For many business owners, the mere mention of inventory management causes them to shudder. For commercial cleaning business owners, it may just cause a full-on panic attack!
Keeping track of the cleaning chemicals and supplies being used at each of your customers’ locations can be overwhelming. It’s a hassle to keep an eye of all the lists of orders. And if you get one more frantic call from someone who has “suddenly” run out of something, you just might explode!
Inventory Management = A Necessary Evil
According to a report produced by Wasp Barcode, less than half (43%) of all small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. are either failing to track their inventory, or they use a manual method (paper and pen, or spreadsheet) to keep an eye on what’s going in and out.
However, without proper inventory management you run a heightened risk for:
It’s never fun to consider, but the reality is, 75% of employees have admitted to stealing from their employer, at least once. The loss of a roll of paper towels, a container of Clorox wipes, or a can of dusting spray may not seem like that big of a deal. But over time – and with the statistical odds of having multiple sticky-fingered employees – the losses add up quickly! Consider the possibility of having to replace pricier equipment that “walks away” (i.e. vacuums, mops, brooms, etc.), and you could be out thousands of dollars each year!
Employee theft is not just a supplies issue, though. A business culture where behaviors like theft are not quickly caught and curbed, cultivates a variety of other questionable employee behaviors that will eventually create major conflicts between employees, employers and clients.
Although labor is the most expensive line in your budget, supply inventory is typically towards the top, as well. If you were able to add up what you spent on your inventory over the last year, you would likely find a shocking amount of capital is invested into your cleaning closets’ stock. You might also be shocked to discover that much of that capital is still sitting on the shelf, unused. The reasons for this problem vary, but one common cause is optimism. Now, that may sound odd, but perhaps you’ve experienced something like this scenario:
You run across a fire sale on a cleaning product that you’ve thought about transitioning to, but just haven’t pulled the trigger. You’re hopeful that you’ll have the time to retrain your cleaning staff over the next month to start using this product, and you just can’t miss this limited time price-point, so you order it… in bulk.
Then, as luck would have it, just days after the crates arrive on your doorstep, you lose a major client, your office manager gets sick, one of your best cleaners tells you she’s moving, and a couple of your other cleaners get arrested. You have an operational implosion on your hands. So, the crates get stored in a back room until things calm down… which they never do. So, there the unopened crates still sit.
Optimism is a good trait, but hope is not a strategy. If you don’t have a strategic, exacting approach to purchasing and implementation – whether for reordering current inventory or transitioning to new – you are likely wasting cash that could be needed elsewhere in your operation.
Poorly Trained Cleaners
You showed your cleaners that dusting spray, not window cleaner, should be used on board room tables. You told them to use disinfecting wipes on the toilet seats, not the brush dipped in the toilet bowl water. However, lesser-trained (or lazier) employees will usually gravitate towards certain “all-purpose” cleaning products or procedures that make their job easier and faster, leaving the more correct supplies sitting on the shelf.
Other employees, even though you showed them just how much cleaner to put into the mop bucket for the floors, may be using incorrect proportions of chemicals that could put their health or the condition of your clients’ offices in jeopardy. Using too much or too many of anything also has an impact on the frequency of replacement purchases. So, if you are blissfully unaware of the speed at which your cleaners are using products – or unaware of what that correct pace should be – you may not catch user errors or training oversights happening in time to correct them before your clients complain, or worse!
The list of issues that stem from the lack of inventory management could continue. But you get the idea. Like it, or not, tracking inventory is an essential part of managing your business and directly impacts your bottom line. That’s why the best way to sabotage your inventory management, is to not manage your inventory at all.
But when you try to handle all of it yourself, manually, it takes up a significant amount of time that you already don’t have enough of, and it can lead to errors that you then have to deal with anyway!
So, What’s the Solution?
The best way to get a handle on your inventory management is to implement a cloud-based commercial cleaning business management platform with real-time analytics. After the initial set-up of each of your clients in the system, you will have a bird’s-eye view of all the supply statistics that affect your business, with the ability to drill down into specific client supply tendencies and issues.
With Janitorial Manager’s customizable, digestible, dashboard reports, you’ll be able to quickly and easily access real-time inventory management reports, such as:
- Shortages and overstock
- Spending trends over time
- Supply costs and profit margin
- Supplier order fulfillment performance
- Order frequency
- Inventory forecasting reports
- And more!
This perpetual inventory system means that you will be able to see what is being used up (and at what pace!), and know at any given point in time, the remaining quantities of your inventory. This helps you catch disturbing patterns that need addressed and know (in advance!) what you need to budget for upcoming supply purchases.
Real Data in Real Time
If you were honest, you’d probably admit that the reason why you’re not keeping up with your inventory is because it’s a drudgery to update paper stock reports, you don’t feel confident in the accuracy of your manually-figured numbers, and it’s a waste of admin time to track down your employees’ reports (which may or may not be accurate, for the same reasons!).
This why a mobile friendly, cloud-based system is so valuable. It’s accessible from anywhere, at any time, from any internet-connected device and can be quickly and accurately updated at the beginning or end of every shift in real-time! This makes it an optimal solution for staying on top of ongoing data entry and facilitating the flow of accurate information, which then ensures that you can make prompt, informed decisions that save you time and money.
Rescue Your Business with Janitorial Manager
If it’s no question that your inventory control has been sabotaged by poor management and lack of effective systems, but you feel buried under the weight of what it would take to right this ship, let Janitorial Manager help you. Our team specializes in evaluating your current situation, considering the solutions available, and suggesting the latest technological options that would suit your unique needs and fit within your budget.
To explore some of the technologies available, visit Janitorial Manager’s website. To schedule a FREE LIVE DEMO of some of the customized, business-improving solutions that will automate your inventory management and enhance your bottom line, contact Janitorial Manager today!