automating the identification of what material is needed, the qty the bin holds, and dispersing the used material (if needed) from an inventory account to a pre-determined expense account as an example.  The POU will also require cleaning and other organizational maintenance with some regularity based on the environment, team member discipline to the process, and change management.

In the end, the mistake made by too many organizations is to underestimate what it takes to setup POU areas and PROPERLY maintain them.  What we typically see stepping into a new client location are POU areas that are overrun with material that doesn’t belong, bins that are not filled, or POU devices that look and operate beautifully but have all the wrong stuff!  As a result they get walked by daily so team members can waste time going all the way to the storeroom to get what they really need and what should have been in POU.  The bottom line is doing it wrong can cost you more than not doing it at all!

Take the time to call the experts.  Let’s discuss how a ValuePoint managed inventory program can bring your organization a return on the investment both from a spend and operational availability viewpoint today.  Not making money SELLING you the material means we can make decisions based on what’s best for YOU.

Do You Have the Right Tools to be Effective AND Efficient?


It doesn’t matter if you are a Skilled Tradesman in a manufacturing plant, a Mechanic in a community’s mass transit garage, or a Maintenance Technician supporting a state agency; if you are chasing the supplies and parts you need to do your job then your wasting time!

As part of our material management programs, ValuePoint offers a multitude of job side material presentation options including keep-fill bin programs, two bin point of use stations, secure cabinets, and a wide array of vending solutions with the latest technology.

Over the next few weeks we will highlight some of these approaches, the good and the bad associated with their use, and insight into their application.

What makes ValuePoint different when it comes to our services?  We are NOT a distributor!  As a result, these tools are implemented with minimizing usage and spend in mind versus sales goals!  They can also be filled with the product YOU choose and the brands YOU prefer!

Why not call us today and see how we can help you manage your indirect material?

Come See US at ProcureCon East 2018!!


ValuePoint Material Solutions will be both a Sponsor and an Exhibitor at this years ProcureCon 2018 East indirect material conference!  The conference is held annually with this year’s being February 20-22, 2018 at the Omni Amelia Island in Amelia Island, Florida!

We highly encourage you to come see us!  Stop in and see what we have to offer in terms of indirect material services, and while you are there you can scope out some great new sources for other goods and services as well!

Attendees and presenters include key representatives from some of the largest users of indirect material in both North America and the world.  The agenda is filled with both opportunities to network and learn more about this indirect material world we work and live in!

Click the link below to gain additional info!

ProcureCon East 2018

WRA? A Common Term in Indirect Material But What Does it Really Mean?


WRA is a common acronym used within the indirect material industry, but few really understand the complete meaning of what WRA entails within an operation if executed correctly.  As commonly referenced, WRA stands for Warranty and Repair Administration.  The short explanation is to administer, or manage the warranty and repair of assets within any given operation.  To fully understand the depth and breath of what the rest of the story is when it comes to WRA, we really need to break it down into several subsections.  To ease in a complete understanding I’m going to attempt to do so completely out of order, intentionally.

Let’s tackle the R in WRA first. Within the indirect material environment (where all material falls that isn’t part of the actual product being produced or services provided), any organization has a wide variety of material that is considered repairable after it fails in it’s intended use.  For a typical manufacturing organization you would normally expect to see machine components as an example.  A common WRA program’s inventory for the manufacturing environment is filled with components like motors, valves, cylinders, switches, control boards, tooling, etc.  These are all common components that MAY be repairable at a reduced cost vs replacing the failed component with a new one.  Conversely, for a school system the repairable assets might include things like projectors, kitchen equipment, steering pumps from buses and the like.  Lastly, and as a third example, a local community may have assets like lawn mower blades (used on the mowers that take care of their parks), or filtration units from the roof of a court house.

Regardless of WHAT the component is the question is not just one of repairing it, because like most things in life it’s just not that simple!

What does Administration within WRA really mean?  Well, as you might expect it means, essentially, to manage the repair program.  But as is often the case, that definition begs yet another question and that is what does Manage mean when it comes to WRA?  To manage a Repair program is much more than just repairing components that have failed.  In fact, the act of just getting stuff repaired is the easy part!  The repair of an item for any organization is really no different than buying a new one.  First you identify a source for the repair, i.e. someone who can fix the darn thing!  Then, as with any PO process you obtain a quote, cut the PO, send it to them, and BAM, they send it back fixed right?  Ok, I made that seem pretty simple but in reality it takes a bit more as anyone who has gotten something repaired knows all to well.

