Every business wants to ensure that its employees are well-equipped to deliver success. A big part of enabling them is providing them with valuable resources that make their everyday tasks easier. From laptops and printers to the air conditioning system and generators, all these items help employees deliver work that powers your success.
This gives us a glimpse into how important it is to manage office inventory. Additionally, keeping a closer eye on your equipment helps companies avoid over- or under-stocking. Too much inventory can overwhelm your cash flow, while too little can lead to inefficiency and/or lost business.
So what is office inventory management?
Office inventory management is the process of managing the ordering, storing, and handling of all the equipment your business owns. It’s keeping a close eye on what you have, where it is, and how much of it needs to be ordered again.
As businesses grow, inventory management keeps becoming more and more essential to business success. But few people are able to carefully keep track of their things and ensure that every employee gets the resources they need in time.
In this post, we will dive deeper into why office inventory management is important, what are the different styles of management, and how can you become better at it.
Different Approaches To Office Inventory Management: Which Works Best?
Businesses can use two different approaches to manage inventory. These are known as reactive and proactive inventory management. Let’s take a look at both of these.
Reactive Inventory Management
Reactive inventory management focuses on solving problems as they occur. For instance, if an employee monitor has stopped working, you might use the opportunity to place an order for a new one. This approach suits small businesses and lean inventories. It’s easy to manage and less costly but it is also unpredictable and leads to longer disruptions in work.
Proactive Inventory Management
Proactive inventory management takes a more preemptive approach and keeps ahead of potential problems. This means always having backup items in stock in case of sudden need and running regular inspections. This is ideal for growing mid to large-sized teams that cannot afford disruptions and need to prevent downtimes at all costs.
However, it’s important to note that proactive inventory control is considered the new best practice for businesses.
7 Tips For Office Inventory Management
Office inventory management might seem overwhelming for office managers but all you need is to start somewhere and build on your program. Here are seven tips to gain inventory control of your office equipment.
1. Establish A System For Tracking Inventory
The first step in inventory management is to keep an accurate and up-to-date inventory list. To keep track of your inventory, you need to tag all your machines and assets with a unique serial number, and then log them into a system.
This system can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be, but it should include some basic information about each item in your inventory. You want to know what items you have on hand, where are they located, and what is the quantity of each. You can instantly see any discrepancies by keeping track of the objects that have been used or removed from the office
For example, to track your office chairs, you might want to know:
- The number of chairs you own
- The number of chairs currently in use on your floor
- The number of chairs stored as backup
- Product details, such as color and type
- Cost of each chair
- Vendor information
2. Audit Your Inventory Regularly
Sometimes, your inventory records aren’t always updated and this leads to inaccuracies. Review your inventory twice every year to ensure that everything is accounted for. This will help spot any missing or stolen items so you can stock them in time and also track associated costs.
3. Stay Proactive And Schedule Reordering
Wheneveer you schedule your audits, the next step should be to order for reinforcements in a timely manner.
To calculate your order requirements:
- Figure out how much of an item is used in a given period. For instance, you can track the amount of paper used in the past six months. Divide this by six to get per month usage.
- Set a buffer duration in case your next reorder gets delayed. This can be equal to a month. A buffer will ensure you have enough quantity on hand in case of an unexpected spike in demand.
- Multiply the per day usage with the next period plus buffer duration. This means:
Per month usage * 7
- Add that number to your current inventory level. This will give you the reorder point.
- When your inventory level reaches the reorder point, place an order for more of the item.
4. Implement Security Measures
Theft and loss are always a concern when it comes to inventory management. It is essential to have a secure storage area for your inventory to prevent theft.
You should also keep track of who has access to your inventory and make sure that only authorized personnel can enter the area. You can also assign owners to each of your valuable assets and improve accountability.
For digital devices and machines, use antivirus software to protect both the assets and your data.
5. Schedule regular maintenance and inspection
For all your valuable machines, schedule biyearly inspections and maintenance. Preventive maintenance implies preemptively checking and fixing any issues with all your machines, whether they are functioning well or not. This extends the life of your equipment and helps you get more value for money. It also prevents sudden breakdowns and lowers business downtime for your employees.
6. Educate your teams
Inventory management is not a one-person job. It requires an entire team to come together, diligently keep the records updated, and use office items with care. This requires every employee to understand the importance of tracking inventory and its contribution to the success of your business. If everyone keeps the item records updated, you’ll know exactly where an item is when it is needed so there’s no friction in anyone’s work.
7. Invest In Inventory Management Software
A lot of software is available that can help automate the process of managing office inventory. These apps can be an excellent investment for any company, as they save a lot of time and money in the long run. There are many different features that these programs offer, but some of the most popular ones include:
- Automated inventory updates.
- The ability to search for specific items.
- The ability to generate reports.
- The ability to track inventory levels over time.
- Real-time inventory tracking
- Forecasting reports and cost analysis
Whether you’re a small retail business or a large corporation, these are invaluable features that help you make better decisions about how you use your money and what products to invest in.
The benefits of investing in inventory management software include:
- Improved customer service: It helps to eliminate waste and reduce time spent searching for products. It improves customer service as customers can get what they need faster.
- Reduced costs: Inventory management software helps to optimize storage space, so there’s less wasted space and more efficient use of resources. It reduces costs over time and improves efficiency, resulting in lower operating expenses overall!
- Improved productivity: By using an automated system like this one instead of manual processes like spreadsheets or paper systems means employees can spend more time doing other things like selling products or serving customers instead of focusing on trying to figure out how many boxes are left before running out. Hence, they know if they need more or not.
In a nutshell, office inventory management is a process that helps organizations keep track of their office supplies and equipment. With an inventory system, businesses can avoid overspending on unnecessary items and save money. However, an inventory management strategy can help businesses keep their office organized and running smoothly.
There are many different ways to manage inventory in an office setting. It’s important to tailor your approach to your unique circumstances. With these tips, you can develop an inventory management system that will keep your office running like a well-oiled machine.