- Know the frequency of failures and, therefore, the number of the replacements you are likely to need for your organizational situation.
- Know how long it takes to get replacements and order appropriately.
- Know your suppliers and how quickly they can provide parts when you need them. This way you need keep only what you need on your shelf.
- Buy spare components in bulk whenever possible, especially inexpensive components such as floppy disk drives, cables, mouse devices, ink-jet cartridges, and so forth.
- Standardize your parts to keep your inventory small (see the next section).
Standardizing equipment is very desirable in large organizations. It reduces the number of spare parts required and simplifies installations. But although desirable, it is not always possible. Many organizations purchase equipment, such as computers, solely on the basis of the best price available at the time of purchase. Therefore, whichever manufacturer happens to be offering a special deal at that time is likely to be the one to get the contract. The result is that the organization eventually assembles a wide assortment of computer equipment, making standardization difficult.
In cases such as this, you can standardize what you have control over, and group the rest as well as you can. If you have several identical systems, by using an identical configuration, with standard CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, and IRQ assignments, you can simplify the troubleshooting process. Even if you have many computers with little in common, adopting certain standards can be worthwhile. For example, establish common IRQs for standard equipment such as modems, sound cards, network cards, and mouse and SCSI devices.