Inventory control ideas - I have an open stock room with a "sign out" book

#1
I have an open stock room, the shop employees take parts and are SUPPOSE TO sign them out using our sign out book. Many of the employees will forget, which throws off inventory, which leads to accounting problems. The President doesn't want to pay for a scanning inventory software. I am looking for recommendations on how to improve the way my employees sign out parts from the stock room.
 
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Jen

Starting to get Involved
#2
1. Get one process owner to responsible for the inventory sign out process
2. Retrain the employee for sign out process
3. Hang some signage to remind employee to sign on the sign-out book.
 

yodon

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Hire a clerk to intercede in the sign-out process?
Automatically lock the inventory cage after they go in and then only unlock when they properly sign out (ok, maybe I'm stretching ;) )
 

John Predmore

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
If employees say they "forgot" or they are in too much of a hurry to make entries in the signout book, one idea of mine is to put a signout clipboard on every shelf, for the items on that shelf. Multiple lists makes more work for the person who complies all the records, but it might be less work overall than resolving inventory shortages. If you are clever, you can figure a way to mount the clipboard so it is vertical in the middle of the shelf and the employee has to move the clipboard in order to get to the stock on the shelf. Whoa! They can't say any longer they forgot about the signout list, which was in their face, which they held in their hand.

Maybe you can think of refinements on this idea for your situation, like cover a bank of shelves with a clear plastic curtain and to pull the curtain back you have to move the clipboard.
 
#5
There are a lot of barcode inventory software out there for free. The biggest cost would be the scanners. That being said, if they cannot manage to make an entry into a log book they will not make an entry into software.

Why are they forgetting? Is it a cumbersome process? Could you use something like inventory tags to help? Where they could just grab a pre-printed slip.

Do you record the material used on the job BOM? Maybe have them sign a spot or initial indicating that they filled out the log if you do, to help them remember.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#6
Determine/Estimate the cost of "forgetting" per month or per quarter.
Use this determination of cost to :
- Justify someone to man the room
- Justify barcode scan & free software
- Let the boss justify reduction of raises next year if it continues
...."Its your job, and you're not doing it, why should I give you a raise?"
 

L.Soad

Involved In Discussions
#7
Determine/Estimate the cost of "forgetting" per month or per quarter.
Use this determination of cost to :
- Justify someone to man the room
- Justify barcode scan & free software
- Let the boss justify reduction of raises next year if it continues
...."Its your job, and you're not doing it, why should I give you a raise?"
Just to give you an idea of the costs, take the hours needed to update the stocks every month (or week, depends if you have a lot of movement), and multiply it by the salary of the employee. multiply by two. you got how much you are spending (at least) every week/month to update your inventory. it gets expensive really quick.

Imagine 2hours/week, done by someone who is paid 25$/hr. 25*2*2 = 100$/week = 5200$/year. Is 5 or 6 barcode scanners and a free software (in our company, we use excel with a bit of VBA programming, so its basically free) more expensive than 5000$ ? 1 year return on investment.

EDIT: also, you can't estimate how much money you loose when you don't have the part that you need when you need it. Worst case, you could loose one client. Depending on the company, it can hurt alot....
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#8
For $5k per year...what does the Big Boss say?
If he/she doesn't care about that loss, and the risk to customers and lead time...drop this project and move on...

Uline has barcode scanners for $169 each.
 

Ron Rompen

Trusted Information Resource
#9
If the parts/components you are using are small, talk to your supplier about 'vending machine' concepts. I have used these very successfully for small tools/usable items, and the cost was pretty close to zero.
You may also be able to convince/coerce your supplier into doing an inventory management/inventory count FOR you - basically they will come in 'x' times a week/month/year, count the physical inventory on the shelf, and stock replacements to bring you up to your predetermined inventory levels.
 
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