What Is MRO Procurement? + How to Optimize MRO Spending

Colby Ezell / Cost Reduction / November 22, 2023

In the world of business, cost management is a perpetual challenge. Companies across various industries are contending with increasing MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations) expenses, which can significantly impact their financial well-being.

If not carefully managed, MRO spending can become a financial burden for organizations of all types and sizes. However, where there are expenses, there’s also an opportunity for cost-saving measures to improve the bottom line. In this blog, we’ll look into the world of MRO procurement, uncovering the vital role it plays in businesses and how effectively managing it can be the key to financial stability and growth.

What Is MRO Purchasing?

MRO purchasing, also known as MRO procurement, is the process of acquiring goods and services necessary for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of a business. MRO, which stands for Maintenance, Repair, and Operations, is a vital component of indirect procurement, which deals with non-production-related expenses. These purchases cover a broad spectrum of items essential to keep a company’s operations running smoothly.

In certain industries, such as healthcare, there’s a greater emphasis on indirect procurement, including MRO purchasing, versus direct procurement. This emphasis stems from the fact that these service-based industries heavily rely on the continuous functionality of equipment and facilities. In contrast, manufacturing industries may place more emphasis on direct procurement, focusing on sourcing materials directly related to their production processes.

Examples of MRO Purchases

MRO purchasing encompasses a wide variety of procurement needs that are essential to the smooth and uninterrupted operation of a company. These MRO purchases can be conveniently categorized into three primary groups, each serving a distinct role in ensuring the seamless operation of a company:


This category of MRO purchases primarily focuses on items necessary for the routine upkeep and maintenance of machinery, equipment, and facilities. It includes a range of components and supplies, such as:

  • Replacement parts: These are critical components that are used to replace worn-out or damaged parts of machinery or equipment. They ensure that production and operations continue without disruption.
  • Lubricants: Lubricants, such as oils and greases, play a vital role in machinery maintenance by reducing friction and ensuring the smooth functioning of moving parts.
  • Maintenance equipment: Various tools and equipment are essential for the maintenance and servicing of machinery, including items like wrenches and diagnostic tools.


The repairs category of MRO purchases encompasses items and resources required for addressing unexpected breakdowns or malfunctions in machinery and equipment. It includes:

  • Tools: Repair tools, such as wrenches, screwdrivers, and power tools, are essential for technicians and maintenance personnel to diagnose and fix issues promptly.
  • Materials: These may include materials like welding rods, adhesives, fasteners, and electrical components needed for repairing damaged equipment.
  • Services: Repair services provided by external contractors or in-house maintenance teams are crucial for addressing complex issues and ensuring the timely restoration of equipment to operational status.


The final category of MRO purchases — operations — covers services and supplies essential for the daily functioning of a business. This category includes items such as:

  • Office supplies: Office supplies like paper, pens, printer ink, and stationery are essential for administrative tasks and communication within the organization.
  • Safety equipment: Safety equipment, including personal protective gear, first-aid supplies, and fire safety equipment, ensures the well-being of employees and compliance with safety regulations.
  • Janitorial supplies: These supplies, such as cleaning agents, mops, and trash bags, contribute to maintaining a clean and hygienic workplace, which is essential for employee comfort and productivity.
  • Services: Essential business functions such as telecom services, waste management services, and print services are vital to the smooth daily operations of a business.

MRO Buying Difficulties

Companies often face a series of challenges in the MRO procurement process, each with the potential to impact their bottom line and overall operational efficiency significantly.

Fragmented Procurement

In many organizations, MRO procurement tends to be decentralized, with different departments or locations independently managing their needs. This separation can lead to inefficiencies as it often results in duplicate orders, missed opportunities for bulk purchasing discounts, and a lack of visibility into overall spending. Consequently, businesses may experience increased costs that could have been avoided with a more centralized and streamlined procurement approach.

Supplier Management

The complexity of managing a wide range of MRO suppliers is a common issue. Sourcing various parts, equipment, and services from multiple suppliers can become time-consuming and overwhelming. Furthermore, dealing with numerous suppliers can lead to inconsistent service levels, making it challenging to maintain reliable and efficient supply chains.

Inventory Control

Effective inventory control in MRO procurement is an ongoing struggle for many companies. Finding the right balance between maintaining adequate stock levels to ensure operational continuity and minimizing carrying costs is a constant challenge. Overstocked inventories tie up capital and storage space, while understocked inventories can lead to costly production disruptions. Striking this balance requires careful planning, forecasting, and demand management.

Specialized Components

Some MRO components are highly specialized and only needed at specific times. Managing the procurement of such specialized items can be challenging, as it requires predicting when and where these components will be required. Failing to anticipate these needs accurately can result in delays, increased downtime, and higher costs.

MRO Strategy

To effectively manage MRO spend, businesses employ a range of strategic approaches tailored to their unique needs and challenges:

Technology Solutions

The implementation of advanced procurement software and tools is essential in MRO strategy. These technological solutions offer enhanced visibility into procurement processes, allowing businesses to track orders, monitor inventory levels, and identify cost-saving opportunities. By leveraging technology, companies gain greater control over their MRO spend, reduce manual administrative tasks, and enhance overall efficiency.

Supplier Consolidation

Many companies find value in streamlining their supplier base when it comes to MRO procurement. By reducing the number of MRO suppliers, organizations simplify supplier management, negotiation processes, and administrative tasks. This consolidation not only enhances efficiency but can also lead to better pricing agreements through increased purchasing volume.

Data Analytics

Leveraging data analytics has become a critical aspect of modern MRO strategy. By harnessing the power of data, businesses can make informed procurement decisions, optimize inventory levels, and anticipate future needs more accurately. Data-driven insights enable proactive maintenance planning, reducing downtime and mitigating the risk of emergency procurements that can be costly. Additionally, data analytics help identify trends, anomalies, and areas for cost savings within the MRO procurement process.

Centralizing Procurement

One of the most effective approaches to MRO strategy is centralizing procurement. By consolidating the responsibility for MRO purchasing, companies can achieve greater consistency, better coordination, and improved cost control. Centralization fosters better alignment between departments, ensuring that MRO purchases meet the specific needs of each function. This collaborative approach enhances communication, streamlines decision-making, and ultimately results in more effective and cost-conscious procurement practices.

These strategies collectively empower businesses to take a proactive approach to managing their MRO spend, enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and ensuring the seamless operation of their facilities and equipment.

P3 Cost Analyst’s MRO Sourcing

Implementing the comprehensive strategies we’ve explored for managing MRO purchasing effectively can be a complex task, especially when juggling various priorities within your organization. This is where partnering with a specialized cost reduction consulting firm like P3 Cost Analysts becomes your strategic advantage.

At P3, we specialize in optimizing procurement practices across a wide spectrum of non-production-related expenses. Our expert team brings decades of experience and industry knowledge to the table, making it easier for your business to implement these strategies quickly and cost-effectively.

We understand that MRO procurement is a multifaceted challenge, and that’s why we offer a range of services tailored to your specific needs. By exploring our services, you’ll find valuable solutions that seamlessly align with the strategies we’ve discussed. Whether it’s centralizing procurement, consolidating suppliers, or harnessing the power of data analytics, P3 has you covered.

Start Working With P3 Today!

Take the next step toward a more efficient and cost-conscious MRO procurement process for your business. Explore our services, schedule a free call, and speak with one of our cost reduction experts today.

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