Maintaining an acceptable office-supply inventory for your business is a demanding and precise task. When you learn how to order office supplies, you begin to appreciate how diverse your company’s needs are. To become proficient in keeping your office supply inventory up-to-date, you must be organized and find time to do an inventory every day. It’s in your best interest to recruit someone to help you buy office supplies if you have an office population of 50 people or more.
Organize your office supplies on shelves in the office storage area. In order to keep a working inventory of office supplies, there can only be one central storage and distribution center for your supplies. Use labels and a pen to mark areas on the shelves where items are to be stored.
Create a list of the supplies you currently have by jotting down a physical inventory. Transfer your list to a computer spreadsheet that you can refer to on a regular basis. The supplies you start with will be the ordering levels you'll use. By analyzing your office supplies usage from month to month, you'll be able to adjust your inventory levels to points that will keep enough supplies on hand at all times.
Order your office supplies online through a reputable vendor. Alternatively, create a purchase order each time you order over the phone that will allow you to track your buying history. Be sure to check your order against your original purchase order to make sure you received all of the products.
Do a physical inventory each week and keep track of the fluctuation in your office supply inventory. If you notice that your legal pad levels are dropping below the monthly inventory amount, then raise your inventory number accordingly and use that new inventory number when you re-order. Do this for every item on your office supply shelf.
Develop a policy where all office special orders must come through you. If you notice a pattern of need for a particular special order item, then add that item to your regular inventory.
- Discuss re-ordering options with your office-supplies sales representative to determine whether waiting and buying in bulk will save you money. Depending on your consumption rate, you may save money by doing your re-ordering once a quarter as opposed to once a month. You can try to institute a policy where you are to hand out all office supplies and try to use that activity to do your inventory, but you should still do a physical inventory at least once a month. Managers and executives may decide to start taking their own office supplies or other employees may have access to the storage room and your re-ordering system will get thrown off.
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