How important is this? Seems like a simple question, but it is one that doesn’t get asked or expressed often enough.
We hear them so often that "I need it yesterday!" and "R.F.N. could be mottos of the aggregates crushing and mining industries. Not everything is truly a rush order, and the challenge our parts department and their customers face is knowing if a part is truly a rush order and how to handle the delivery accordingly. If you're calling about the part, it's obvious.
At ELRUS, handling this challenge properly is something that we take an immense amount of pride in. However, sometimes we need help. In trying to arm ourselves with the ability to handle the RFN type orders, we have talked with the key outside parties that can help us to make things happen. Regardless of the party, be it a customer, supplier, or transportation company, the following trend emerged in talking about the different levels of a rush:
- Operations Down / Emergency – There is no level of order higher than this, typically in this situation, the cost of making it happen is at best a distant consideration. The cost of downtime is typically such that “Don’t bother telling me how much it costs (within reason), just get it coming,” is the stance that an operator takes. Imminently down can also fall into this level.
- Critical wear piece – “I don’t have a spare, and I’m down without it.” This level of order may or may not need special measures taken to ensure it is executed properly. Such measures can include expediting shipping, robbing of new machinery for the purpose of spares, or other such actions. In these instances, the standard lead time and shipping time dictate whether or not special measures are required.
- Critical Spare – This is not very different from a critical wear piece, except that the typical life span of the part is such that only in extreme circumstances does anything special need to be done.
- Planned Service / Replacement – Ideally most orders fall under this category where the standard lead time is acceptable and the change out in a scheduled manner.
Obviously, there can be many other categories, but for simplicity sake, 90% of orders can fall into the aforementioned range. It is also well understood that given the dynamic nature of the crushing and mining industry, priority levels can change on a moment’s notice (in either direction).
Whether it is understanding critical stock levels, hot sheeting a shipment, or calling in the SWAT Team ELRUS has worked with our key partners to put the systems in place to help minimize your operations downtime. The final key to the puzzle is for all parties to remember to find out, and properly express, the true urgency of each situation. Proper communication of the urgency means that one call (or email, or text) and the order is handled and processed in the proper time frame.
Written by Matt Armstrong