InventoryThere are three types of item and three applications for registering them. The Item Master application is used for materials items, referred to as items. The Service Items application is used for standard service items, referred to as services. The Tools application is used for tool items, referred to as tools. All three types of item are stored in the same table, but services and tools are views on the item table.

Both items and tools can be stocked in a storeroom. The Inventory application is used for items and the Stocked Tools application is used for tools. Items and tools can both be set to be rotating. A rotating item or rotating tool is an item that has an associated asset, referred to as a rotating asset. If there is a current balance of 10 items in a storeroom then there will be 10 assets in that storeroom that reference the rotating item. These assets are issued from the storeroom and are expected to be returned to it, often for repair or servicing. These are often movable assets and tools which need to be tracked from storeroom to operating location or person, to repair shop and back to a storeroom waiting to be issued again.

Items exist in an Item Set. An item set can be shared across one or more organizations, but an organization can only reference one item set. When an item changes status it changes status at the item set level. There is an action called Item/Organization Details where the status can be changed for each organization that belongs to the item set. For items and tools there is also a status at the storeroom level in Inventory and Stocked Tools applications. There is a checkbox for rolling the new status down to organization and inventory levels.

The Inventory Usage and Issues and Transfers applications handle issues, returns and transfers of items and tools. The Issues and Transfers application has now been superseded by the Inventory Usage application although some long time Maximo clients will still be using this application. The Inventory Usage application would be used for inter-storeroom transfers. Logistics processes can be handled between the Inventory Usage and Shipment Receiving applications.

Item Master

The Item Master application is used for registering material items against a particular item set. The initial status of new items is Pending, other statuses are Planning, Active, Pending Obsolescence and Obsolete. At Pending and Obsolete status the item will not appear in lookups.

Items can reference a Commodity Group and Commodity Code. This is a two-level hierarchy that is used across all three types of item and there is an action Add/Modify Commodity Codes for their maintenance. Additionally, an Item can be classified, and the classification can exist in a multi-level hierarchy. Associated with each classification in its class structure (the hierarchy) can be a set of attributes which together with the classification can be used to generate the item’s description so that consistency in part naming is achieved. The classification’s attributes can be supported with a domain set of values to limit the values which can be entered for the attribute.

Assets that are held in storerooms and tracked will need to be marked as Rotating. Some rotating items can be added into a hierarchy called an Item Assembly Structure (IAS). The IAS may contain other rotating items or consumables (non-rotating items).  The rotating items may themselves have children, a subassembly. When assets are created and associated with a rotating item, or a quantity of rotating items are received, and assets created for each, then an IAS can be applied to the assets and this creates the asset’s subassemblies and spare parts.

Another use of the Item Assembly Structure tab is to record the items that make up a kit of parts. Kits are items in their own right. Kits are held in inventory waiting to be issued as a whole. They are assembled and disassembled through actions found in the Inventory application and this handles the changes to the balances. Kits only apply to items and not tools. The kit cannot contain rotating items, condition enabled items or items that have lots.

The item can reference a meter group if it is a rotating item or a meter if it is a non-rotating item. The meter group is copied to the assets created when the rotating item is received against a purchase order. The meter group could have any number of meters. The meters are often used on the assets for determining when work should be performed based on usage or condition. For non-rotating items and tools, the meter is used to record a value when the item is issued to an asset with a matching meter. This is most often used with liquids and gases to record the volume of the item used on an asset, a metered material usage.

Items can be condition enabled, this only applies to material items and not tools. The same item can exist in a storeroom but with different condition codes, for example New, Rebuilt, Used. Each condition code has a percentage condition rate, new would be 100, rebuilt may be 70, used might be 30. The condition rate is applied to the item’s cost to determine a cost of the item at a particular condition. You can record the balance of the item at its different condition codes and which bin the items exist in at the condition code level. The use of condition codes avoids having to have duplicate items.

As you work through the Item Master application one thing to consider is the unit of measure to be used for ordering and the unit of measure to be used for the issue of the item. There are actions to Add/Modify Units of Measure and Add/Modify Conversions. A conversion is how you convert from the order unit to the issue unit and this can optionally be specific to the item. For example, I buy a box of 25 of an item but issue with a unit of measure of EACH. A unit of measure of BOX25 could be a generic unit of measure used for the order unit with a conversion factor of 25. In this way you could also have BOX50 or BOX100 with different conversion factors.

