Supplying the various departments in your company can be a difficult task, especially when they play a versatile role that requires a lot of different types of supplies. You don’t want to overstock departments like maintenance or packing, but you also need to make sure you’re never short on needed supplies when it comes time to put people to work on a special project. Here are some tips for walking that fine line so you can keep an appropriate on-hand parts inventory without overspending.
1. Learn Your Company’s Consumption Rates
It takes time to track how quickly different supplies run out in each department, but that’s what you have team leaders for. If your supervisors and department leads track inventory for supplies and submits them to you, it’s easy to learn how quickly each item gets consumed. From there, you can restock strategically to stay ahead of demand without going over your monthly budget.
2. Shop the Price Breaks
There are a lot of places to get basic building supplies like stainless steel roller bearings for custom-made carts, but finding the best deal is more complicated than just shopping low prices. Professional suppliers in practically any niche provide price breaks for bulk orders. Each one structures them differently, though. You need to find the source with the best price for the quantity you’re going to be most likely to reorder.
3. Keep Track of the Small Stuff
The easiest pieces of inventory to accidentally run short on are the pieces that you use up the slowest. If you only have to keep one or two of a part on hand, then replacing it needs to be a priority as soon as the part is used. Even if average consumption says it’s going to be months before you’re likely to need another, you just never know. It’s not uncommon for an initial build to wind up needing tweaks, which could mean replacing or changing the number of different components. Your maintenance people will thank you for the vigilance if you keep them from having to put work orders on hold.
Find Your Key Suppliers
The best way to keep costs predictable and contained is to shop thoroughly for suppliers you can settle into a relationship with. That way, your businesses get to know one another, leading to more efficient ordering and better communication about new products or services your company would benefit from.