As an office supply reseller I have seen businesses that have a handle on office supplies and those who simply do not know what they are buying, where it is going or how much they are spending on office supplies. Without a plan an office could be spending much more than needed and end up with too much of some office supply items or be in desperate need of other items they need to function efficiently. Through proper management you could have more capital available for advertising or investing in infrastructure that can improve your company.
Some Things you may Need
1. Put all of your supplies in a cabinet that locks. Many businesses make the mistake of putting office supplies where anyone can easily grab what they need. This creates the tempatation for employees to use more than they need. They might even think because the supplies are so readily available that it is okay for them to take some home for personal use. A locked cabinet can help control the flow of office supplies.
2. Create a system that makes employees accountable for the supplies they use. By doing this the employee knows that you are tracking what is being used. You could keep a notebook with a form in it for your employees to list the date and exactly what they took from the cabinet. There should also be a signature line that they will sign each time office supplies are removed from the cabinet.
3. Create a spreadsheet that tracks office supplies or use software that has this capability. You can see who is accessing the supplies more often than others and which supplies have a greater turnover. If someone is abusing the system you have documentation that can lend to a thoughful discussion and quickly curb a problem. By looking a usage patterns you can adjust your purchases so that office supplies are available when needed and you do not end up with an overabundance of items that are only used on an occassional basis.
4. Designate one person to monitor the flow of office supplies. Ideally this will be the person who does the bulk of the ordering. This person should review the notebook on a weekly basis, enter data into the spreadsheet, anticipate future usage, and order office supply items as the need arises.
If you have any great tips for controlling office supplies please add your comments.