Maximo Inventory Management | The Pros & Cons

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    Maximo Inventory Management is a robust set of applications for creating a catalog of items for your organization, maintaining stock levels of your organization’s most critical things, and capturing item usage info. With its many capabilities, Maximo has a lot to offer, but where does Maximo shine, and where does it need improvement? Let’s find out!

    What is Maximo Inventory Management?

    Maximo’s inventory management capabilities fall into many different categories. Whether you are a growing service industry looking to track their costs, a procurement organization looking to identify your high purchase items, or an organization looking to put items into a newly established warehouse. Maximo will provide you with what you need. However, Maximo’s inventory management can be broke down into three easily identifiable categories.


    Materials are both consumable and repairable items needed for day-to-day operations. In Maximo Inventory Management, they are separated by Materials, Items, and Rotating Items. Each has its defining characteristic, but what is the difference? All are used for many reasons, and all can be reordered by IBM Maximo’s reorder process.

    Materials are only used on the purchase application lines. They are not kept in either a non-stocked catalog or an inventory storeroom. When Material lines are used, they only record to purchase and pay.

    Items are either stocked, or non-stocked items that have been given a unique identifier often called an item number. These items are kept in Maximo’s Item Master & Inventory application. Item Master is used to catalog item information used over a Company or Organization inside of Maximo. Maximo Item Master records can be used across multiple applications. Including purchasing, receiving, desktop requisition, item master, inventory, inventory usage, and assets. On the other hand, The Maximo Inventory application identifies an item kept in a Maximo inventory storeroom. These are Item Master items added to a specific storeroom and are often referred to as an inventory item or inventory stock. These are storeroom-specific records for the Item Master Item #. Having an item in the Inventory application also adds the benefits of auto-reorder, bin balances, and associating the items like spare parts of assets.

    Rotating items are either stocked or non-stocked items that are identified as repairable. So, in addition to itemizing the item number, it also adds a serialized asset number. This means that every time a rotating item is ordered, it will get its own asset number. When a rotating item is sent out for repair, that specific asset will get an updated cost based on the repair cost. These items gain all the benefits listed above from the Item Master application; As well, the Inventory application if the rotating item is added to a Maximo Inventory Storeroom.


    Tools are the necessary items used to complete work. These include ladders, hammers, and power tools used in preventative, corrective, or emergency maintenance in inventory management. However, they can be used for various reasons and are uniquely the only item that can not be reordered in Maximo.

    The Tools application is the Item Master of Tools. This is because Tools are intendedly regulated in Maximo. This itemization ensures that tools can be tracked for safety reasons and ensure only those who can effectively use them can order them.

    Stocked tools are tools that are intended for repeated use. So, stocked tools are placed into a storeroom to be issued out and returned at hourly rates. As well, just like the inventory application, stocked tools benefit from things like balances, adjustments, and issues.

    Rotating tools are a combination of the tool functionality mixed with the rotating item capabilities. This means being able to track the item and the asset associated with it for better record keeping. This is very helpful when it comes to tools that need to be calibrated.


    While it does not seem like a major portion of inventory management, they are truly a cornerstone of Maximo Inventory Management. Service items are generally separated in a similar way to items and tools.

    The broadest of this is Services. Services, like Materials, are used in combination with the IBM Maximo purchasing application to identify purchase lines that are not for goods. So, these are things like fees, charges, and freight. These purchase lines could be associated with goods or standalone projects completed by a vendor or service provider.

    Like Items and Tools, there is an enhanced version of services that allows for better record keeping. This is called Standard Services. Standard Services are a way to record common services that an organization either provides or receives. These also offer some enhanced features within IBM Maximo regarding Service Group and Service Desk applications.

    What is Maximo Inventory Management Used For?

    After reading this article, I am sure you can assume that a lot is possible, but what is IBM Maximo Inventory Management being used for?
    We talked about a few scenarios that involve the different applications available in and out of Inventory Management in Maximo. So, let’s talk a bit about what these are being used for.
    Well, let’s cover what Inventory related applications are being used and how. Well, as we discussed, there are quite a few, but let’s focus on the primary ones. That would be Item Master, Inventory, and Inventory Usage. Each one has its unique uses, but we can give a single scenario.
    So, let’s say that you’re an inventory manager who works for a large corporation with multiple organizations inside your companies Inventory Management system. Due to being a large company, you not only issue out your stock to the necessary partners, but you also must transfer between storerooms and sites. So, you utilize the Inventory & Inventory Usage applications to make record-keeping and issues and transfers simple. Thanks to available Maximo training, the inventory team knows that the Inventory application will provide them and the clients an insight into what is available in inventory stock. This will include the unique Item #, item description, current balance available, amount currently reserved, average cost, condition codes, and item’s current status. All of these item details allowing the inventory team and the front-end users a glance at available parts. As well, these stock items will be able to be considered reorder items. This means the inventory team will use the reorder items to keep high use or critical spares on the shelf. They also know how to use the Inventory Usage application, which allows for easy issues and transfers. However, since the whole company uses Maximo, the inventory team uses the most in Maximo inventory management is Inventory Usage’s shipment functionality. This is because the inventory team is constantly transferring items between sites. The shipment functionality turns the inventory usage’s easy issue and transfer process into a shipping and receiving process.
    So, from this scenario, we can see that Maximo Inventory Management covers many bases, from inventory monitoring to inventory control. That is why most users rest assured that IBM can meet their business needs.

