Managing inventory for a transit agency can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider such as identifying what inventory is needed, where it should be located, how to track and manage it, and how to keep it organized and up-to-date. In addition, with the ever-changing landscape of technology, equipment, facilities, and vehicles, keeping inventory optimized for transit asset management can be challenging. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why inventory optimization is difficult and how to overcome these challenges.

One of the biggest challenges in keeping inventory optimized is managing the vast amount of data that is associated with each transit asset. This data includes information on the manufacturer, model number, serial number, purchase date, warranty information, maintenance records, and more. To keep this data organized and up-to-date, it is important to have a system in place that can track all of this information. Additionally, this data must be accessible by authorized personnel so that they can make informed decisions about transit assets. 

Another challenge in keeping inventory optimized is determining what inventory is actually needed. This includes not only determining what items are needed but also how many of each item is needed and where it should be located. This can be a difficult task because there are many variables to consider such as the type of transit service being provided, the number of vehicles in operation, the frequency of service, and more. 

Additionally, staying ahead of the curve in terms of technology and equipment changes can be difficult. As new technology emerges and existing technology evolves, transit agencies must evaluate their needs and determine if their current inventory is still optimized for their transit asset management. This can be a time-consuming and costly process but it is necessary to provide safe and reliable service to the public. 

One of the biggest challenges to optimizing inventory in transit is that a larger percentage of items follow an intermittent demand model. Not only is transit impacted by seasonal demand, but also safety campaigns, capital refurbishments, marketing campaigns, and even unplanned ridership peaks can drive major changes in parts demand and/or availability. A properly managed inventory should account for all of these potential scenarios.

To overcome these challenges, it is important to have a system in place that can track all of the data associated with each transit asset. Associating parts to assets helps with the analysis and planning of all of these intermittent drivers. But even with this data alignment between parts and assets, how do materials managers look at their demand, considering all of the intermittent demand drivers and forecast efficient inventory levels that also ensure availability?

21Tech has found that having an inventory optimization solution that integrates with your EAM software is a key tool to navigate these challenges. 21Tech has found that Smart Software has inventory optimization solutions that fit the bill. Smart’s next-generation cloud platform, Smart Inventory Planning & Optimization (Smart IP&O™) uses cutting-edge technology, including machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), to help you predict future inventory needs and optimize your transit assets accordingly. Of all inventory optimization solutions we have seen over the years, Smart IP&O handles the intermittent demand challenges and allows materials managers to analyze multiple what-if scenarios in ways that transit materials managers require.

Furthermore, 21Tech has integrated Smart IP*O with Hexagon EAM, upon which its RapidTAM transit asset management solution is built. This means using data, procurement data, supplier delivery data, and all relevant supply chain data required to analyze materials usage is automatically sent to Smart IP&O where analysis of multiple scenarios can be explored. Smart can then easily send updated inventory parameters like reorder point and economic order quantities, by item, back to EAM’s Materials Module.


Despite the challenges involved in keeping inventory optimized for transit asset management purposes, it is still possible to overcome these challenges by having a well-organized system in place to manage data associated with each transit asset. Additionally, staying informed about technology changes and equipment needs will help ensure that your inventory stays optimized for your particular transit agency. The combination of 21Tech’s RapidTAM, on Hexagon’s EAM, coupled with Smart’s IP&O comprises a powerful toolset to tackle these challenges.