Organization is the key to profitability. Test out a few of these inventory procedures to help keep things in order.
Good organization can keep your business running smoothly, even in the most chaotic times. The best organization and inventory procedures help keep track of your supplies, appointments, equipment and make it possible for you and your staff to do a great job every single day.
Without that organization, you can lose money, either through theft, misplaced products, or repeating purchases you’ve already made. Sure, you can expect to misplace a bottle of cleaner here and there, but regular disorganization costs can add up quickly.
Poor inventory control can also lead to an increase in your business insurance if you make a claim to pay for the lost or stolen supplies. No matter how you deal with it, you’ll face increasing expenses if you don’t maintain your inventory on a regular basis.
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What to include with your inventory procedures
For a cleaning business, your inventory procedures should focus on a few primary things. The first and most obvious is your supplies. Items like cleaning solutions, rags, personal protective equipment (gloves, masks), and trash bags are expenses that can easily get lost in the mix if you don’t watch them. And don’t forget the office supplies—paper clips, staples and staplers, printer paper—that you use for administrative tasks.
Additionally, check things like uniforms and smaller tools, such as spray bottles or mop heads, regularly. Whether intentional or unintentional, these items can easily get misplaced or “walk-off” with an employee.
Larger items, like mops, vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaners, and floor buffers don’t need as much attention for the obvious reason that they’re a little too big to misplace, but still, check on them from time to time.
How to make sure your inventory procedures work
Once you put your inventory procedures together, the first thing you need to do is communicate them to your team. One of the best ways to do this is to include the processes in your employee handbook or other new hire training materials. For veteran staff, distributing a memo, either physically or electronically, should get the job done. In either case, have your employees sign an acknowledgment that they’ve received and reviewed the inventory procedures.
Another great way to make your policy available is through commercial cleaning software like Janitorial Manager’s cloud-based platform. Doing so makes your inventory procedures available to everyone in your business at any time, as long as they have access to the platform and the internet.
Not only can you store the policy with the software, but you can also use a product like Janitorial Manager to track your inventory and make sure your team is following procedures. If you don’t have the software, a spreadsheet works well, but technology tends to make the tracking easier and more accurate.
Of course, you’ll still need to do a little manual labor. At a minimum, count your supplies each week. Tools and uniforms you can track less often, maybe once a month or quarter. Finally, perform a full count of your inventory preferably once a quarter, but no less than once a year.
It’s also beneficial to limit the number of people involved in your inventory procedures. For example, an employee taking a few gallons of disinfectant for the day’s jobs shouldn’t be the one to make the count. Instead, someone else, like a manager, should do the inventory count. The logic here is that the fewer people responsible for inventory control, the less likely it is that theft will occur. And if you do notice a loss, it’s easier to track.
Reducing mistakes is another advantage to minimizing the inventory controllers. When multiple people enter data, the likelihood of a mistake increases. Reduce this risk by taking a few hands out of the proverbial cookie jar.
It’s not a bad idea to have a second person double-check the inventory management. While multiple hands entering data increases the chance of a mistake, multiple eyes on your products will reduce that possibility. Think of it as proofreading for your inventory procedures.
Protip: Don’t let your employees store products in work vehicles overnight. Doing so increases the likelihood of damage and theft, and it makes inventory more difficult to track because products aren’t accounted for. It will take a little more time, but it’s to your advantage to require employees to empty their vehicles each day.
Keep track of your inventory and more with janitorial management software made for custodial professionals, by custodial professionals. Discover the great features Janitorial Manager has to offer by scheduling a free demo!