As I stated however the repair itself IS the easy part.  Managing a repair program is much more involved if done well than you may understand.  To best explain what I mean by this I have laid out a series of questions below.  You should ask yourself if you are addressing these aspects of repairable assets within your own organization or better yet if you use a service provider like ValuePoint, are they?  The fact is that you (or they) need to be! If not you are throwing money away faster than you may be saving it by even considering getting failed components repaired!

  1. Do you even need to repair it?  Ah Ha!!  All to often what we find is that once an organization understands that any given component that fails is repairable, every time one fails they repair it.  As a result of business changes over time, if you don’t consider the NEED for the asset you are repairing you will find yourself with a storeroom full of repaired items you are not using and have sat for months, years, or yes even decades!  You have to evaluate your inventory (a whole different topic) for balance on hand, usage, lead times, etc. and combine those data points with known business changes and decide BEFORE you ship it out if you should even be repairing it or frankly just throw it in the scrap or recycle bin!
  2. Is the repair value added?  By this I mean is the repair WORTH repairing.  What percentage of the cost of new should you pay to repair an item?   In the industry, the most common answer to that is 50%, but it’s much more common for organizations we see to not be looking at that at all!  Repaired items typically have roughly the same life expectancy as new at least after the first repair IF done in a quality fashion.  But the reality is that with more use, each additional repair tends to have a shortened life and in many cases I have seen the cost of a repair even exceed the cost of new.  If your organization isn’t comparing the quote to repair against the CURRENT cost to replace it with a new one IF IT’S EVEN NEEDED then you are throwing money away.
  3. Should you repair it?  Lot’s of components can be repaired but should you?  How do you know?  Assuming per the above that you truly have evaluated the need to replace the item, and then that the repair quote makes it worth repairing, the last item is one of should you still do it.  That question in the end is a gamble the first time you repair that type of item and it MUST be tracked!  If you have never had an item repaired you are dependent on the repair facilities word that they can effectively repair it to usable condition.  Assuming they convince you, you must ensure that you adequately track that repaired item to see if the repaired item has an acceptable life.  Managing a repair program means you serialize everything you get repaired.  When an item is then disbursed from a storeroom you need to track via that serial number that it has been disbursed and preferably to whom and for what.  You can then watch for that asset to come back to get repaired again and track the lifespan it had to assist in decisions of buy new or have it repaired.

Lastly there is the W in WRA.  Warranty.  Most organizations that ValuePoint visits simply do not have a repair program as part of their indirect management toolbox.  Establishing one is a first priority and frankly some of the “low hanging fruit” to saving money as we step in to supporting a new clients indirect spend.  For those organizations that do have a repairable asset program like we strongly suggest (and implement for our clients), the last step of properly administering a WRA program is capturing and claiming warranty opportunities.  Almost without exception, most repair facilities of just about any kind offer a warranty on their repair services.  Within the typical manufacturing environment as an example we normally see 1 year on any repair from the repair service provider.  The key to taking advantage of that repair is once again the track-ability of a SERIALIZED repair.  YOU need to know the date the component was repaired, the date it was disbursed out to the field to be used, and the date it came back broken again.  Each of these dates, depending on the terms and conditions of the repair facility you choose will be important to making a claim for early failure of a warrantied repair asset.  Those key data points are easy to track if your indirect material program as the MINIMUM level of effective controls it should have to control your spend, manage your inventory, and cut costs.

Are you repairing assets to reduce your indirect spend?  Are you properly managing those repairs to ensure you get your money’s worth?  Are you EFFECTIVELY managing your inventory to support GOOD decision making about what you stock, how many, and when?

If these answer to some or all of these questions is a no, or frankly if you need to take time to think about the answer then give us a call.  Indirect material is what we do, and all we do!  Let us come do it for you.

ValuePoint Achieves World Class Inventory Accuracy!


For the fourth year in a row, ValuePoint has again achieved the highest level of world class inventory accuracy on behalf of it’s client at one of the 30,000 sq.ft. offsite indirect warehouse’s we operate for them.  Filled with some 13,582 individual part numbers at a value of $15.2 million dollars, the quick and accurate operation of this facility is critical to support a very tight just in time manufacturing environment.

