What Is MRO?

The acronym MRO refers to the “maintenance, repair, and operations” of a company. These are the pieces of equipment that an organization uses to create an end product. The term is very broadly defined, and encapsulates millions of stock keeping units (SKUs) - which can be sourced from thousands of unique suppliers.

Anything that can be used in manufacturing the final product may be considered an MRO product. These may include spare parts, equipment, consumables, upkeep supplies and activities required to restore or maintain necessary equipment. MRO encompasses thousands of categories and subcategories such as janitorial or cleaning supplies, lab supplies, facilities supplies, industrial equipment, fixtures, and adhesives. Other sample MRO products include: 

  • Gloves
  • Safety equipment
  • Maintenance processes
  • Batteries
  • Electrical
  • Sealants
  • Repair tools

Because MRO covers a large variety of products, it’s often difficult to define exactly what falls under the MRO scope. Many times, problems also arise because an MRO program is not run by a centralized business unit. These are the common reasons why inventory confusion and other supply inefficiencies occur. Having a managed MRO program through your supply chain department will allow your company operations to run smoothly, and increase efficient spending opportunities.

Benefits of A Managed MRO Program

Enrolling your company in a managed MRO program can help you simplify your processes, keep abreast with an ever-changing market, and avoid wasting significant resources.

  • Simplify your processes

MRO procurement practices are becoming increasingly complex in a highly transactional, SKU-based industry. Purchasing is a time-consuming task, involving multiple business units across an organization. Aside from this, MRO management requires a strong data platform and constant monitoring to keep track of data for millions of millions of SKUs and suppliers.

Without a centralized solution, you may end up doubling on vendors in the same category - losing out on the economies of scale and their associated discounts. Redundancies in the supply chain also make it difficult to accurately evaluate vendors and ensure quality control, lead times, and inventory accuracy. With a managed MRO program, organizations can simplify their inventory control process and build a more effective supply chain.

  • Keep abreast with the ever-changing market


The MRO industry is continuously transforming. Aside from annual incremental advances in pricing and program adjustments, industry leaders in procurement have begun moving towards outsourcing entire MRO supply chains. This shift changes the focus to the overall total cost of MRO. A managed MRO program will help your business adjust and address these shifts as they come.

  • Avoid wasting significant resources


MRO often covers a wide array of products, but corporations do not typically invest in the education required to manage an MRO program efficiently. With an ineffective way to track or verify inventory, your business may lose time and money procuring replacement parts. Plant managers and other officers assigned to MRO will also spend more time on inventory management, rather than performing more important tasks. Instead of wasting these resources, you can choose to invest in a managed MRO program that can handle these functions.