How can storage rooms be managed more effectively?
With all the hats building managers must wear, one responsibility that seems to get overlooked — at least until problems arise — is the storage room. All facilities need one or more storage rooms to safely house supplies, equipment and related parts, among other things, to keep a modern facility operating smoothly.
Effectively managing storage rooms means making sure those items are kept safe, secure, and available to building managers, staff, and occupants as needed. Here’s how:
Allocate enough space
Look for more space than is needed when moving in, because storage space requirements tend to grow over time. If a facility is short on space, see if it can be enlarged; create new storage areas from unused areas; or discard any items that are no longer needed.
Select multi-purpose cleaning products
Look for cleaning products that replace two, three, or more. Some distributors have access to web-based dashboard systems that can help building managers identify these products. This is now a huge trend in the professional cleaning industry.
Assign management responsibility
Storage rooms need to be managed. If not, they can become overcrowded, making it harder to find things when needed. The job of a storage room manager is to ensure storage areas are kept neat, clean, and orderly; properly shelved; and that items are kept safe with the help of a storage room checkout system, noting when items were removed from the storage room and by whom.
Keep clean, organized
Paint storage rooms white, install proper lighting and keep them clean and orderly. The storage room manager should create a plan for where to store various products. A messy, poorly kept storage room will likely become more disorganized and unkempt over time.
Protect against theft
Security is important in storage rooms, as they are prone to theft. Consider installing a 24/7 security system that requires designated people to punch in their own security code.
Set re-stocking triggers
Have minimum and maximum triggers for replenishing inventory in the storage room. Know what capacity the room has for a particular item and leave enough time to order and receive supplies before the facility runs short. Keeping tabs on the flow of supplies will also help to identify changes in usage, which may prompt the building manager to look into why.
Storage room management is an ongoing process, so it’s important to regularly review a facility’s plan.
Michael Wilson is vice president of marketing for AFFLINK, a global leader in supply chain optimization.