With everything from janitorial supplies to critical machine spare parts in stock, a full physical inventory of every part number is conducted annually.  Jointly completed recently for 2016, it was found that only 55 part numbers had ANY type of inventory count discrepancy.  This level of performance equates to a part number accuracy rate of 99.6%!  Updating system counts on the 55 part numbers which did contain minimal errors, required correcting inventory transactions that had a NET financial impact of just $552.65.  With over $15.2M in inventory, the client can rest easy that their valuable inventory is controlled and properly managed at a very high level by the ValuePoint team.  In fact, it’s the same team in this instance that has achieved this level of inventory accuracy during each year’s annual physical for 4 years in a row.

Led and executed daily by a team that is committed to excellence, they put our processes, systems, and accountability to work daily to achieve this type of success.  While not easy, for those customers that allow us to put this approach to work for them, this level of performance is absolutely achievable and directly results in an improved bottom line.

We are extremely proud of this team as well as the entire ValuePoint family for all they do on behalf of our client’s.

Data – Your MOST Valuable Indirect Asset


While you may feel like the machine spare parts, janitorial supplies, or chemicals you buy and stock are your most important MRO assets, the reality is they come second to your indirect material data!

Common even in 2016, many very large manufacturing organizations still utilize excel spreadsheets and frankly even note pads to manage their indirect storerooms and purchasing processes.  Even those that made the transition to the use of ERP systems in many cases continue to under-apply or even miss-apply those systems to the abnormal world of indirect material.

The reality is that your ability to accurately and effectively procure indirect material as well as properly manage it, disburse it, and continually improve your approach to it depends on the data your collecting and its accuracy.  Consider a couple scenarios and how they may apply to the organization you serve today:

  1.  Do you collect data using an ERP system however the quality of that data is very low making it almost useless?  As an example manufacturer part numbers are buried in descriptions instead of having their own database field where they are easily searched, categorized, and analyzed.  Do your maintenance teams as a result find it easier to visually “shop” your storeroom instead of searching the system for exactly what they need in seconds?
  2. How about manufacturer names?  Is a particular brand entered into the system multiple ways depending on who entered it?  As an example consider the fake company I’ll call Widget, LLC, makers of the famed widget.  Within any given data set we see, Associates allowed to enter data in an ERP system may have identified them as Widget LLC, Widget, Widget, Inc, or even miss-spelled their name as Widgit.  Unless you can identify these all as the same brand, your means to pull data and negotiate with Widget, LLC directly or with their distributor base is severely hampered.  Searching your system for a part made by Widget, llc might just mean you don’t believe you have it on hand when you really do.  In fact, you may have a lot of them and they have not been used in years because they are not found when you search the system.
  3. Still using that Excel spreadsheet to manage your storeroom?  Do you encounter Team Members who forget to leave a ticket or note indicating what they took from the crib and where they used it?  Unfortunately, unless you cycle count your whole storeroom every single day manually this means your inventory isn’t accurate and downtime will occur.  It also guarantees a lot of hours will regularly be expended chasing and expediting parts to get it back up and running.
  4. Do you know WHO is using your indirect material and where?  Do you keep track down to a name and a machine, cell, or area number?  If not, then your ability to hold people accountable to your indirect material spend is minimal at best.  And your ability to identify manufacturing issues driving up your indirect material spend is a guessing game.

While just a few simple examples, these basics can make a big difference in your indirect spend and an even bigger difference in your up-time and resource availability.  It doesn’t matter if you’re manufacturing clocks, trying to manage a public transit fleet, or supporting a group of community schools.  Not knowing what you have, where it is, and how it’s being used means you’re wasting money.

If you feel you do not have the funding to hire someone to help fix these issues, consider using a fraction of what you’re currently spending not to.

ValuePoint Team Member Hosts First Responder Cook Out!


On Monday, September 5, 2016 Brad Pollack, a Team Leader at our warehouse in Spring Hill, TN hosted a cook out for first responders in the Spring Hill community.  Inviting the local Police Officers, Fire Departments, EMT’s, and Dispatch, Brad took it upon himself to collect donations from local grocery and departments stores to say thank you to those protecting the Spring Hill community by cooking them lunch.

We here at ValuePoint could not be more proud of our Associates and Brad is another great example of the ValuePoint family.

Thank you Brad and thank you to the Spring Hill First Responders!

Eric J Larson, CEO