The store room is commonly described as a place for everything and everything at its place. The first part of the phrase refers to the provisions of adequate space for the materials while the latter part highlights on the scientific location and layout of the store room. The point of receiving the material and the point of use are not always the same. In between them, the materials are housed in the store room. The store room provides the space for materials. The storage space may be in the form of constructed buildings or godowns, temporary structures or even in the form of vast open yards. The size and the type of the storage space is dependent on varied factors such as number of items to be stored, quantity, characteristics of the materials to be stored, space, due consideration should also be given to the space required for the movement of material handling equipment inside the store area. The ways inside the store room are divided between the main tracks and side streets. The main track must provide for two way movement and the side streets for one way.
Every cubic inch of the store room costs to the organization. For the economic use of the stores area, vertical stacking within the limits of the heights of the ceiling, weight of the materials, capacity of the container etc, is done. For the economic use of the space and efficient handling of the materials, various types of stores equipment are used:
The following eight types of equipment are commonly used in storing materials:
1) Pallets and skids
2) Open and closed shelving
3) Cabinets (with or without counters)
5) Tacking boxes
6) Special storage racks
7) Gravity feed racks
8) Outdoor platforms and racks
The location of the stores is also an important consideration which has a direct bearing on the product cost. The basic principles of stores location are – straight line movement with minimum of backtracking, minimization of handling, re-handling and internal transportation costs, minimization of waste motion for personnel and reduced human hazards, efficient utilization of storage space and provision for the flexibility and expansion of the store area.
The materials are stored at one central godown or in the godown located at distant places. Where the materials are stored is distantly located godowns, receiving materials from various suppliers and issuing materials to remotely located production centers. The optimum stores location is decided on the basis of clearly defined objective function with the help of quantitative techniques or through the computer programming.
The stores location will differ according to the divisibility of the total storage space, type of business activity say multi-product operations, manufacturing operations carried on at multi-plants located at distant places, type of production processes such as continuous processing, job order production, assembling etc. Fundamentally the raw materials should be stored in the vicinity of the starting point of the production operation, work in progress between first and following operation, finished inventories near the shipping area, spares, tools and stores somewhere in the central storage area.
The stores manager assisted by storekeeper manages the stores. He either reports to the materials manager or to production controller / manager.
The problem of centralized storing versus decentralized one should be decided on the basis of their under mentioned relative merits and demerits which are mutually exclusive in nature.
Merits of Centralized Storing:
1) Bulk buying in few orders with the advantage of quantity discount and transportation cost.
2) Possibility of standardization of materials reducing the variety of items stored.
3) Reduced investments in inventories
4) Reduction in administrative cost.
5) Reduction in the requirements of the personnel
6) Reduced storage space and other incidental expenses
7) Greater safeguard against pilferage and theft.