A useful addition to an item is to add an image using the action Add/Modify Image. Using the attachments icon will also allow you to link web pages to the item to help requisitioners to understand what they are requesting.

When the details for the item are complete then it is likely that you will use the Add Items to Storeroom action which is where you can indicate whether the item in a storeroom is owned by a vendor, a consignment item. The same dialog box is used to indicate the unit cost and default bin. You will also need to change the status to Active for the item to be used, this needs to also be done at the organization level using the action Item/Organization Details.

Condition Codes

Condition Codes is a simple application where you define the condition codes that can be used on a material item. The condition codes are defined against an item set and so will be common across all organizations belonging to that item set. The condition rate determines the percentage of the unit cost of an item that will be used for the item with a particular condition code.

Storerooms

The Storerooms application is where a new storeroom is set up prior to adding items and tools to it. There are various general ledger control and variance accounts which may need to be added if you are performing inventory accounting and a ship to and bill to address that are used on purchase orders during the reorder process. A read-only tab shows the stocked items held in the storeroom along with the current balance.

The Storeroom application will rarely be used except in the initial set-up unless the GL accounts need to be adjusted. A checkbox called ‘Use in PO/PR’ is used to indicate whether the storeroom can supply another storeroom during a reorder process for an inventory item and whether the storeroom can be used on an internal Purchase Requisition or Purchase Order, a request for an inter-storeroom transfer.

Storerooms are defined at the Site level.

Inventory

The Inventory application is where the current balance of a material item in a storeroom is held and the application from which a reorder process is initiated. There are two types of reservation. A hard reservation of an item immediately affects available balance and there has to be enough of the item in stock to meet the quantity demanded. A soft reservation indicates a demand for inventory but not a firm request. A third setting can be used for an item – Automatic.  With Automatic Maximo will create either a hard (APHARD) or soft (APSOFT) reservation based on the required date of the item and the lead time to procure the item. A check box is provided so that the inventory item will only accept a hard reservation which is a reasonable method to follow until Maximo is set up and vendors and lead times have been established for the items. If a hard reservation is requested but cannot be satisfied, then it becomes a back order (BACKORDER) reservation until a point when a new balance will turn the reservation to a hard one.

There are three stock categories, stocked, non-stocked and special order. Stocked (STK) is used to define that the item can be stocked and added to a storeroom. A non-stocked item (NS) is normally one where the item is not used enough to justify retaining a storeroom balance, although a balance may exist, it is a direct order item and will be typically purchased on request. A special order item (SP) does not exist as an item until the requisitioner creates one by selecting the special order item type, it will be a direct order and will be purchased when the requisition is approved.

The significance of the stock category becomes apparent when reordering. A stock category of STK will set the reorder flag and you should adjust the reorder point and lead time on the Reorder Details tab as they have been defaulted to zero. A stock category of NS and SP will leave the reorder flag unchecked, a reservation is satisfied, like services, as a direct issue item via a PR/PO process.

When the reorder flag is checked the reorder process can be run either manually or automatically through a background process (a cron task). The reorder calculation determines the quantity of an item to order based on the reorder point (ROP), how many of the item are reserved and the available balance. It will take into consideration the lead time for the item because if the lead time is one month and on average the item is used each week then the usage pattern needs to be taken into consideration when determining the order quantity. There is a field in the Storerooms application which will consider the most recent receipt and how much this should influence the lead time to use in the calculation. Finally, the reorder calculation considers the economic order quantity (EOQ) and will round the order quantity up so that it is a multiple of the EOQ.

An item is held in a storeroom in bins and the balance also exists at this level. The current balance value you see at the top of the Inventory application screen may be a sum of the current balance in multiple bins of the storeroom. A material item may also have a lot type of LOT. Lots are used for items with a shelf life and an expiration date. A lot number is allocated during receipt it may either be a lot/batch number provided by the manufacturer or one that is manually created. When issuing the item, the balance should be reduced on the oldest stock first, there is a field to indicate the expired quantity in stock.

The Inventory application supports four costing methods adjustable at the inventory level. They are standard, average, and two methods for valuation at actual receipt costs, last in first out (LIFO), first in first out (FIFO). The cost type can be changed through an action. The standard and average cost can also be adjusted through an action.

The Inventory application supports consignment stock. During a reorder the PO is considered a request to replenish the stock. Payment will not occur on receipt but on use. When a consignment item is issued an invoice is generated either immediately, or at a frequency, for example 90 days, or a consignment invoice can be created manually in the Invoices application.

