Proper arrangements and documentation of the storage spaces and storage facilities is helpful in getting materials for production on time as requisitioned from the stores. The arrangements of the racks, shelves, bins, and spaces for movement of materials handling equipment should facilitate quick location, withdrawal and transporting of the desired materials. The importance of a good stores arrangement is:
1. Correct knowledge of which particular items exist where;
2. Easy accessibility of the items;
3. Easy movements of the materials handling equipment and men;
4. Minimal spoilage of the materials in store; and
5. Proper utilization of the available stores space.
The store should be so arranged that different types of materials (tubular sheet, heavy materials, bulky materials, small size materials, breakable materials etc) can be stored in distinct areas.
Bars, tubes, rids and lengthy items may be stored in specially designed ‘antler racks’. As the name indicates these are number of antler type of projections on a vertical frame. The bundle of tubes is held horizontally on the projection or antler. In order to save floor space and use the vertical space, in some cases these long items are stacked vertically. However, the latter of stacking is not amenable to handling by machines. For plates and sheets of metals, the best form of storage is that of keeping them on the floor itself.
While making the arrangement for gangways, aisles, doors, inlets and exits, ceilings and floors, the materials handling equipment used for this purpose should be kept in mind. For example, a gangway of 3’ to 3’ 6’’ between a pair of shelves will be comfortable for an operator with a small hand truck to collect the material. The main aisle should be wide enough to allow two people with and trucks. For fork lift operations, different dimensions may have to be used for the space between two rows of racks.
The location of the material should be appropriately numbered so that locating (bin, rack, shelf etc) would be easy. Care should be taken to store the same material at the same location and to document the material location.
Stock taking: This is essential in order to verify the stock records with the actual count. Lacunae in stock record keeping and control are thus checked. Stock taking is either continuous or periodic. The latter is done once in a year generally and the stores then have to be closed for the days of stock-taking. The former is done throughout the year in accordance with a predetermined program. Each item should be physically verified at least once in a year. Advantages of continuous stock taking are that (1) the normal business of the stores can go on as usual and (2) more importantly, the discrepancies do not come out all at once as in the annual stock taking so there is time to investigate discrepancies thoroughly. However, continuous stock taking can be done only if complete detailed stock records are kept showing receipts issues, and balances.
Stores management is the vital and direct link between the production and materials functions. Therefore, it is necessary that adequate attention is paid to the management of stores.
In large stores arrangement the continuous stock taking also called ‘perpetual inventory’ is undertaken for at least ‘A’ and ‘B’ category items. One exclusive staff member is delegated this work who also has to reconcile if there are any discrepancies. If the variance is larger on the negative side the staff member shall inform his supervisor who in turn has to look into the matter and scrutinize all entries and also check whether production departments are carrying higher stocks than issued by mistake. Otherwise it has to be attributed to illegal pilferage particularly in case of brass and copper items. This has to be brought to the notice of concerned manager for in depth investigation.