What are Forward Stocking Locations?

15 August 2023

Third party maintenance (TPM) is used to ensure your hardware can be fixed or replaced rapidly. In order for your TPM provider to give you the best service, however, they will utilise forward stocking locations. These enable them to deliver timely solutions to ongoing or emergency maintenance. But what exactly is a stock location? And what is forward stocking? As they are central to the running of your technology environments, let’s find out more.

What are forward stocking locations?

These locations are often referred to as stocking warehouses or parts depots, which might give a better understanding of what they do. They are used to store spare parts and components for the IT hardware that might be required for the end customer. The difference with these storage areas is that they are not usually large cavernous warehouses, but tend to be smaller stock rooms which are usually found nearer to where they will be needed, allowing local or regional delivery. By having stock nearby, it allows the TPM to meet the tight timescales often stipulated in their Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Why do TPMs need forward stock locations?

The key aim of a forward stocking location is to provide practical, rapid delivery of critical parts so that hardware problems are rectified swiftly within SLA timescales. For any companies that operate internationally, forward stocking locations (FSLs) ensure parts can arrive at a customer’s premises quicker than they would if they were sent direct from a main warehouse, potentially in a different country to that of the customer.

FSLs are also particularly useful where unique components are required. By having a larger network of smaller warehouses, it allows providers to ensure spares are more readily available. By effectively managing the stock, shipments are sent to these ‘forward’ locations, reducing transportation costs and increasing efficiency. In addition to on-site spares, by utilising FSLs, spares are installed quickly which ensures that major disruptions to your business are significantly minimised.

What types of components are stored at a Forward Stocking Location?

Occasionally, FSLs will stock entire systems, but most will ensure they contain a range of components to support your particular network, data centre or workplace technology needs. For networking, this will include; routers, switches, access points and more. For Server & Storage, will include RAM, hard drives, central processing units (CPUs), motherboards, power supplies, fans and more. For workplace technologies, this will include; phones, tablets, headsets, screens, microphones and many more devices.

By utilising a FSL operated by your TPM, you are able to save space at your own premises, stop having to pay for express delivery services and prevent long periods of down time. If you rely on fast delivery for your own customers, having access to a FSL can be invaluable to ensure that you don’t have to let them down due to a hardware failure.

What are the benefits of utilising Forward Stock Locations (FSLs)?

FSLs create significant efficiencies which save your business both time and money. There are also other benefits such as:

Improved service: SLAs can be tighter and outages restored more quickly. Better service to you and your clients can be achieved.

Reduced downtime: Components can be accessed swiftly, allowing IT equipment to be repaired or replaced within hours instead of days

Ecological credentials: Reduced delivery miles ensure less CO2 emissions. Multiple units are transported to FSLs from the place of manufacture. They are then stored locally and delivered individually when needed. Without an FSL, they would be sent individually from across the world to the end user every time they are required.

Consolidation: Together with the expertise of SCT’s service engineers, by utilising FSLs to provide parts and components that you need efficiently, we can effectively carry out ongoing hardware maintenance or any emergency failures.

Our stock forwarding locations

SCT has over 40 stock forwarding locations across the UK, Europe and US holding in excess of 25,000 parts whilst supporting almost 60 countries worldwide. If you are interested in saving time and money, preventing failures by ensuring a regular maintenance and repair schedule is adhered to and having the peace of mind to know that you have expert, security cleared engineers on call to solve any emergency failures (with components available via a network of FSLs), why not speak to SCT about our Third Party maintenance Service today?