The Inventory application has various reports including ABC analysis, EOQ Analysis, ROP Analysis and Inventory Cycle Count. Actions are provided to support a physical count and then to reconcile balances to the actual counts entered. The ABC Analysis report analyses issued quantities and last cost to sort each inventory item into a category of A, B or C and associated with each category will be a cycle count frequency in days. This is used to determine when next to perform a physical count on an item.

The inventory application supports adding or modifying reservations, issuing (or returning) an item, issuing an item to multiple assets, and transferring an item to another storeroom, there are actions for each of these.

Service Items

Service Items are standard services that you purchase regularly, they are ordered through the PR/PO process and may be associated with a contract. Like material items they can belong to a commodity group and code and have a classification and attributes that can be used to generate a description for the service. Service items are defined at the item set level and need to be set to ACTIVE status at both the set level and at the organization level before they can be referenced in other Maximo applications.

Services can be prorated across other received items. For example, freight charges may be distributed across the items that have been purchased.

Service items can be referenced on Purchase Contracts and Warranty/Service Contracts. Purchase Contracts are used for each instance that you need the service or to receive a total number of hours or days of service. The Warranty/Service Contracts provides for coverage services over a period of time. For example, snow removal at a factory site over a 6-month period when snow is likely.

Service Items can also be used on a job plan and work order. When the work order is approved the services are ordered through the PR/PO process. If a purchase contract has been set up that references the service item it will be referenced on the PR/PO and this should then ease the PO through the procurement process. Services are received in a similar manner to materials but through the Service Receipts tab of the Receiving application. An inspection may be required as part of the receiving process, this can be controlled from a setting on the service item record. The Receipt Tolerance is another useful field for indicating the percentage value over the PO that will be acceptable without requiring a revision to the PO.

Tools

Tool items have many similarities to material items, for example there can be rotating, and non-rotating tools and tools can be held in a storeroom through the Stocked Tools application. Like material items they can belong to a commodity group and code and have a classification and attributes that can be used to generate a description for the tool. Tool items are defined at the item set level and need to be set to PLANNING or ACTIVE status at both the set level and at the organization level before they can be referenced in other Maximo applications.

Unlike material items, tools cannot be condition enabled and have a set of condition codes. The Tools application does not have an Item Assembly Structure tab, however, once tool assets have been created that reference the tool item, an item assembly structure can be added to it to create subassemblies and spare parts. A tool item cannot be a kit of parts; however, a non-rotating tool item can exist in the kit of parts.

Tool items can have a set of qualifications, the qualifications required by a person to be able to use the tool. It is on the Labor record of the person where the qualification is registered. Crews can have a set of required tools and the assigned tool assets are registered against the crew. There is an action available on the list tab to make the tools available for use with crews.

Tools can be marked as being externally owned, similar to a consignment item in Item Master. They can be included in lease/rental contracts if they are rotating tools. Similarly, rotating items created in Item Master can be used on lease/rental contracts, but tools are more useful for plant hire because you can charge an hourly rate for the use of the tool on the work order. The Tool Rate is entered in the Tool/Organization Details action.

If you have the Maximo Calibration option tools are used for measuring and test equipment (M&TE).  You can attach a data sheet to a tool and on the Assets application some actions only work if the asset is a tool, for example View Spot Check History. If you are, or are thinking of, using Maximo Calibration then you should be considering using the Tools application in favour of Item Master.

Stocked Tools

The Stocked Tools application is for tool items the equivalent of the Inventory application for material items. It has similar functionality but there are some differences.

Balances of the tool item are held in bins and lots although lots are unlikely to be used you can set the lot type to LOT. There is no Reorder Details Tab or a Reorder action. Tools are not consumables, a tool which is issued is expected to be returned.

Reservations can be both hard and soft. In the Stocked Tools application, you can view the reservations but there is no action to add/modify reservations. However, they will be seen in the same action on the Inventory and in the Inventory Usage applications. The stock category for tools can be stocked (STK) or non-stocked (NS).

There are no costing methods for tools because they are capitalized and this cannot be modified. Tools are charged out at an hourly unit rate, quite different from a material item which is charged using a unit cost. Again, the hourly unit rate is demonstrating that expectation that after the tool has been used it will be returned to the storeroom, but for tools which are issued to a person and only returned when they change jobs then the hourly rate may be zero.

