How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

This article was co-authored by Caitlin Jaymes and by wikiHow staff writer, Amber Crain. Caitlin Jaymes is a Closet Organizer and Fashion Stylist based in Los Angeles, California. With a background in Fashion PR and Fashion Design, she specializes in creating wardrobes for her clients with pieces they already own. She has experience working with celebrities, editorial shoots, and men and women of all ages. Caitlin uses fashion and organization to help instill and influence confidence, ambition, and stress-free lifestyles for all her clients. She runs her business by two guiding principles: “fashion has no rules, only guidance on how to look and feel your best” and “life has too many stressors, don’t let clutter be one of them.” Caitlin’s work has been featured on HGTV, The Rachael Ray Show, VoyageLA, Liverpool Los Angeles, and the Brother Snapchat Channel.

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Office supplies can be expensive, so keeping track of what your office has in stock and monitoring how quickly supplies are being used is really important. If you’ve never done inventory before, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry, we’re going to walk you through the entire process so you can manage your inventory like a pro! We’ll start with some basic setup tips and then move into specifics about the tracking and reordering process.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Most likely your company maintains a selection of office supplies for employee use, which means you need to maintain a consistently updated list of inventory purchased and used within a specific accounting period. An accurate inventory serves a two-fold purpose: it helps ensure your business does not run out of necessary office supplies, and it allows you to properly account for office supply purchases as assets or liabilities under an accrual system of accounting.

Taking an Accurate Inventory

Step 1: Prepare an Inventory Log

Visit your company’s supply closet with an inventory log sheet to record the supplies currently on hand. If your company prefers to maintain office supply inventory records in a spreadsheet or word processing table, bring a laptop or tablet to expedite the data entry process.

Step 2: Group Supplies by Type or Location

Separate supplies into related groups such as writing implements, copy paper, notebooks, desktop items and filing supplies. Separating supplies based on their product numbers or UPC codes is also an option if your company maintains multiple office supply caches. A larger company that uses supplies across multiple departments may prefer a more detailed approach to supply management, but general categories suffice for most small businesses.

Step 3: Do an Item Count

Enter the category of the item or the item number in your inventory log. Record the number of currently available units in an adjacent column.

Step 4: Determine Reorder Levels

Determine the reorder level for each item by assessing how quickly your company consumes the product and how quickly the product can be replaced. For example, if your company consumes three boxes of copy paper per week, and it takes one week to receive a new shipment of copy paper from your supplier, then your reorder should occur when your copy paper inventory drops to four to six boxes. Reordering supplies before your inventory reaches a critically low level provides a time cushion in case your paper consumption increases or a delay occurs with delivery. Add a note to your log specifying the reorder level for each item.

Step 5: Record Supply Purchases

Record new office supply purchases as they are made.

Accounting for Inventory

Step 1: Update the Company Ledger

Record the total value of an office supply purchase in your company’s ledger as an asset. When supplies have not yet been used, they are considered assets instead of expenses under an accrual accounting system. If you already have an entry for office supplies in your asset column, add the cost of the new purchases to the existing total.

Step 2: Perform Periodic Inventory Checks

Visit the company supply closet at the end of an accounting period and perform an inventory check. Compare the total units currently on hand for each item number or category to the totals entered in your inventory log.

Step 3: Update the Inventory Log

Enter your new totals for each inventory item or category in your log.

Step 4: Calculate Unit Cost

Multiply the unit cost of an item consumed by the total number of units consumed to arrive at your total inventory expense for that item or category. For example, if pens cost $10 per unit and 12 units were consumed, the total inventory expense for the item is $120.

Step 5: Calculate Total Inventory Expense

Add your per item totals together to arrive at your total office supply expense for the accounting period. This total is the accumulated value of the office supplies actually consumed within your company during the current period.

Step 6: Update the Books

Subtract the office supply expense for the current accounting period from your office supply assets entry in the company ledger. Leave a journal entry explaining the removal of funds. For example: “Office supply expense removal for January.” Enter the total supply expense for the accounting period in the liability section of your ledger.

Consistently recording your office supply purchases and regularly updating your inventory log reduce the stress of income tax preparation because you do not need to account for a year’s worth of inventory purchases and usage adjustments. Instead, you only need to update your ledger to reflect end-of-year totals. Always maintain enough office supplies in inventory to sustain your office for at least one week.

Execute a weekly inventory check for four weeks and find the average number of units consumed per week for each item in your company’s supply closet. These numbers become your average weekly consumption or reorder level for an office supply. Reorder supplies when your number of in-stock items nears your weekly consumption level.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Anyone who works in or manages an office understands the importance of maintaining an inventory of office supplies. Nothing brings work progress to a standstill faster than running out of basics like pens, toner cartridges, paper and envelopes. Once you have the supplies on hand, it is important to track spending and usage by following some simple rules of basic office supply management.

Assign Office Inventory Management

One of the first rules of good office inventory management is to ensure it has a manager. Appoint a gatekeeper. Successful maintenance of inventory means knowing what is on hand and how long it has been there, recording the value of the inventory and monitoring where it goes when it leaves the supply area. If you do not have someone monitoring the system, then you will waste time trying to track down supplies and you will never know what is on hand.

Office supplies include many small items that can easily disappear. Inventory should be kept in a secured area with access limited to a few key employees. Keep a log of items dispensed and items replaced.

Use the FIFO Method

FIFO is an acronym for first in, first out. It is an accounting term for reporting the value of inventory and ensures that items purchased first are used first so the value remains accurate. This is also a smart way to prevent inventory from becoming old, stale or obsolete. Items purchased first should be used first.

When replacement inventory is purchased, shelve it behind the older inventory and instruct employees to take supplies from the front. Items with ink can dry out, paper can yellow and equipment parts can become obsolete. Use the FIFO method to reduce waste and keep your inventory fresh.

Leverage Buying to Reduce Costs

One of the tips for effective office supply ordering procedures is to take the opportunity to purchase larger quantities, which translates into discount savings. These savings accumulate quickly when buying the most popular items in bulk. If the purchase of all your office supply needs are awarded to a single vendor, use that buying power to negotiate savings on smaller purchases as well. Take full advantage of rewards programs offered by suppliers.

The office supply business is competitive, so use a bid process to determine which company has the best program for your needs.

Organize Office Supplies Effectively

The key to successful office inventory management is in the organization of the supplies. For a system to be efficient, employees need to be able to access what they need, when they need it. Supplies should be shelved with the most used items at eye level and in easy reach. Stock lesser used items on higher shelves but be sure they are not forgotten.

Post an inventory list of what is stocked and where it can be found. Keep the area clean and orderly. Replace items with enough lead time to keep from running out, especially critical items. Purge obsolete items on a regular basis.

