Just when you think you have a clean, solid vehicle parts catalog, you get an update from a supplier that contains new part numbers that either supersede ones in your system or replace ones that are now obsolete. The new number could be just that; the part stays the same but gets a new name. Or the new number could be for a replacement part that obsoletes the existing part. Either way, part number changes create a problem for procurement and managing inventory.
If a part number is simply replacing an old number, but the part will be the same, one solution is to note this in the description (short or long) of your fleet management system. It is important to make this note in both the new and the old part number. That way you won’t end up with two stocking locations in your warehouse.
If there is an actual part change, then it becomes important to not only note the change in each part but also to use the old inventory (unless there is a reason, like a recall, not to) before buying the new part.
It is also important to maintain a history of all of these changes over time so that you can understand and make sense of the company’s part spend over time.
Lastly, if there is a price change along with the part number change, how this price is justified. If the part remains the same and just the part number is changing, it might be worth it to question your supplier. I don’t want to suggest that they may be changing part numbers just to raise the price, but…..
We have managed superseded and obsolete part number changes for many companies, and it is never a simple process. However, we have learned that it is critical to managing parts spend and inventory over time.