Ah… Office supplies! So easy to overuse and easier to run out of. From pens and inks to bond paper, paper clips, staples, and anything in between. It can be a hassle if they aren’t monitored regularly. This can result in overspending and over-ordering or having out-of-stock supplies when they’re needed the most.
To avoid recurring headaches with your office supplies, here are some tips on how to manage them and maintain an inventory.
1. Appoint a Supplies Manager
First and foremost, you need to assign a reliable individual to oversee your inventory and office supplies. By assigning this responsibility to one person, you can streamline the managing process.
A good inventory manager should be able to monitor, organize, track and inventory on a daily basis. They are responsible for ordering supplies from distributors like Index Office.
They will be the go-to person for all supplies-related questions from your employees. In addition, the supply manager can act as a gatekeeper to limit access to the inventory room.
2. Limit Access To Supplies
So, why would you want to limit your employees’ access to office supplies? Opening the supply room to anyone who needs it is convenient. However, it is inefficient when you’re trying to keep the supplies under control.
If every employee can take whatever items they need at any given time, the supply manager loses the ability to track and know what’s on hand.
Sure, you can provide an inventory logbook for employees to fill in when taking supplies. However, it poses a higher risk of human error. Oftentimes, employees neglect to enter what they take when they’re in a rush or preoccupied.
With a supply manager or a small team of people with privileged access, your supply room can have a much more accurate and manageable inventory. This prevents unwanted situations like stealing. You can also keep employees from taking more than what they actually need.
3. Set Recurring Order Schedule
How many pens do you have to replace every month? How much reams of bond paper do you use every week? By knowing how much you use of each office supply can tell you how much to stock and when it is time to place an order.
When determining your reorder point, you should consider how much an item is used and how fast. You also need to account for possible delays and delivery times. You might want to consider an automated reorder process that takes off the strain of inventory management and ensures your office supply needs are always met.
4. Organize Your Supplies
Organizing your supply room can streamline tracking and managing of inventory. Also, you want to make it easy for employees to find the office supplies they need.
Group similar items together. For instance, you place staples and paper clips on the same shelf. You can place the most frequently used items on easy-to-reach shelves and place the less popular ones on the higher shelf.
If you have a bigger supply room, then you may consider posting a list or signs where to find different supplies. If something isn’t being used, then make a note not to order more of it in the future. You should also encourage your employees to put the extra supplies they took back to where they found them.
Make sure to keep the supply room as neat and tidy as possible.
5. Utilize the FIFO Method
Short for First In, First Out, FIFO ensures that the items purchased first are used first. This is a smart way to prevent your supplies from becoming stale, old, or obsolete.
You don’t want to waste money on old supplies like dried ink or old, yellowing paper. When replacement inventory arrives, you should shelve it behind the older supplies and instruct the employees to take the ones from the front.
6. Managing an Inventory Log
This is the best way to stay on track with your office supplies. In today’s modern world, managing inventory can be done with a spreadsheet or a dedicated inventory software for the bigger offices.
However, an inventory log can only work if it’s updated regularly. Always perform a periodic inventory check so you can update and revise your log and stay updated about which supplies are running low.
By managing your office supplies and inventory, you can prevent spending too much of your company’s budget on office supplies and obstructing your employees’ jobs with the limited supplies.
The above tips should help you easily manage and track your office supplies so you can get the most out of your inventory and supply room and prevent headaches later.