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Cindy Phillips began writing feature articles in 2007 with her work appearing in several regional newspapers. With more than 30 years experience in the corporate arena, her business expertise includes all aspects of marketing and management. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Arts in English education from SUNY New Paltz.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Do you unexpectedly run out of printer toner, paper and pens in your office or workspace at critical moments?

In today’s post I’ll give you some tips to track and keep on top of your office supplies.

Whether you work in an office building or work from home, you’ll be able to keep tabs on existing supplies and soon-to-be ordered supplies.

Make a detailed master list of supplies.

This list is more than just a simple shopping list of paper, pens and notebooks — it could be considered the ultimate list!

Create a detailed list of all your regularly used office supplies, including the product brand, name, number, color and other details.

Having all the details in place will make it easier to order or restock items, especially when it’s important to get a particular brand or type of product.

For example, you could make a note in your list of the specific brand and type of toner your large printer needs so you won’t have to keep checking the details each and every time you need a replacement cartridge.

Store items in a central location.

It’s much easier to keep track of your office supplies when they are stored in the same area.

If you don’t have a centralized office supply area, you might want to consider creating one on a shelf, inside of a closet, or on top of an unused desk or counter in the office.

After you’ve carved out an area, you can organize items by frequency and use.

What items are more likely to be used on a daily or weekly basis than a monthly or quarterly basis?

Consider labeling storage shelves, baskets and containers so everyone knows where to find the materials they need.

Schedule a routine supply check.

Don’t wait for your supplies to run out on you the night before you have to print up a giant presentation for a client!

Schedule regular supply checks for your office, be it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly and make note of the items that need to be restocked.

You could also keep track of which supplies move the fastest (you’ll have to order these items more frequently than others) as well as the lowest possible level of supplies on which you can function before you need to order more items.

For example, you might find that once you get down to half a case of printing paper, it’s time to order several more cases.

Take advantage of office supply rewards programs.

Lastly, consider taking advantage of online ordering of office supplies.

There’s several good reasons behind this: you can often save orders so it’s easy to reorder supplies in future.

Plus, you can sign up to receive points or rewards for your purchase and apply them towards future purchases.

How about you? What’s the one office supply item that always seems to catch you by surprise once you’ve run out of the item? How will you use the above tips to help prevent last-minute restocking? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Office supplies like pens, pencils, toner, paper and more, get expensive over time. For a new business, it’s important to control your spending on these sundry items, otherwise it’s profits down the drain when you don’t. Whether it’s minor or major, the costs quickly add up and break the budget.

Here are some tips on managing your office supply inventory to avoid it becoming a problem.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Create a Request System

While there is likely going to be a dedicated stock room (or at least a cabinet) for office supplies, not everyone should have access to it. Open access leads to wastefulness when staff think they’re not accountable for what they take and use. Instead, put these under lock and key to avoid staff members wandering in and taking what they want.

Create a request system where a form must be submitted to the office manager to request what’s needed. This avoids supplies disappearing, makes staff think twice before getting supplies because their name is on the request, and it creates a permanent register of the requests too.

Should there later be a problem with costly office supplies, individual staff members can be spoken to in order to better understand why they’re burning through them so fast.

Keep Everything Organized

When ordering too many supplies, everything can start to get jumbled. Then it’s more difficult to do a stock take at a later time. It’s also harder to find what you’re looking for when completing an order to delivery to a member of staff too.

Group similar items together to make them easier to find. Therefore, items like different types of paper should be located nearby . This makes it faster to fulfill an order for a notepad and some loose paper because it’s all near to each other.

Plan When to Reorder Supplies

When you track what remains of the office supplies and set a convenient reorder level for each item, then you can trigger when to place a new order.

To determine the correct reorder levels, bear in mind how often certain items are used to see how fast they’ll run out. A limited existing supply might be fine for several months at a stretch, whereas other items gets used up much sooner. Consider if securing the item is harder if it’s unusual, with delays for sourcing times, and factor in delivery time too. Don’t wait until the stock is too low to place an order to keep the item in stock, because staff will complain when they cannot immediately get the supplies they need.

Managing Inventory

Managing inventory can be done using software or through a spreadsheet. Using inventory software is more helpful for taking stock inventory, managing supplies and setting triggers for individual stock items. This can create alerts through the desktop software and often with SMS messages as well to alert the office manager that an item needs ordering.

A spreadsheet such as Google Sheets could also be used to list stock items, their current level and what number is the trigger point. Set up a column in the spreadsheet that highlights when one of the stock items is below the recommended level. It’s not as efficient or convenient, but for smaller companies that neither use many supplies nor want the expense of the software, it’s a workable solution.

Managing inventory isn’t too difficult, but it does take time to get it right. When following sensible procedures and tracking it well, running out of certain stock items is completely avoidable. While you won’t get much praise for doing so, it certainly avoids receiving any complaints.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Office Supplies Inventory Management Software And Its Importance Today

Most of the businesses out there run their operations on a day to day basis and managing their office supplies is just an afterthought.

However, there are those who proactively manage their office supplies by using an office supplies inventory management software. They not only save money and time but also avert missing important deadlines.

What else can bring work progress to a standstill faster than running out of basics like paper, tape, laminating supplies, envelopes, toner cartridges and pens!

As soon as you have the supplies on hand, you need to track your usage and spending. After all, office supplies cost money. Luckily you have the option of using a robust office supplies inventory management system.

Such a system lets you control your office inventory by helping you loosen up your budget along with making sure that you have all the supplies you need when you need it.

What does office supplies inventory management software do for your business?

1. It saves time and minimizes negative consequences

A business that doesn’t track its office supplies has to face the damage of sudden stock outs.

Shortage of paper clips can’t be that bad but what if you run out of printer cartridges when you are actually in the middle of making time-sensitive documents like sale proposals.

You will then have to waste your precious time running to a printout store. Why face the dire consequences of missing a deadline just because you ran short of critical supplies?

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

For instance, if you have to submit a printed bid for a competitive contract, not having proper paper or printer ink can come in the way of last minute changes.

Office supply tracking can save you from such dire consequences that result from the shortage of critical office supplies.

By using an online office supplies inventory management system, you can use a barcode reader to record current stock levels. This data can then be transmitted to the software system.

2. It helps you to set reorder points

How many blue pens do you need to replace in a month? How many boxes of copy paper do you use in a week?

You can figure out the reorder level for each item with the help of office supplies inventory management software. You can calculate how fast your company uses those items and how soon a replacement is required.

When thinking about your reorder point, you should also consider possible delays and delivery time.

Think about a situation where your company uses four boxes of paper clips in a week and it takes a week for the item to be delivered to you from the supplier.

Your reorder should take place as soon as your inventory drops to five to seven boxes. Reordering supplies before an inventory stock drops too low offers time.

This is helpful in case delay occurs in delivery or paperclip usage increases.

As soon as you figure out your reorder point, you can set up an automated reorder process using the office supplies inventory management software.

