Managing Inventory Management

Author: Leah Cooper

Today was not your day: you woke up late for work, the creamer for your coffee spoiled overnight, and you are missing one of your socks. “Seriously, could today get any worse?” you think to yourself. But one thing is for sure… your morning could have gone a lot better. You could have checked the expiration on your creamer and ordered a new carton yesterday. Instead of digging through a dryer of clean clothes, you could have sorted your clothes in the dresser. You might have even checked your alarm clock to make sure it had backup batteries. Coulda’, shoulda’, woulda.’

There isn’t a place for ‘should haves’ at the workplace, especially in construction, where onsite work relies on having the right tool at the right time. An on-task supervisor regularly inventories their supply. Inventory is a process management tool employed across industries and even across the timeline of human civilization. In fact, some scholars might argue that early writing, such as ancient Babylonian cuneiform, was popularized for its ability to accurately take inventory. Archeologists have uncovered cuneiform tablets that describe animal inventory from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II during the 6th century B.C. Ancient businesses laid the foundation for practices still essential today.

Keeping an eye on your inventory is a way of monitoring hidden costs and lost time. If a chef runs out of ingredients, their restaurant closes early. Not only does the chef miss out on a handful of paying customers, but they will also need to pay their employees for additional prep time. Similarly, contractors know that tool repair, tool replacement, and PPE upgrades can hemorrhage your budget and hinder your staff. Taking regular stock of your tools means you won’t miss the chance to replace Makita batteries that no longer charge or send your welder for repair before the next project.

Ironically, despite being an essential job, inventory is often mismanaged on the Jobsite. All too often, a material shortage leads to a delay in construction. Where time is money, delays are paired with expenses. Think: without adequate PPE, you can’t work at total staffing capacity. How many hours are lost without all hands at the helm?

Despite the convenience of modern inventory software, many companies run into the same reasons for faulty inventory management:

Reason 1: Using an outdated or ineffective inventory system.

Select the right inventory software for your company. It’s time to do away with your paper system and excel spreadsheet. Inventory software includes helpful integrations with the technology you already use. Send notifications to your staff when new inventory is added or when stock is used or removed. When dealing with a team of skilled construction workers, it is helpful to know who is using what tool and where that tool maybe if your company has projects at multiple locations.

See some of our recommended inventory tools for your business: Katana, Fishbowl, Oracle Netsuite, QuickBooks, CIN7, Salesforce, Brightpearl

Reason 2: Lacking a dedicated inventory manager.

Businesses should hire a dedicated Inventory Manager. Managing stock isn’t an additional responsibility to add to your existing workload. Inventory is a full-time job that requires daily maintenance. One employee should be the resource for all inventory inquiries, eliminating issues with redundant requests.

Reason 3: Not enforcing strict inventory protocols.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The saying is true for inventory. No successful inventory system can function if it is undermined by a superior not following inventory protocols. Checking out inventory without notifying the system or adding new stock improperly sets an example for the company to ignore effective guidelines. Let your inventory system work as hard as you do by following your inventory manager’s instructions.

Make GES your resource for used and reconditioned tools and equipment. Looking to restock or replace items in your inventory? Need a skilled production team to repair your tools between projects? Do you have items in your inventory to sell? Contact us today to see how the GES team can help you with your business needs.

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