Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CTA targets waste to save millions

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The Chicago Transit Authority's President Forrest Claypool exposed millions in waste at CTA supply warehouses, while unveiling a host of improvements to the agency's system for managing parts and materials; each designed to reduce costs, increase oversight and improve operations.


Appearing at the CTA's central warehouse on Goose Island in Chicago, Claypool spotlighted tens of millions of dollars' worth of old parts and supplies that have sat unused for years and laid out plans to more effectively manage the purchase of thousands of items needed to maintain and repair CTA buses, trains and facilities.

The new initiatives include more stringent reviews of large or non-routine orders and steps to implement an electronic bar-coding system to better track items.

CTA will also seek qualified companies that can provide market expertise and industry best practices related to supply-chain functions.

"These steps will improve operations, reduce costs, avoid building up new obsolete inventories and increase our ability to plan and forecast future needs," Claypool said. "This is one of many reforms we're making to modernize and reform the CTA."

The CTA will also hire an auction firm to sell off unused inventory, which the agency hopes will salvage millions of dollars to put back into some of the agency's many pressing infrastructure needs.

Of the more than $70 million in current CTA parts and materials, about 47 percent has not been used or moved in the last 24 months, Claypool said.

About one-third of the 330,000-square-foot main warehouse is devoted to obsolete and unused inventory, including parts ordered for bus and rail equipment that subsequently went out of service, as well as orders of larger-than-needed quantities. These items, ranging from 120 spools of copper and communications wire to customized hand carts, have a value of nearly $6 million.

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