Automated reordering takes the burden off the manager’s shoulders and makes sure that your office supply needs are fulfilled. You don’t have to worry about neglecting or forgetting it anymore.

3. It enables you to save additional costs

Tracking your office supplies with an inventory management system can help you save money. It allows you to control shrinkage and prevent overstocking.

When companies don’t track office supplies , they tend to buy more than they need out of fear for running out of supplies.

Over-ordering supplies chew away the working capital of a company and tie up cash that could have been used somewhere else.

Having too many supplies not only takes up storage space but also tempts employees to steal particularly when they know office supplies are not being tracked.

Many office workers admit to stealing office supplies. Over-ordering also adds up to the costs associated with shipping, purchasing and unpacking.

With a tool for office supplies inventory management , you will know just the amount of supplies you require to optimize your inventory for office supply and save money.

4. It enables you to make well-informed purchases

The office supplies inventory management system makes you are aware of the rate of supply utilization. This helps you to predict the purchasing needs.

Using this data, bulk orders can then be placed. Only if you track your office supplies and know the utilization requirements, you can make sure that large orders make economic sense.

Tracking inventory levels is important to ensure that you purchase exactly when you need and what you need. How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Check out your usage trends and purchase accordingly!

Order larger volumes of office supplies and use those volumes to lower both the prices and per unit shipping costs.

Office supplies inventory tracking software lets you use volumes in the right manner and at the right time, keeping you productive for more hours of the week, month and year.

By tracking the history trail of office supply usage, you can analyze the seasonality and time your purchases accordingly.

By doing this, you have an adequate amount of office supplies to move through your busiest phases without additional ordering.

EZOfficeInventory – Control your office supplies inventory efficiently!

EZOfficeInventory’s office supplies inventory management software allows you to track your inventory of office supplies and maintain a good level of supplies at hand.

This not only prevents theft but also makes the end of year tax accounting easier. Every company tends to maintain a selection of office supplies for employee use.

This means that you have to constantly update the list of inventory used and purchased within a specific period and you can do that easily with our office supply tracking system.

With accurate inventory, your business will never run out of necessary office supplies. Also, you will able to make informed purchases of supplies in the future.

It is true that the value of office supplies inventory management system depends on the size of your business but even small businesses can benefit from it.

You don’t have to set yourself up for desperate runs to the office supplies store to avert missing a client’s deadline. With our office supply tracking system, operate your business more efficiently.

Easily avert panicky situations just because of unavailability of the needed office supplies. No matter what the situation, we have you covered!

Learn more about our office supplies inventory management software

EZOfficeInventory is the leading office supplies inventory management software used by businesses around the world. Track your inventory of office supplies and never miss a deadline!

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Did you know that the average American uses around 700 pounds of paper each year? If you work in an office, odds are your yearly average is at or above that number, which isn’t good for the planet or for your office supply budget.

While office supplies are a must-have, you can do some things to prevent your staff members from wasting things like paper each day. Not sure how to do that? We’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks you can use to inventory your office supplies better. That way, you can cut down on waste and reduce your office supply budget for good.

Organize Your Supply Closet

Whether it’s a closet, a room, or a space in an office somewhere, odds are you have a particular area designated for storing office supplies. No matter how much space you have to work with, make sure that your supply area is organized, so you can get a better idea of what you have at all times.

Having an organized supply area is especially important if you aren’t working with much space. That way you can ensure you’re storing everything as efficiently as possible.

Track Your Supplies Daily

If your office is like most, supplies are going to be going out almost daily. Because of this, you’re going to need to track what items are being used each day to prevent running out of them without notice.

A pro tip? Make it mandatory for people to ask for supplies. That way you can make note of what is being grabbed by your employees in real-time, as well as track who is using the most stuff.

Order New Supplies on Time

Once you notice you’re getting low on a particular item, go ahead and place an order for some more office supplies. Be sure to keep in mind shipping dates, and what you might need in a few days when making your order.

If you can, consider making a list and going to pick up office supplies yourself in person. This will help you get things back into the office a bit faster, and can even save you some money, too.

Survey Employees for Ideas

Nobody knows your office, and how it functions, better than your employees. Because of this, we recommend that you survey them often for new ideas, including those related to the way you stock your office supplies.

Someone on your team may have a good idea of how to better store supplies that will allow you to keep more items in stock. Or perhaps someone will have a suggestion on how you can eliminate a particular item from the office for good.

Regardless, it’s never a bad idea to ask around and see if anyone has an idea or two that can make things better.

How to Manage Your Office Supplies: A Guide

Well, there you have it! Those are some tips and tricks you can use to ensure that you and your team never run out of office supplies again!

Remember, having a solid inventory system that you track daily is key to keeping your office supply closet stocked up. So, if you don’t have a system in place already, sit down with a few people on your staff and make one today.

Are you looking for more ways to improve workflow in the office? Check out our website.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Proactively manage office supply inventory to ensure everyone on your team has the supplies they need to succeed. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to tackle office supply inventory management, including supply closet organization, inventory supply lists, and free supply request templates. Never run out of envelopes again!

Scroll below for more on the following topics:

  • Supply Closet Setup and Organization
  • Supplies Around the Office
  • Office Supply Inventory Lists
  • 3 Ways to Manage Office Supply Requests (with templates)
  • Building Trust in the Office

Supply Closet Setup and Organization

A Spot for Each Supply

Ensure each supply has a storage location. Without a designated spot for each supply, your closet will get out of your control. It’s a lot of work—we hear ya!—but in the end, an organized supply closet will save you time and money.

Use small boxes, bins, and containers to hold each supply. These will add visual appeal to your supply closet while keeping your supplies organized and secure. This is especially helpful for smaller supplies that can get lost or roll off of a shelf if not stored in a container.

Organize Based on Supply Type

Ensure each supply has its own location organized by the type of supply and the frequency of its use—store all of the writing utensils in the same area, keep all of the paper in the same area, etc. Store the most frequently used items in the most accessible areas, if possible, closer to the entrance of your supply closet/room.

Label Where Supplies Go

Once you have a designated spot for each of your supplies, you need to label them. Don’t skip this step even if you think it’s obvious where the supplies are stored. Each person in the office might have a different interpretation of where a tool should go, and as new hires join your team, labels will ensure they understand your organizational system from day one.

Schedule Supply Closet Cleaning

We said it! Supply closets need cleaning. Don’t wait until your supply closet or room is unwieldy. Regularly scheduled cleanings or organization days will ensure your office supply management is functional and up to date all year round.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Supplies Around the Office

While an office supply closet will keep the majority of your inventory, there are some cases when you need a designated area for supplies throughout the office. Take care when choosing what supplies are stored outside of your inventory area as they will be more challenging to manage and can cause clutter. Only keep office supplies around the office in cases that will make your team more efficient.

? Keep paper near the printer or fax machine. You can save your team time and effort by storing paper by any machine that requires frequent paper refills.

