Department: Maintenance

Bed Size Classification








< 49 Licensed Beds

 50 - 99 Licensed Beds

 100 - 199 Licensed Beds

200 - 299 Licensed Beds

 300 - 399 Licensed Beds

400 - 499 Licensed Beds

500+ Licensed Beds

Inventory Amount








Maintenance Department Inventory Turns

A typical Maintenance Department rarely, if ever, counts its inventory and tracks that value over time. There are just too many boxes of screws, half-empty paint cans, rolls of unused wallpaper, electrical junction boxes, etc. to count, value and add-up. It can be a time-consuming and least-rewarding job. Inventory turns in this Department (assuming all products were counted & priced accordingly) can range from <1.0 to 4.5. Low turns, such as these, translate to a day's on-hand of a low of 81.1 to greater than 365.0 day's worth of inventory (calculated as: 365 annual days divided by <1.0 or 4.5 inventory turns).

That's correct - some Maintenance Departments have a year (or more) worth of products on their shelves. Theoretically, they could "live off" what they have there for that amount of time. Of course, this just isn't the case. Some of the product lines are fast-moving (i.e., paint, light bulbs, rollers, other electrical supplies, etc.), but a lot are also job- or specific equipment-related.

Some Hospitals contract out various aspects of their Maintenance Department. These can range from the management of the Department to select tasks/jobs (carpentry, plumbing) to the entire Biomedical Engineering functions.

Methods To Improve Maintenance Purchases

Maintenance Department Managers should strive to use the Hospital's GPO for all "commodity" (i.e., lightbulbs, fixtures, etc.), bulk (i.e., liquid oygen, cylinder gas, natural gas) and consolidated specialty (i.e., electrical fixtures, outlets, etc.) supplies.

Saving money with Maintenance purchases depends on the ability to plan those purchases very carefully. Looking for an opportunity to save $5.00 on a replacement furnace blower motor for the one that just burned out is not an expeditious way to use a GPO contract. Instead, it's more preferable to negotiate a discount off-list price with a local primary supplier for emergency purchases such as these.

There are a variety of suppliers who have national contracts and local visibility. Coincidentally, these same suppliers have agreements with many of the larger GPO's, such as AmeriNet, Novation, Premier, Purchase Connection, etc.. These suppliers specialize in one product lines (i.e., Graybar Electric for all electric needs, Shamrock Suppliers for plumbing items, etc.).

Do you have a problem with some of the Maintenance staff heading out to the local hardware or warehouse store to "pick up" a few items? Some of the Maintenance workers may go for plumbing parts, while other Maintenance staff may go for electrical parts and others go for lumber for special projects. Typically, these items would be reimbursed through the Maintenance petty cash account, if under a certain dollar threshold.

What's wrong with this scenario? There's a good chance that the staff member paid gor the goods in cash, necessitating him/her carrying that amount for the transaction in the first place. Secondly, there's a good chance that the transaction necessitated a sales tax being charged (and paid) for the goods received. Since many hospitals are 501(c)3 organizations and tax-exempt, this meant that the Hospital paid more for the goods due to the tax payment. Thirdly, there's a good chance that the customer was charged list price for their goods, as discounts are rarely negotiated in advance. In this scenario, the Hospital paid significantly more (from 7% - 22%) than it should have for the same products. Lastly, items that are reimbursed through the petty cash fund are rarely input to either the Materials Management or Maintenance information systems. These items cannot be tracked and the pricing never verified. No purchase history or utilization figures would be available.

While it's never advisable to diminish the need for replacement products in cases of an emergency, it's not too often that an actual emergency occurs. Instead of lending tacit approval to various Maintenance staff making trips to the local hardware store, consider the following alternatives:

Click here to go back to the Main Department - Specific data page