    Pros And Cons Of Maximo Inventory Management?

    We’ve now covered what is IBM Inventory Management, What is available when using Maximo inventory applications, and what scenarios apply to inventory management, but what are their pros and cons?


    1. Detail
      • IBM Maximo is built to provide detail. Even at its most basic functionality, Maximo will provide you with current balances. However, that can always be enhanced like, assigning condition codes and assigning ABC analysis.
    2. Control
      • The reorder process in IBM Maximo is a great way to replenish depleted stock. However, as discussed in the section about inventory usage, Maximo prides itself on keeping inventory items. That’s why it also has capabilities for physical counting, reconciling balances, and current balance adjustments.
    3. Visibility
      • Maximo as a record-keeping system is never sub-par, and that’s because it wants to make sure any user can find information. From status changes, how many times an item has been transferred, and how many items have been consumed, the system has recorded it.


    1. Overwhelming
      • While we covered many topics in this, we are only scratching the surface of what the system offers in terms of inventory management. For example, we talked about rotating assets, but we didn’t talk about costing methods. Of which Maximo offers 5: Standard, Average, Asset, LIFO, and FIFO.
    2. Complex
      • Maximo makes sense for those who use it consistently but can be daunting for others. That is because there are terms, like rotating asset, that means something different to different users. This also applies to applications that support inventory management, like purchase orders. For many companies, this is a request, and for many, it is a binding document.
    3. Intricate
      • Maximo can be adjusted to meet business needs; however, it will generally follow a similar course of action. That is because to ensure certain internal functions happen; the system will restrict you from doing something that would subjugate, or otherwise break, the designed process.

    Balancing pros and cons are one of the hardest parts of managing inventory, but Maximo offers a lot even if there can be a learning curve. This is because once learned, and processes can be adjusted to fit business needs.

    What Companies Use Maximo For Inventory Management?

    1. The Walt Disney Corporation

      • Famous for its animation and multitude of theme parks worldwide. The Walt Disney Corporation uses Maximo for a lot of things, but very notably for inventory management. With a strong asset management program comes a strong inventory management system, which Maximo provides.
    2. Boeing
      • Boeing relies on Maximo for its robust capabilities. Most notable for making airplanes, satellites, and other aeronautical needs. Boeing can look back and monitor costs with its ability to manage all items added to a work order.
    3. Northrop Grumman

      • Famed in similar ways to Boeing, Northrop Grumman manages their inventory through Maximo because it helps to keep its facilities up and running.
    4. NBCUniversal

      • The media giant, famous for its wide reach on pop culture and all other things digital media. NBCUniversal uses Maximo as its inventory management system because it records items used and any potential item failures.

    While each of these companies uses Inventory Management for different reasons, the goal is the same. To track items and tools critical to a business’s practices. That is why Maximo ends up being their go-to Inventory Management system.

    Why Is IoT Helpful When Managing Inventories?

    Inventory management is complex and can encompass many parts of what is known as the supply chain. This is because it involves things like storing, reordering, and cycle counting. But how does IOT help that?

    Well, the Internet of Things (IoT) enhances the inventory management by making inventory readily accessible. This is because IoT provides a way to enhance location monitoring and inventory tracking. IoT bridges the gap between when an item leaves a storeroom and is consumed or used out in the field. This helps to eliminate one of the major hardships large inventory groups have with issuing parts: the dreaded missing item, rotating asset, or tool.

    Without IoT, the Inventory management team could be missing a part without knowing it. Because of this, inventory balances could be off, and in a lean inventory setting, the storeroom could be out of stock of the necessary item.

    So, not only can the inventory team identify when they are out of stock and need to reorder, but where the item ended up. This becomes integral to reducing shrink and increasing stock efficiency.

    Let's Take Inventory.

    So, now that all the parts of IBM’s Inventory system have been put on the table, we can see that Maximo has a lot to offer in the way of Inventory. Whether it is tracking high-value rotating assets, recording issues and transfers in inventory usage, or maintaining a consistent balance of inventory stock. This system will keep you covered.

    So, what next?

    Now that you’ve learned all about IBMs robust inventory management capabilities, what do you want to learn next? Is it more about the capabilities inventory usage has? or how rotating items are maintained? or maybe it’s more about the service items we briefly covered. Let us know!

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