Not everyone in the cleaning business has a natural aptitude for janitorial inventory management. Avoid these costly mistakes to maximize efficiency and reduce costs.
When you opened your cleaning business, you probably didn’t think much about janitorial inventory management. After all, how hard can it be to keep up with supplies without going over budget? It turns out, it’s harder than it seems.
It’s understandable to focus on customers (revenue) and employees (production). However, without a solid janitorial inventory management strategy, you may find yourself either continually running out of products—which hurts both productivity and revenue—or putting too much money into supplies that sit on the shelf, perhaps never to be used.
The good news is that keeping on top of inventory doesn’t have to be a burden if you know what to look out for. Here are some common janitorial inventory management mistakes to avoid so you can keep your costs low while still driving profits.
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How many of these janitorial inventory management mistakes are you making?
1. Neglecting an annual budget
Especially if you own a small business, it can be tempting to improvise on your annual budget. But that can be a huge mistake. While budgets are time-consuming and not always the most exciting work, crunching your numbers before the year begins will give you a clear map for the road ahead. Surely you’ll have to make adjustments along the way, but starting with a well-thought-out budget will help keep you from overspending or spending too early, leaving you with little money left for year-end.
2. Managing manually or by memory
Would you believe that 43% of small businesses out there either manage inventory on paper or not at all? In today’s tech-driven world, that’s a business failure waiting to happen. Tracking inventory is just as important as creating an annual budget, and no matter how small your business or how experienced you are, that shouldn’t be left to memory or notebooks.
Instead, we strongly suggest using janitorial management software like Janitorial Manager. These products will unequivocally save you time and money and improve accuracy. With custodial management software, you can check and update inventory from anywhere, keep a running list from the job site of which supplies you need to order, and even track your costs against your annual budget. This small investment in technology will almost certainly save you more than enough in the long run to be worth your while.
One of the challenges with janitorial inventory management is that in most cases, the more you buy, the cheaper your cost per unit. Buying in bulk, then, seems like a good idea. But will you use all the units you’re buying, or is there a good chance some of that product will be forgotten in storage rooms? Wipes, for example, will be needed every day for every job, so buying a lot of them may seem like good business, only to discover you’ve bought far too many. You can avoid this by planning your inventory against current jobs as well as targets for new jobs. Figure out the average number of wipes used per job or type of job, then buy just a little more than you expect to need.
4. Untrained employees
Stocking shelves with products isn’t a particularly difficult job, but that doesn’t mean that employees shouldn’t be trained on janitorial inventory management, especially if you’re implementing a new process. Show them how you want to see inventory go in and out of your business. Train them on how to use the different products so that no one accidentally becomes wasteful. And of course, make sure that they let you know in a timely manner—well before you run out of something—when it’s time to place a new order. (Pro tip: Teach all of your employees how to use your custodial management software to keep a real-time count on your inventory!)
5. Not adjusting for seasons
If you run a business that sees a lot of different weather throughout the year, you can button up your janitorial inventory management by considering meteorological variances. When the winter months are rolling in, you might stock more carpet or floor cleaning products to address the additional debris that tends to get dragged in, but you probably don’t need as much of those products during the summer. Planning for seasons is a great way to reduce your spending further while also avoiding over-stocking.
6. Suboptimal data review
While real-time janitorial inventory management is possible with Janitorial Manager, your data analysis shouldn’t stop there. Run weekly or monthly reports to compare your actual spending and inventory against your forecasts. Doing so will allow you to adjust throughout the year as business and customer needs change. These reports may also reveal unusual or curious inventory behavior, such as products going missing or being used more quickly than seems reasonable.
7. Skipping the price comparisons
If you’ve been working with one or two suppliers for a long time, you may feel a strong sense of loyalty to them, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t shop around from time to time to make sure you’re not paying too much. If you have a good relationship with your vendors and find a better price, they’ll likely do what they can to match the better price, and if you don’t have a good relationship with your vendors, it shouldn’t be too difficult to switch to someone else!
8. Disorganized storage units
Finally, ensuring that your supplies are well-organized can do wonders for janitorial inventory management. Create a structure for how you organize things and ask your teams to adhere to that organizational strategy. This can help keep products from disappearing or getting lost in a corner somewhere.
Inventory management doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s the beauty of getting organized. Once you take the steps to improve your inventory tracking, a little regular maintenance goes a long way in saving you money.
Keep your entire cleaning business organized and on-point with Janitorial Manager! Learn more about all we offer by scheduling a free demo today!