No matter how large or small an organization is, maintaining a constant supply of readily available office supplies can keep costs down and improve overall productivity levels; Imagine the stress of spending an entire day preparing a crucial presentation for an important client, only to find that one of your colleagues used the latest paper yesterday and didn’t think to tell anyone?
Manage office supplies for a large organization the easy way
Ideally, stationery and other office supplies should be managed by one person or, if there are multiple offices within the organization, by one person per office. This role would normally be within the job description of an office manager, but can be delegated to a responsible lesser member of the management team. Supplies are also best kept in a central location, from where distribution can be more easily controlled.
It could be argued that small businesses have it easier when it comes to managing stationery and miscellaneous office equipment – invariably, one person is in charge of ordering new supplies and it’s simple to keep track of who uses what, while that for larger organizations you can. it will be much more difficult to maintain control over spending and usage. For this reason, while a regularly updated inventory is essential for all businesses, large organizations in particular will benefit.
Why is a supply inventory essential?
A supplies inventory helps the office manager keep track of office supplies and office equipment at all times. All supplies should be listed at the beginning and the use of those supplies should be tracked over the course of a typical month. When usage patterns have been identified, reorder levels can be set, so that when the quantity of a product falls below a specified level, new supplies can be reordered, which is particularly important for frequently used products such as paper and ink cartridges.
While maintaining high levels of office supplies will prevent any catastrophic shortfall at inopportune times, it will also take up valuable storage space. An inventory can help prevent warehousing problems by always ensuring optimal supply levels are maintained, and by monitoring inventory at all times, replenishment levels can be adjusted if necessary.
Always keep control over who has access to supplies in the office. If everyone starts helping themselves with new supplies whenever they feel like it, stock levels will soon be in disarray and crucial items may sell out sooner than expected. To avoid this, do a physical stock check at least once a month.
Create purchase orders for each supply order and mark the delivered items with the original order. It is also good practice to maintain a policy that all orders are placed through the inventory manager in order to keep track of stock supply levels.
How to keep supply costs low
Although larger organizations have much greater purchasing power than a small business, it is still essential that office managers do not get lazy by always using the same vendors. Be sure to regularly check the prices of popular items in your supply inventory to make sure you are being given the best prices, and don’t be afraid to negotiate a better deal if necessary.