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Could you improve the way in which you store your company supplies? A messy storage system can create all kinds of problems from picking errors to shortages. Below are some tips on how to store your stock effectively.
New recruits should be able to easily work out where to find different items. This involves having a logical organisation system in place. This could include stocking items alphabetically or having different labelled shelves/areas for different categories of items. Make sure that you’re not just stocking items in random places. There may be times where an item has to be stored somewhere because of its size or because it cannot be stored near other items – and in these cases this may disrupt your system – but otherwise there should be a clear pattern.
Many items ranging from coffee beans to printer ink have an expiry date. Make sure that you’re regularly checking expiry dates. In workplaces that deal heavily with food and drink, it could be important to use day dots and shelf-life stickers to keep track of expiry dates and rotate stock to ensure that close-to-expired items are used first.
Many modern warehouses have computer systems that track whenever items enter or leave. Items are typically barcoded and scanned whenever they are sold/removed. In offices and restaurants, such systems are typically not used, but it’s still important to track what is being used so that you know when to order new stock. You could regularly organise stock takes to record which items are running low or you could keep a clipboard handy for writing down whenever an item is taken from a store cupboard. At the end of each day/week, you can then work out which new items need to be ordered in.
Many workplaces have limited space for storing items. It’s important to maximise this space so that you’re not too restricted by how many items you can store. Install shelves or racks that use the entire height of your store room. For specialist storage equipment like a vaccine fridge, consider your size options – you may be able to fit a fridge under a countertop if you haven’t got much space for a taller option. Bespoke storage options could even be an option worth considering.
There is only so much stuff you can fit in a small space before inevitably it becomes cluttered. If you have lots of stock that needs storing, consider whether it could be beneficial to outsource a self storage unit or warehouse for some of it. Things like seasonal stock, reserve stock and seldomly-used equipment may not need to be constantly stored at your premises. Of course, it’s important that any extra space you outsource is not too far away from your workplace so that you can easily pick it up when you need it.
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