? Keep extra dry erase markers near dry erase boards. If a dry erase marker runs out of juice or rolls underneath a table during a meeting or presentation, you don’t want to pause for a trip to the supply cupboard. Always have a sufficient supply of markers available wherever you have whiteboards. Keep them in a designated cup or container for optimal organization. Bonus points if you can match the container to your company branding or office aesthetic!

Which supplies should have a designated location in your office outside of the supply closet? Determine which supplies get used by your team most frequently and which supplies need to be on hand at all times. A simple container for these essential tools will help your team be more efficient.

Office Supply Inventory Lists

To properly manage your office supplies, you need to have an inventory list. We recommend using an online spreadsheet for ease of use and so that the document can be effortlessly shared with other team members. A Google Sheets spreadsheet saves automatically and you can designate editing permissions. They are incredibly customizable so you can design your inventory list to meet the specific needs of your business.

If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, you can easily create an inventory list in a Google Document. Whichever you choose, we recommend using an online document for your inventory so there’s no chance of losing an unsaved file, and to aid in a simple transition whenever new admins are hired.

While many small businesses seem to run their operations on a day-to-day basis and to manage their supplies as an afterthought, others take a much more proactive approach to managing office supplies. The latter approach can save you time and money, and can help you avert missing important deadlines.

How do you manage supplies for your business? Do you proactively manage your packaging essentials (bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, etc.), printer ink and paper, and filing and storage tools? Or do you leave these items to the last minute or even until they’ve completely run out, setting yourself up for desperate runs to the office supplies store to avert missing a client deadline?

Perhaps your concern lies with cash flow, and to hold back on ordering too much means to retain more capital on hand. Granted, cash flow is a concern. However, by limiting your purchases you may be missing out on potential cost savings for your business as well as wasting valuable time with additional ordering. Regardless of why your business buys the way it does, there are still some effective strategies for managing supplies for any business. By following the guidelines below, you can operate your business more efficiently and can avert panicky situations when the supplies you need simply are not on-hand.

Use Economies of Scale

One truth of managing supplies is that every company has volumes it can use to lower the purchase prices on office supplies. The key is to be willing to amalgamate volumes and use those volumes to negotiate lower prices. Think outside the box. Ask vendors to bulk ship larger volumes of supplies and use those volumes to not only lower prices, but also to lower your per-unit shipping costs.
Analyze the seasonality of your business, and time your purchases so that you have sufficient volumes to get you through your busiest periods without additional ordering.

Or partner with other businesses in your town, or with colleagues and partners who run their own businesses. You can take this idea further by approaching any association or group to which you belong, seeking a purchasing coalition to dramatically lower prices for each business individually through bulk ordering.

Also, ask vendors if they offer recycling services, and if they give a discount in the case that you utilize such services.

Also on StartupNation.com: Making your Office Cost Efficient

Track Inventory Levels

Many businesses rationalize their behavior when it comes to their inability to track their inventory level of supplies. Any business can easily track its supply levels, but unfortunately these businesses simply lack discipline. Don’t allow this to happen to you.

Tracking inventory levels is an essential part of making sure you purchase exactly what you need, and when you need it. The purpose isn’t to “over purchase” supplies, but to use volumes in the right manner and at the right time so that you are productive for more hours of the week, month and year. When you consider the lost opportunity cost of losing half a day simply because you ran out of printer ink at an inopportune time, the impact to your business becomes clear.

To track supplies, use any system that you will be sure to use repeatedly throughout the year. There’s software available to help you keep track, but even simple spreadsheets will do. The most important thing is that it’s a system that you’ll actually use, rather than use once or twice and then skip in the future.

Manage Cash Flow Against the Cost of Money

Companies that decide to purchase in bulk do so when their savings on price outweigh their cost of money or their cost of capital. For larger companies that finance the purchase of inventory and supplies with credit lines, you need to include the cost of the credit in your calculations. If the savings accrued on purchasing larger volumes of supplies is larger than the company’s costs of money, then the decision to order more is the right one. Managing a company’s supplies should focus on tracking a company’s volumes and using those volumes to secure lower purchase prices, and freight costs on incoming shipments. However, that should only happen if the savings accrued from these lower prices is more than the financing costs of holding supplies for longer periods. Use your volumes to lower your costs on supplies, but don’t allow your financing costs to take away from those savings.

Sowingo is a cloud-based eCommerce and dental inventory management solution that enables you to efficiently purchase dental supplies, track all inventory, and monitor supply levels.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

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How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

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Unsure how it works? Watch the video below!

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How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

For years I’ve been waiting for something other than a spreadsheet or a card file to track my implant usage and inventory. When I found Sowingo, it sounded like exactly what I needed.

Your equipment is a vital part of your business. But are you making the most of it? Read on to discover our 8 tips to improve your business’ effectiveness and productivity!

Each tip on its own will save you money and time managing the equipment in your inventory, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you implement all of the advice below, equipment inventory management will have a much bigger impact on your business.

TL;DR? watch this video!

1. Know what you have

Do you know exactly what equipment is in your inventory? You might have an idea, but I bet the combined value of all your supporting equipment is higher than you’d expect.

So, you do have an overview. Great. Is it up to date, though? If your list is static and a year or more old, it is worth less than the paper it is printed on.

Your equipment inventory list should be:

  • Complete: include all of your assets
  • Accurate: provide enough information – value, location, capabilities, …
  • Up-to-date: always reflect your changing inventory

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

2. Track how it is used

Once you know what you have, the next step is knowing exactly how it is being used. There are several questions you should be able to answer for each piece of equipment in your inventory:

  • How often is it used?
  • Who uses it?
  • When and where is it used?

When you know what you have and how it is used you can make informed decisions about your current and future equipment management strategy. Time to start making improvements!

3. Right asset, right place, right time

If you have multiple locations, how should you divide your assets between them? An equal division sounds logical but is not effective, as demand for equipment is unlikely to be the same everywhere.

With accurate and up-to-date usage data you can deploy your assets where they are needed most. Why have equipment gathering dust in one place when there is a shortage elsewhere?

Demand and supply fluctuate over time as well. Offering a discount might let you make money on items that weren’t going to be used anyway, or you can rent extra equipment yourself to bridge short periods of increased demand.

4. Don’t spend more – spend smarter

One way to ensure that the right equipment is available at the right time is to buy more of everything. But this is inherently wasteful – some of the extra equipment will be put to good use, while the rest will simply sit in storage.

Luckily we can avoid this waste, based on the information we gathered in the earlier steps. By prioritizing your spending on the equipment that is used most you can get the most bang for your buck!

5. Fix things before they break

Would you rather:

  • A: Spend an hour every week making sure your equipment is in great shape
  • B: Spend a day every month repairing equipment that has broken down

Even looking simply at time spent maintenance is clearly the best choice. And while equipment always seems to break down at the worst time possible, you can plan your maintenance ahead of time.

