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The Maintenance Management Blog

May 22, 2023

Improve Inventory Management

Have you ever taken stock (no pun intended) of your garage or workshop? One day, you looked at everything and realized how disorganized it's become. You have a serious problem with inventory. While improving inventory management at home may not take much effort, the same may not be said of a disorganized stockroom at the workplace. Let's look at some steps you can follow for both situations.

1. Commitment and determination

"Bob, honey, could you please move the bandsaw and boxes of stuff? I can't park the minivan in the garage anymore."

Before anything happens, you have to accept that there's a problem and make a commitment to finding a resolution. Then, you have to be determined and diligent to get it done.

While this may seem to be an obvious point, it's important. Think about people who've said, "Yep, I'm gonna do it tomorrow" then never followed through. Oh, plans are made but when the time comes to actually start, there's always a reason not to.

"You can have results or excuses. Not both." – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While he may have been talking about fitness, it can apply to many projects, hobbies, employment, education, etc.

Think about the different jobs or chores. They seem daunting at first even with a laid-out strategy. Once you give, you tend to fall into a 'zone' and while obstacles will present themselves, you have a running start to overcome them. Many times, once you start, you find the task wasn't as difficult to execute as you first thought.

Image: storage room

2. Take stock

"Yes, Bob, I know it's a flower-imprinted automatic hammer. Why do we have it?"

Seriously though, this is the way to start. Know what you have. If it means sorting through boxes, bins, or barrels, do it. Make a list of what the item is and what it's for. One reason to know this is maybe the part is for a piece of equipment you no longer use. Why are you keeping it? It takes up space that could be used by items you actually use.

Is this part a critical spare? Does it need to be in stock for those urgent repairs? Not having it could cost you more because of emergency purchases, downtime, and perhaps a lingering safety issue.

Can this part be a substitute for another if you're out of the regular item? Make note of that. Why make an emergency purchase if something else would work, even if temporarily?

How many items are in a package? One, a half dozen, a case, a box of fifty, eight-foot bundles, etc. This is important to know when it's time to order more.

How many do you use for a job? Math and money come into play here. If you use three widgets for a job but they come in a two-pack, what's the number of packages you'll order from the vendor?

Is the part repairable? Let's say you have a motor. Are you going to buy a new motor every time one needs repair? I'm aware of one company that has a series of motors that they swap one out for another and send to the repair shop. It's not a major breakdown, just normal usage wear. It can be reused several times over. Think of the money saved.

3. Know quantity

"Bob, why do we have 100 flower-imprinted automated hammers?"

I think this is a biggie in inventory. Knowing quantities helps reduce costs and increase productivity. You don't want to make a quick trip to the store for an item needed now, and workers don't want to leave a job unattended waiting for a shipment to arrive. On the other hand, don't overstock parts you rarely use. That's not cost-effective.

4. Issue/Return

This is an efficient way to have better control of quantity. At home, you might keep a spreadsheet or even a simple notepad on a clipboard. This is where diligence pays off. Make sure you take a few seconds to mark what you're using and how many. If you don't use all of the parts, note the correct quantities when you put things away.

In a maintenance department, this policy is a great way to keep workers from wandering the stockroom, taking, and replacing items at will. It will help lower the incidents of parts or tools going missing, items being returned to the wrong place, and items just 'showing up' with no one knowing anything about them.

This policy is also beneficial in that you're better assured that the correct parts and tools are returned. If Bob is issued a socket wrench and returns a flower-imprinted automatic hammer, he needs to be held accountable.

Image: man writing figures on sheet

5. Physical count

"Bob, we found a large box of quarter-inch bolts. Here's a count sheet…"

Whether at home or in the plant's stockroom, you need a physical count of everything. Yes, it's time-consuming, but don't try to do it all in one round. At home, you could tackle a parts cabinet and pegboard, take a break, then open the worktable drawers.

If the stockroom is large, divide it into sections and send a worker or three out to do the count.

A physical count is important because it verifies quantities you have on record. It doesn't matter what method you're using to track quantities, a scheduled count keeps errors from accumulating.


While a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) may not be the best software to use for a home workshop, it's a great 'tool' to improve inventory management at work. Review the points and sub-points discussed above.

You create a list of inventory including description, quantity, location, and the rest. You track usage and purchases so there's no over- or understocking.

An issue/return procedure can be initiated and run through the CMMS.

A quality system will help create count sheets and reconcile totals on the physical counts.

Chaos is the natural order of things. It requires an effort to stay organized. From the work desk to the tool shed to the manufacturing facility stockroom. However, when you take the necessary steps to improve inventory management, you'll see positive results.

Using a CMMS in the workplace gives you a better advantage over spreadsheets or notes or…nothing at all.

For excellent inventory tracking, call 800-922-4336. Schedule a free demonstration of Mapcon Technologies' CMMS. You'll see how easy it is to up your inventory management skills.


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: inventory, maintenance — Stephen Brayton on May 22, 2023