It has been a wild year in the energy sector, particularly in Oil & Gas. Crude prices have fluctuated wildly, particularly in the third quarter of this year. Many upstream and integrated producers are feeling the pressure and even downstream-only companies while benefiting from lower raw material costs are all wary of spending right now. This is a dangerous situation in that as tight as revenue might be, some opportunities are just so great it doesn’t make sense not to invest, even now. Asset performance management (APM) is one area that has such a strong influence on safety, environmental and productivity issues that even though times might be tight, skimping now is more dangerous than spending. One particularly cost effective area within APM to invest in now is MRO inventory management AND optimization. This is an area where relatively small investments can yield some substantial payback. What’s worse than equipment breaking? Not having the materials to repair it when it does. The other side of the equation is carrying such a large just-in-case spares inventory that today’s slim profits are further eroded by inventory carrying costs and out dated material disposal costs.