Equipment that is used all the time is obviously more valuable to your business than equipment that is used once a week. But it is also more likely to break down, so it is in higher need of regular maintenance. Plan maintenance based on need, instead of a fixed schedule for all equipment, to make optimal use of your time.

And because you know when your equipment is most likely to be idle you can schedule maintenance to reduce its impact on the rest of your business.

6. Find underlying issues

If an important piece of equipment breaks down once, it’s an annoyance. But what if it keeps breaking down, over and over? Now that you have data on your equipment, use it!

Look for trends so you can find underlying issues instead of scratching the surface.

Perhaps the breakdowns are caused by an employee who didn’t receive the proper training and has been using the equipment the wrong way. In this case replacing the equipment won’t solve the problem – it’ll just cost you more money in the long run!

7. Buy the best

Inevitably equipment will have to be replaced or upgraded. But here again you can use the information you’ve gathered to spend your money smarter.

  • Which brands cause the most issues?
  • Which equipment is liked best?
  • Which equipment loses you the most time and money by breaking down?

8. Use the right equipment inventory system

You can of course try to keep track of this information with pen and paper, for instance using an equipment signout form to know who’s using the gear – just as you can still use horse-drawn carts to get around.

We might be slightly biased, but we truly do believe that using a modern, user-friendly equipment inventory system is the best solution for your business. It automates a lot of the background work, so you can focus on the things that really matter.

We hope that these tips can help you make the most out of your equipment. Spending a bit of time here can have a massive impact on your business’s efficiency and profits!

Inventory management is a systematic approach to sourcing, storing, and selling inventory—both raw materials (components) and finished goods (products).

In business terms, inventory management means the right stock, at the right levels, in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost as well as price.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

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How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Entrepreneurs, founders, and independent brands now live in a native commerce world where small-to-medium businesses compete against global conglomerates.

We’ve put together this definitive guide to inventory management to level the playing field and help you grow your brand with speed, scalability, and smart insights. You’ll find everything you need from inventory control basics to best practices and formulas to advanced automation processes.

Inventory management definition

As a part of your supply chain, inventory management includes aspects such as controlling and overseeing purchases — from suppliers as well as customers — maintaining the storage of stock, controlling the amount of product for sale, and order fulfillment.

Naturally, your company’s precise inventory management meaning will vary based on the types of products you sell and the channels you sell them through. But as long as those basic ingredients are present, you’ll have a solid foundation to build upon.

Small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) often use Excel, Google Sheets, or other manual tools to keep track of inventory databases and make decisions about ordering.

However, knowing when to reorder, how much to order, where to store stock, and so on can quickly become a complicated process. As a result, many growing businesses graduate to an inventory management app, software, or system with capabilities beyond manual databases and formulas.

With these systems, the procedures of inventory management extend beyond basic reordering and stock monitoring to encompass everything from end-to-end production and business management to lead time and demand forecasting to metrics, reports, and even accounting.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Powerful inventory and order management software

Retail inventory management

Retail is the broadest catch-all term to describe business-to-consumer (B2C) selling. There are essentially two types of retail separated by how and where a sale takes place.

  • First, online retail (eCommerce) where the purchase takes place digitally.
  • Second, offline retail where the purchase is physical through a brick-and-mortar storefront or a salesperson.

Wholesale, on the other hand, refers to business-to-business (B2B) selling. Knowing the differences and best practices of retail and wholesale is critical to success.

Most businesses maintain stock across multiple channels as well as in multiple locations. The diversity of retail inventory management adds to its complexity and drives home its importance to your brand.

Importance of inventory management

For any goods-based businesses, the value of inventory cannot be overstated, which is why inventory management benefits your operational efficiency and longevity.

From SMBs to companies already using enterprise resource planning (ERP), without a smart approach, you’ll face an army of challenges, including blown-out costs, loss of profits, poor customer service, and even outright failure.

From a product perspective, the importance of inventory management lies in understanding what stock you have on hand, where it is in your warehouse(s), and how it’s coming in and out.

Clear visibility helps you:

  • Reduce costs
  • Optimize fulfillment
  • Provide better customer service
  • Prevent loss from theft, spoilage, and returns

In a broader context, inventory management also provides insights into your financial standing, customer behaviors and preferences, product and business opportunities, future trends, and more.

Inventory management program

Before digging into strategies, techniques, and processes, let’s take a look at some of the inventory management basics for beginners: namely, the terminology and formulas you’ll need.

Inventory management terms

Inventory management formulas

If you’re new to inventory, you’ll probably come across a lot of formulas that might seem confusing at first. However, with a little bit of homework, these formulas can be very useful for keeping stock levels optimized.

Here’s an overview of some of the most common inventory formulas…

1. Economic order quantity (EOQ) formula

Your EOQ is the optimum number of products you should purchase to minimize the total cost of ordering or holding stock. Figuring out your EOQ can potentially save you a significant amount of money.

EOQ = √(2DK / H), or the square root of (2 x D x K / H)

D = Setup or order costs (per order, generally includes shipping and handling)
K = Demand rate (quantity sold per year)
H = Holding or carrying costs (per year, per unit)

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Compute the economic order quantity for a product using the calculator below:

P lace the most frequently used items on shelves at eye level and place less popular items higher up. If something isn’t being used, toss it and make a note not to order more in the future. Keep the supply room as neat as possible. Encourage employees to put extra supplies back where they found them.

How do you monitor and control office supplies?

Organizing Tip: How to Keep Track of Office Supplies

  1. Make a detailed master list of supplies.
  2. Store items in a central location.
  3. Schedule a routine supply check.
  4. Take advantage of office supply rewards programs.

What is the classification of office supplies?

The range of items classified as office supplies varies, and typically includes small, expendable, daily use items, consumable products, small machines, higher cost equipment such as computers, as well as office furniture and art.

How do you manage inventory supplies?

Here are some of the techniques that many small businesses use to manage inventory:

  1. Fine-tune your forecasting.
  2. Use the FIFO approach (first in, first out).
  3. Identify low-turn stock.
  4. Audit your stock.
  5. Use cloud-based inventory management software.
  6. Track your stock levels at all times.
  7. Reduce equipment repair times.

What are supplies inventory?

Supplies, or supply inventory, is usually another name for MRO inventory. It’s composed of the consumable materials, equipment, and supplies that are used for production but aren’t a part of the finished product.

How do you manage your supplies?

To that end, here are 5 easy ways to better manage your suppliers:

  1. Communicate once, reach many.
  2. Keep all your information in one place.
  3. Let suppliers manage their own information.
  4. Integrate SBM with your sourcing and contract efforts.
  5. Get the information right, and keep it right.

How do I track my office supplies inventory?

