Facility supplies are fundamental to effective facility management. Every item, from basic cleaning products to essential safety equipment, contributes to doing the job well.
Digital transformation of procurement processes has made acquiring supplies and equipment more transparent and efficient, enabling facility managers to take a data-driven approach to evaluating, selecting, and handling MRO supplies.
In this article, we will review the most used facility maintenance products, discuss the best hardware shops to use, and outline effective procurement practices.
What are facilities supplies?
Facility supplies encompass a wide array of products critical for the maintenance and seamless operation of physical workspaces. These include:
- Cleaning products essential for maintaining hygiene
- Safety equipment vital for protecting workers
- Office supplies that facilitate daily administrative tasks
- And many more
Selecting facility supplies demands a keen focus on both quality and sustainability. High-quality products offer better performance and reduce the frequency of replacements — leading to long-term cost savings and less waste. Sustainability has become increasingly important, as environmentally friendly products reduce ecological impact and align with the growing expectations for corporate responsibility.
The most commonly used facility maintenance supplies
A well-equipped facility maintenance toolkit is essential for ensuring smooth and efficient operations. These tools, ranging from the most basic to the highly specialized, are integral to maintaining a facility’s health and safety standards.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are some essential tools and supplies all organizations must have on hand for smooth facility maintenance and operations:
- Soap, paper towels, disinfectants, and other cleaning materials
- Safety equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses, and ear protection as applicable to the function of your facility
- Mechanical tools including wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers
- Electrical testing and repair equipment
- Lubricants and adhesives for equipment maintenance
- Protective gloves and workwear for various tasks
- HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) supplies
- Plumbing tools for repairs and upkeep
- Lighting supplies including bulbs and fixtures
- Batteries and power backup supplies
- Painting supplies for facility upkeep
- Ladders and scaffolding for access to high areas
- Pest control products and equipment
- Landscaping tools and materials for grounds maintenance
- Office supplies to support administrative tasks
- Storage solutions like shelving units and tool cabinets
- Waste management supplies including bins and recycling containers
- Water treatment and filtration systems
Where to get facility supplies?
Experienced facility managers know that choosing the right supplier involves balancing product variety and quality, delivery times, and budget constraints.
There’s also a question of using local or global suppliers. Local suppliers might offer more personalized deals and a quicker turnaround time for last-minute needs. On the other hand, global suppliers provide a more extensive range of products, often at more competitive prices.
Some of the bigger suppliers in the field are:
- Ferguson: Specializes in MRO supplies, janitorial products, and property maintenance essentials; offers a comprehensive range of products for facility upkeep.
- Sonepar: A global leader in the distribution of electrical, industrial, and safety products.
- Rexel: Specializes in products and services for the energy sector; provides solutions for smart building, lighting, climate control, and more.
- HDSupply: A subsidiary of Home Depot, it is a single-source supplier for facility maintenance, from cleaning and janitorial to lighting and PPE.
- Lowe’s Pro Supply: A one-stop shop for maintenance and renovation supplies for the multifamily housing and hospitality industries.
- North American: Provides a wide array of facility maintenance supplies and services; known for its diverse product offerings and customer-focused services.
A convenient way to quickly find and compare different products and suppliers is to hop over to Thomasnet. You can select between 500,000 suppliers and search for more than 6 million products.
In most urban areas, you should also be able to find some local, semi-specialized shops, like F&F Supply, which operates in New York State.
To get the best deals and minimize procurement costs, explore online shops and develop relationships with local suppliers.
Navigating challenges in the supply chain
Procurement of facility supplies comes with a series of challenges, from fluctuating market prices to supply chain disruptions. In fact, in a recent survey, 45% of manufacturing facilities stated that supply chain issues were one of the top challenges facing their industry. They can lead to lost production, cost overruns, and even delay critical maintenance tasks.
Facility managers apply various strategies to tackle these challenges head-on:
- Establishing strong partnerships with reliable suppliers
- Diversifying the supplier base to avoid dependence on a single source
- Utilizing CMMS or dedicated inventory management software to track supply expenditure and accurately forecast future needs
It also doesn’t hurt to stay informed about potential supply chain risks and do some contingency planning. That process usually includes identifying potential risks, developing alternative sourcing strategies, and maintaining flexibility in procurement approaches.
Simplify facility management with Limble CMMS
Effective MRO management is critical for any facility, and making proactive, informed decisions is key to its success. With Limble CMMS, facility managers gain valuable insights into their supply needs, enabling them to anticipate and address issues before they escalate.
And that is just one piece of the puzzle. Limble CMMS is built to solve the complexities of all aspects of facility management. It streamlines the tracking of inventory levels, scheduling of maintenance tasks, and management of vendor relationships. It provides a single source of truth for all of your maintenance data, transforming how facility maintenance needs are managed and executed.