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How to Inventory Office Supplies—Start the New Year Fresh!

December 20, 2013
How to Inventory Office Supplies—Start the New Year Fresh!

Offices in Montreal maintain a variety of office supplies that are used daily by their employees. Office managers know for operations to run smooth and efficient it is important to keep tabs on their office supply levels. To do this you need an inventory! Having inventories is good for your business in several ways. They allow you to avoid the inconvenient event of running out of office supplies; plus a good inventory will help you to accurately account for your office supply expenditures in your bookkeeping systems.
The secret to having an effective inventory is staying committed to updating it consistently. Take a quick read to find out how to inventory your office supplies:
1. Take stock of the office supplies you have on hand. It’s important to create a list of everything you already have so that you can get organized and avoid wasting money on buying duplicate items.
2. Next, take some time to organize your office supplies! Heading into the New Year is the perfect time for many businesses to do projects like this since you’re likely not in your busy season. Create categories by type of supply and organize your storage accordingly. Examples of categories: writing supplies, paper, filing supplies etc.
3. We suggest creating a spreadsheet with Excel, or a similar program, on your computer to inventory. If your bookkeeping software has an inventory feature, use that. You can do it the old-fashioned way with paper and pen if your business is very small or has very little in the way of office supplies.
4. In your spreadsheet, create a page for each category and then a list of every item you use. Update the number of items you currently have. Make sure that you also have a column for the date, so you can adequately track supply usage.
5. Assign a “re-order level” to each item. This number will represent when you need to reorder that particular supply. For example, (and take into consideration the shipping and ordering times here) if it takes one week for your copy paper to be delivered, and you use two boxes of paper per week, you should reorder before your supply drops to critically low amounts. Assigning a reorder level of “4” would ensure you don’t run out of copy paper, and that you have time for it to be shipped to you. Take the time to do the math and assign this number to every item you use.
6. Make sure to update your spreadsheet as you order new office supplies. We suggest adding a column to show that a particular item is on order. Once you receive the items, immediately update your spreadsheet totals to remain current.
This is a very basic example of an inventory system for office supplies. For large corporations and organizations, and other types of businesses you will need to get more detailed by adding additional columns for more information. The principle remains to be consistent—assign one person to track and manage your inventory and ordering.
For fast delivery of office supplies, Crites & Riddell provides an online ordering system. You can order from your office and expect prompt delivery the next day in most major Canadian centres; or ask for rushed same-day delivery.
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