Visit your company’s supply closet with an inventory log sheet to record the supplies currently on hand. If your company prefers to maintain office supply inventory records in a spreadsheet or word processing table, bring a laptop or tablet to expedite the data entry process.

What are the examples of office supplies?

20 Essential Office Supplies for Your Small Business in 2020

  • Writing Tools. Pens, Markers, Highlighters, Pencils, Sharpeners and Erasers.
  • Grouping Tools. Stapler, Staples, Stapler Remover, Rubber Bands and Paper Clips.
  • Paper Shredder.
  • Planner.
  • Files and Folders.
  • Computers – Desktop And Laptops.
  • Printers.
  • Broadband and Wi-Fi.

What are office supplies expenses?

Office supplies expense is the amount of administrative supplies charged to expense in a reporting period. These items are charged to expense when used; or, if the cost of supplies is immaterial, it is charged to expense when the cost is initially incurred.

Are office supplies included in inventory?

It’s important to keep office supplies separate from inventory expenses. Inventory is always considered an asset since it’s not consumable. Office expenses: Office expenses, like office supplies, are typically recorded as an expense rather than an asset.

How do you make office supplies for inventory?

  1. Step 1: Prepare an Inventory Log.
  2. Step 2: Group Supplies by Type or Location.
  3. Step 3: Do an Item Count.
  4. Step 4: Determine Reorder Levels.
  5. Step 5: Record Supply Purchases.
  6. Step 1: Update the Company Ledger.
  7. Step 2: Perform Periodic Inventory Checks.
  8. Step 3: Update the Inventory Log.

How do you record office supplies?

If the cost is significant, small businesses can record the amount of unused supplies on their balance sheet in the asset account under Supplies. The business would then record the supplies used during the accounting period on the income statement as Supplies Expense.

How to manage inventory of office supplies?

How to Manage Inventory of Office Supplies 1 Assign Office Inventory Management. One of the first rules of good office inventory management is to ensure it has a manager. 2 Use the FIFO Method. FIFO is an acronym for first in, first out. 3 Leverage Buying to Reduce Costs. 4 Organize Office Supplies Effectively.

What is office supply management and why is it important?

Office supply management involves considering how to most effectively order, track and organize your office supplies to reduce costs and avoid waste. You will want to assign a gatekeeper to manage the process. It helps to use the FIFO method and leverage buying to take advantage of discounts.

How to make a list of office supplies?

1 Appoint a supplies manager to oversee inventory. 2 Keep supplies stored in a central location. 3 Organize the supply area so it’s easy to navigate. 4 Create a master list of office supplies. 5 Transfer the list of supplies to a spreadsheet. 6 Count the items and add the totals to your spreadsheet.

How do you manage your office supply closet?

The key to managing any inventory, including those in your office supply closet, is attention. If you pay attention to what you have, how much you use and how often you need more, you can create an office inventory method that works for you and saves you money.

Inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing, using, and selling a company’s inventory. This includes the management of raw materials, components, and finished products, as well as warehousing and processing of such items.

Key Takeaways

  • Inventory management is the entire process of managing inventories from raw materials to finished products.
  • Inventory management tries to efficiently streamline inventories to avoid both gluts and shortages.
  • Two major methods for inventory management are just-in-time (JIT) and materials requirement planning (MRP).

Inventory Management

Understanding Inventory Management

A company’s inventory is one of its most valuable assets. In retail, manufacturing, food services, and other inventory-intensive sectors, a company’s inputs and finished products are the core of its business. A shortage of inventory when and where it’s needed can be extremely detrimental.

At the same time, inventory can be thought of as a liability (if not in an accounting sense). A large inventory carries the risk of spoilage, theft, damage, or shifts in demand. Inventory must be insured, and if it is not sold in time it may have to be disposed of at clearance prices—or simply destroyed.

For these reasons, inventory management is important for businesses of any size. Knowing when to restock inventory, what amounts to purchase or produce, what price to pay—as well as when to sell and at what price—can easily become complex decisions. Small businesses will often keep track of stock manually and determine the reorder points and quantities using spreadsheet (Excel) formulas. Larger businesses will use specialized enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The largest corporations use highly customized software as a service (SaaS) applications.

Appropriate inventory management strategies vary depending on the industry. An oil depot is able to store large amounts of inventory for extended periods of time, allowing it to wait for demand to pick up. While storing oil is expensive and risky—a fire in the UK in 2005 led to millions of pounds in damage and fines—there is no risk that the inventory will spoil or go out of style. For businesses dealing in perishable goods or products for which demand is extremely time-sensitive—2021 calendars or fast-fashion items, for example—sitting on inventory is not an option, and misjudging the timing or quantities of orders can be costly.

For companies with complex supply chains and manufacturing processes, balancing the risks of inventory gluts and shortages is especially difficult. To achieve these balances, firms have developed several methods for inventory management, including just-in-time (JIT) and materials requirement planning (MRP).

Some firms like financial services firms do not have physical inventory and so must rely on service process management.

Accounting for Inventory

Inventory represents a current asset since a company typically intends to sell its finished goods within a short amount of time, typically a year. Inventory has to be physically counted or measured before it can be put on a balance sheet. Companies typically maintain sophisticated inventory management systems capable of tracking real-time inventory levels.

Inventory is accounted for using one of three methods: first-in-first-out (FIFO) costing; last-in-first-out (LIFO) costing; or weighted-average costing. An inventory account typically consists of four separate categories:

    — represent various materials a company purchases for its production process. These materials must undergo significant work before a company can transform them into a finished good ready for sale. (also known as goods-in-process) — represents raw materials in the process of being transformed into a finished product.
  1. Finished goods — are completed products readily available for sale to a company’s customers.
  2. Merchandise — represents finished goods a company buys from a supplier for future resale.

Inventory Management Methods

Depending on the type of business or product being analyzed, a company will use various inventory management methods. Some of these management methods include just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, materials requirement planning (MRP), economic order quantity (EOQ), and days sales of inventory (DSI).