Actions are provided to support a physical count and then to reconcile balances to the actual counts entered, or to adjust the current balance. The Stocked Tools application supports issuing (or returning) and transferring the tool item to another storeroom, there are actions for each of these.

Inventory Usage

The Inventory Usage application is a relatively recent addition to Maximo (v7.5) and was designed to be a replacement of Issues and Transfers which exists to support legacy clients. The big advantages over Issues and Transfers is that the Inventory Usage application creates a document record that has a status and could be passed through a workflow process. It allows multiple issues and transfers to exist as part of the same fulfilment request and it also supports staging and shipping and with the Shipment Receiving application logistics processes can be supported.

When creating a new Inventory Usage record you choose the usage type, issue, transfer or mixed (both issues and transfers) and the storeroom from which the items will be issued or transferred. On the Usage Lines you select reserved items, items to be returned or just create new rows as required. Both Items and Tools can be issued, returned and transferred and these transactions are supported for both rotating and non-rotating items and tools.

For issued items you must say who you are issuing the item or tool to. If the item is rotating, you also need to select the rotating asset. When you have chosen a usage type of transfer then the transfer details section will appear to allow you to enter the destination storeroom and bin.

The usage line will need the quantity to be issued, returned or transferred. If the quantity to be issued or transferred cannot be fulfilled from the same bin or lot, then the quantity can be split across multiple bins/lots. This splitting functionality is used for rotating items when a quantity greater than one has been requested so that individual transactions are created for each rotating asset. An automatic split function is provided that will evaluate the required quantity from the requested bin and if it cannot be satisfied a dialog box will appear for you to select the bins that will satisfy the requested quantity.

The Inventory Usage application supports both staging and shipping. The original status will be ENTERED, the status can then be changed to STAGED, SHIPPED or COMPLETE. You can move directly to complete or via a staging process, or via both a staging and shipping process. Staging is where the storeman picks the items from the bins and sets them aside waiting to be collected. There is a default staged bin for each inventory item, or you can specify a particular bin to use for the staging. The current balance is adjusted by the quantity moved to the staging bin and there is a field on the Inventory or Stocked Tools application to show the quantity that is staged. If the Inventory Usage document has an item to be returned, then it cannot be staged.

Only items marked for transfer can be shipped. Therefore, if you are going to use the shipped status and the Shipment Receiving application then keep the usage type to TRANSFER. If MIXED and you have issues and transfers, then from a status of STAGED your only option is to COMPLETE. For a transfer to be completed the item or tool must exist in the destination storeroom.

A separate shipment record is created which can have multiple shipment lines. You can select the shipment address and the carrier to be used and provide a packing slip number. It is at this point that the Shipment Receiving application would be used by the receiving storeroom. There are settings to govern when shipments will be required, they will be required for across organization transfers, but you can decide whether they are needed for all transfers or ones involving different sites. An internal purchase order may be required for transfers made across sites or across organizations.

There is functionality to automatically create Inventory Usage documents for new reservations. There is also functionality to create a new Inventory Usage document when the reservations have been partially satisfied by the quantity in stock. For example, I reserve a quantity of 10 but only 6 can be provided from the storeroom. The quantity of 6 can be issued and an action used to create a new inventory usage document for the remaining quantity of 4, this might then be transferred from another storeroom.

There are actions to add/modify reservations and view all transactions for the inventory usage document. There is also functionality to match new records to existing reservations and return records. You can choose to reference the reservation on the Inventory Usage document and choose to maintain the quantity required or the remaining reserved quantity.

Issues and Transfers

The Issues and Transfers application has been replaced by the Inventory Usage application. However, it does look much simpler and existing clients using Maximo before v7.5 may still be using it.

It is based on a storeroom and has three tabs for Issues/Returns, Transfer Out, and Transfer In. The core functionality for issuing, returning and transferring is the same. There is no Staging and Shipping statuses, in fact no statuses at all, and the handling of partial quantities or splitting the reservation across multiple bins will take multiple steps.

Where the Issues and Transfers application could be useful is as a very simple way of handling issues and returns from a storeroom where there is a storeman. The storeroom would already be selected. When the person arrives with their work order he/she uses the Select Reserved Items button, filters by work order number, selects all the items, then runs around the bins picking up the items and quantity. There probably needs to be a report or a mobile application for the items to be picked as you don’t want to save until you have verified the quantities required are actually available. This is where a document like Inventory Usage becomes handy.