For some companies, office supplies may seem unlimited, and nobody bothers to check if they are used efficiently. In others, though, the budget may be constrained, so effective management is a must. The following pointers should help ensure that office supplies are managed properly, from procurement to consumption and replenishment.
Ensure proper accounting
Supply management starts from when the purchase is discussed and decided. Before any order for new supplies is made, it is necessary to ascertain that there is indeed a need for them. Purchase cannot be made according to schedule but based on what the office requires. It also helps to reassess the choice of suppliers. If other suppliers offer better prices with the same quality, switching is a no-brainer.
Once the purchase delivery is made, the supplies custodian should carefully account for everything. There has to be a record of the items received. The custodian should ascertain that the company gets what it is paying for. If there are defects in the items or deficiencies in the delivery, a complaint should be lodged as soon as possible.
During or after the documentation, the supplies should be transferred to the designated storeroom and secured. It is not necessary to lock the supplies as long as there is a strict protocol regarding their use.
Conduct mindful monitoring
The monitoring of supplies serves a two-pronged purpose. It is there to guarantee the proper use of the supplies in stock. At the same time, it determines whether or not restocking is needed.
Improper or abusive use of supplies is not uncommon in workplaces. There is also the possibility of employees taking some of the supplies home with them. The supplies custodian or office manager must keep track of how the supplies are used to avoid unnecessary expenses for the company.
It is also advisable to enforce a ban on employees taking supplies home. Not having such a policy and relying on employees’ good faith may imply tolerance for supplies theft and abusive use.
On the other hand, the consumption of office supplies does not always follow a constant rate. There are times when they are justifiably used up earlier than expected. The business may have to operate for longer hours or address an increase in business demand. It is illogical to limit the use of supplies when they are being consumed in line with official activities.
Running out of supplies is not only inconvenient. It can critically affect operations. Also, it may force the company to make hasty restocking that can mean higher procurement costs.
Replenish when needed
The office manager should have a good estimate of the best time to place an order for restocking. It is important to make sure that there are supplies to use when they are needed. Restocking should be based on demand, though, not on a fixed schedule.
Efficient supply management is a good start to exercise good business management. A company that cannot even manage its office supplies is unlikely to have a good sense of managing operations.