  • Just-in-Time Management (JIT) — This manufacturing model originated in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Toyota Motor (TM) contributed the most to its development. The method allows companies to save significant amounts of money and reduce waste by keeping only the inventory they need to produce and sell products. This approach reduces storage and insurance costs, as well as the cost of liquidating or discarding excess inventory. JIT inventory management can be risky. If demand unexpectedly spikes, the manufacturer may not be able to source the inventory it needs to meet that demand, damaging its reputation with customers and driving business toward competitors. Even the smallest delays can be problematic; if a key input does not arrive “just in time,” a bottleneck can result.
  • Materials requirement planning (MRP) — This inventory management method is sales-forecast dependent, meaning that manufacturers must have accurate sales records to enable accurate planning of inventory needs and to communicate those needs with materials suppliers in a timely manner. For example, a ski manufacturer using an MRP inventory system might ensure that materials such as plastic, fiberglass, wood, and aluminum are in stock based on forecasted orders. Inability to accurately forecast sales and plan inventory acquisitions results in a manufacturer’s inability to fulfill orders.
  • Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) — This model is used in inventory management by calculating the number of units a company should add to its inventory with each batch order to reduce the total costs of its inventory while assuming constant consumer demand. The costs of inventory in the model include holding and setup costs. The EOQ model seeks to ensure that the right amount of inventory is ordered per batch so a company does not have to make orders too frequently and there is not an excess of inventory sitting on hand. It assumes that there is a trade-off between inventory holding costs and inventory setup costs, and total inventory costs are minimized when both setup costs and holding costs are minimized.
  • Days sales of inventory (DSI) — is a financial ratio that indicates the average time in days that a company takes to turn its inventory, including goods that are a work in progress, into sales. DSI is also known as the average age of inventory, days inventory outstanding (DIO), days in inventory (DII), days sales in inventory or days inventory and is interpreted in multiple ways. Indicating the liquidity of the inventory, the figure represents how many days a company’s current stock of inventory will last. Generally, a lower DSI is preferred as it indicates a shorter duration to clear off the inventory, though the average DSI varies from one industry to another.

There are other methods to analyze inventory. If a company frequently switches its method of inventory accounting without reasonable justification, it is likely its management is trying to paint a brighter picture of its business than what is true. The SEC requires public companies to disclose LIFO reserve that can make inventories under LIFO costing comparable to FIFO costing.  

Frequent inventory write-offs can indicate a company's issues with selling its finished goods or inventory obsolescence. This can also raise red flags with a company's ability to stay competitive and manufacture products that appeal to consumers going forward.

An Inventory Specialist, or Inventory Control Specialist, oversees the ordering, storing, receiving and distributing processes of an organization’s products and supplies. Their main duties include controlling the flow of supplies and equipment, tracking and analyzing inventory maintenance and developing protocols for loss mitigation.

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Inventory Manager duties and responsibilities

Inventory Managers maintain daily records for invoices and shipments to identify which products need to be replenished. Some Inventory Managers track inventory with lists, but most use inventory management or supply chain software that calculates monthly and seasonal demand. Additional duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Designing and implementing an inventory tracking system for optimized inventory control procedures
  • Examine the levels of raw materials and supplies to determine shortages
  • Document daily shipments and deliveries to replenish inventory
  • Create detailed reports for adjustments, inventory operations and stock levels
  • Evaluating new inventory, ensuring it’s ready to ship
  • Properly order new supplies avoiding excessive surplus or inefficiencies
  • Analyze various suppliers to ensure the company is receiving the best cost-effective deals
  • Hire and train new employees

Inventory Manager Job Description Examples

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What does an Inventory Manager do?

Inventory Specialists usually work for department or retail stores, developing procedures to effectively manage and maintain a company’s inventory. They’ll make sure a company’s shipment is accurate by conducting inventory counting processes. Inventory Specialists also oversee and manage the inventory storage space in the warehouse to ensure there’s enough room to store new product shipments.

When inventories start to run low, the Inventory Specialist will place restock orders and make sure they never run out of essential inventory items. They also use management software systems and technologies to manage and update their inventory records accordingly.

Inventory Manager skills and qualifications

Inventory Managers are responsible for recording and ordering materials, products and supplies for both small and large businesses. Individuals with strong record-keeping and organizational skills are often a good fit for an inventory management career. Strong communication skills are essential for Inventory Managers, as they must be able to communicate with customers and employees on a regular basis effectively. In addition, the following skills and qualifications are essential for the position:

  • Leadership skills for hiring employees, resolving conflicts and keeping employees on task and motivated
  • Critical-thinking skills to establish action plans and routinely assess their effectiveness
  • Organizational skills to manage multiple moving pieces, people and orders
  • Problem-solving skills to anticipate problems before they happen and handle them appropriately when they do

Inventory Manager salary expectations

An Inventory Manager makes an average of $57,941 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Inventory Manager education and training requirements

Most Inventory Manager positions require a four-year bachelor’s degree from one of several applicable majors, including business administration and supply chain management where topics ranging from logistics to productivity are covered. Many students also utilize computer models to simulate distribution mechanisms or inventory management.

Some Inventory Manager positions also have certification requirements. Many professionals pursue the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation by successfully passing five exams through voluntary certification programs offered by the Association for Operations Management (APICS). Once certified, Inventory Managers maintain certification by accumulating points by participating in additional APICS-approved activities and continuing education courses.

Inventory Manager experience requirements

Many colleges and universities offer a master’s degree or graduate certificate programs in supply chain management or operations for Inventory Managers interested in pursuing upper-level positions. Additional courses in information technology are also useful as companies increase the role of automation and computers in the inventory management process.

Job description samples for similar positions

If this Inventory Manager job description template isn’t what you’re looking for, see our job descriptions for related positions:

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

An important part of keeping your company running at the optimal level is making sure that office resources are available at all times. All your employees need access to the various office supplies they require in order to perform their duties. These supplies could include paper, pens, staplers, whiteboards , whiteboard markers and other items of stationery. They are all necessary for your enterprise and should be monitored. There’s a chance you’re running out of them at a quick rate, or perhaps you’re buying more than you need. To avoid this, there are numerous ways to maintain your office resources properly and thoroughly.

Limit access

If there’s an area or even just a cabinet where you keep your supplies, it’s wise to keep a limit on who has access to it. You shouldn’t just keep it open all day without any restrictions on what and how many supplies are taken. Appoint somebody like your secretary or office administrator to be the gatekeeper to your office supply area, so that when employees need supplies they first have to go through that person in order to access them.

Another idea would be to restrict access to only a select group of people among your workforce, say the heads of different departments. Make sure that only they have keys to the supply area so that when a certain department is low on supplies, they can collect what’s necessary and distribute it. Also consider creating a log for employees to use when they do access the supply area.

Create an inventory log

Keep a log of all the supplies your company has and make sure it is constantly updated. This way, you can keep a firm eye on the supplies you have as well as the rate at which they’re leaving your supply area. You’ll also know which supplies need to be replenished. Perhaps you could list your supplies and their amounts on a Google Sheet. With the SUM formula, every time a product is removed you can log it on the sheet and the formula will calculate how many are left.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Organise your current stock

While you have supplies, keep them properly organised. Neatening up your office supply area will make it easier for your employees to access the office accessories they need. Not only that, keeping an inventory will be easier. You’ll be able to locate supplies more quickly and also ascertain more easily what accessories are being used too frequently and which ones aren’t being used at all. If certain supplies are going too quickly, then bring up the issue with your employees so that they know to be more sparing. If some supplies aren’t being used at all, then you’ll know not to purchase them in the future.

Use as much up before reordering

Don’t overstock your supply area, as some supplies do expire over time. For example, inks, toners and pens eventually dry out, so there’s no sense in ordering more while what you’ve already got is still usable. Before purchasing more items, first wait until your stock looks like it needs to be replenished. That way, you’ll know you’ve used up as much of what you’ve already bought. You’ll be saving your company money and resources.

You need to be economical, resourceful and thorough when it comes to handling your office supplies. Designate a supply area and keep an inventory of what you have, making sure to replenish items only if and when need be. It’s also a good idea to restrict access to your supplies. You don’t want employees wandering into the supply room whenever suits them and taking whatever they like. Take a more streamlined approach to managing your supplies and it’s likely that they’ll last longer.

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Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Hopefully not, but if they do, you may be experiencing inventory control problems. Managing inventory can be one of the most arduous tasks that face greenhouse managers. But it doesn’t have to be. Applying some basic inventory management principles may eliminate some of the headaches.

In order to maintain control of plant materials, equipment, tools, and supplies, an inventory control system is needed. Business management experts often classify inventory systems according to the usage of the item in inventory. Following this line of thought, a greenhouse inventory system can be categorized into three groups including plant material inventory, equipment inventory, and supply inventory. The following discussion considers only equipment and supply inventory. Plant material inventory systems will be discussed next month.

A considerable financial investment is made in equipping and maintaining a production greenhouse operation including cars, trucks, tractors, potting machines, pumps, injectors and irrigation equipment, sprayers, storage equipment, etc. Besides the large equipment, many types of hand tools, such as are also needed. Some form of management control must be maintained over the equipment if the greenhouse is to maintain a physical inventory of all equipment and to develop plans for security, proper use, and maintenance.

When major pieces of equipment are purchased by the nursery, they should immediately be given an inventory number. A code number that contains the year of purchase and the functional unit the equipment is assigned to is extremely useful. This number should be painted or stamped onto the equipment and then entered into the inventory and maintenance records. The equipment inventory, maintained as either a card file or a computer file, is kept in the business office as a record of purchase with the name of the supplier, purchase price, depreciation schedule, and other related information.

Some greenhouse operations send a maintenance card (with proper identification number, name, year, and model) to the mechanic to record all maintenance and repair data. Equipment purchases should ideally be limited to as few manufacturers as is feasible to reduce the inventory of parts that need to be maintained by the mechanic. Knowing which parts are stocked by a local supplier can reduce the greenhouse’s spare parts inventory.

Some greenhouse operations find it desirable to maintain a “use log” on some equipment to determine the efficiency of the equipment. This information is very helpful in calculating the cost of operating equipment on a per hour basis (which is part of the overall cost of production calculation). For efficient use and security, all equipment should be assigned to responsible individuals and the individuals properly instructed in use and maintenance procedures. Company policy pertaining to use and maintenance of equipment should also be clearly stated in a policy manual of the greenhouse business. Painting equipment, especially small items and hand tools, in a distinctive color can aid immeasurably in preventing loss. The use of distinctive markings can also minimize the mixup of equipment among divisions or among crews in a diversified greenhouse operation.

Valuable equipment should be stored in a locked facility that also provides protection from the weather. Company policy should provide the necessary guidelines for the cleaning and storage of equipment. By establishing and maintaining a good equipment inventory and management system, it is possible to gain a high degree of control over the equipment, and at the same time assure its safe, effective, and efficient use.

Greenhouse firms also have large financial investments in supplies. Management can exercise control over the use and expenditure of supplies by maintaining an accurate supply inventory control system, providing appropriate areas for storage, and by establishing security methods. Supplies are often classified as:

  1. items necessary for certain phases of production (propagation, planting, harvesting)
  2. equipment maintenance supplies
  3. office supplies

When inventorying supplies, each stocked item is described along with the common unit of purchase. In addition, it is desirable to list sources of supply, price per unit, and pertinent comments. These data, commonly kept on file cards, can also be put into a computer for rapid retrieval of supply and availability information.

Supplies for the separate divisions or crews of the greenhouse should be purchased primarily by the business office. But provisions should be made for a responsible employee to make purchases for the greenhouse in case of an emergency or in the best interests of the business.

Supplies should be stored in proper facilities and when appropriate under proper security. Packaged supplies such as fertilizer and peat moss should be stored in covered sheds to minimize destruction by wind and rain, whereas non-degradable materials may be left exposed. All chemicals should be stored in their original containers and marked with the year of purchase and used in order of purchase date. Poisonous chemicals should be stored in a specially-marked storage cabinet and flammable materials kept in fire-resistant containers. Only usable quantities of supplies should be kept in work areas with the balance in a locked supply-storage facility.

A periodic inventory (weekly, monthly, quarterly) of supplies should be taken to determine use rates and to prepare orders for bidding. In some greenhouses, considerable quantities of materials (containers, trays, plastic, soil amendments, fertilizers, peat moss, etc.) are used, and competitive bids from three or more suppliers are worthy of consideration. If the amount of materials used during the month or quarter exceeds the normal amounts used as determined by past history or by logical estimates of use, the manager should review the situation with key supervisors and determine if corrective measures are needed.

Inventory data on equipment and supplies must be collected and processed in a meaningful manner if the greenhouse is to attain its profit objective. However, it should be remembered that few people like to collect data and to keep records. All forms should be as simple as possible, and methods of recording data should be carefully worked out to make sure that it can be done expeditiously and correctly. Steps should be taken to explain the need for record keeping to everyone involved and to make the process as painless as possible. Recording, filing, and analyzing data requires time and is expensive. Recording too much data can be as bad as recording too little. A well-planned and carefully monitored system of inventory control can provide management with an effective tool for decision-making.

How to manage office supplies and maintain inventory

Managing stationery is a challenging task these days. It is more than just ordering it; If you are unable to keep up with the use of your stationery, use some innovative methods for managing it.Step 1
Consolidate the purchase of stationery. This will ensure that each department requests new stationery from one person. This helps in controlling costs as it makes sure that orders aren’t duplicated. It also gives you the ability to consolidate several order requests into one entity.

For example, if one department wants a special thank-you cards and the other one needs an invitation, order the two together and you will get a volume discount at your laser printer.

Step 2
Keep stationery in a central location. Now start monitoring the location on a regular basis for checking the inventory. Create an inventory list as it will prompt you to order items when they are about to end. For example, if you notice the last box of letterhead being opened, it’s indication to order more stuff.

Step 3
Start tracking the dates of your stationery orders as it will create an estimated date of when you’ll need more ordering. It’s just a guideline, however it helps you in managing overuse.

Step 4
Make the reuse of old stationery to reduce costs on notepads and test copies. This will reduce the number of calls you make for ordering note pads and copy paper.

Step 5
Start shredding sensitive documents printed on your stationery. And now you should recycle the shredded paper. You need to create a secure and central location for employees so that they can deposit sensitive documents.

The above tips could definitely render a helping hand to keep your stationery in proper order. It will also help you in saving time, money and energy.