Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Office Supplies

"We're out of paper towels again!"

You would think with our fancy point-of-sale machine that tracks 20,000 items that we could keep our office supplies in order. In the back of my mind, I still think I can run a game store like a franchise. This means I should be able to have processes in place that track everything, including office supplies. Then I could just re-order stuff as needed, preferably from a laptop, on a beach, where I don't speak the language. Yes, this is the back of my mind we're talking about. In reality, all I really need is some sort of check sheet to know when supplies are low with an employee tasked to do it once a week. How many different office supplies could we possibly have?

It turns out we have around 50. It's a bit like our supplier list. About six distributors come to mind, but 87 are set up in our point-of-sale machine. I couldn't possibly list them without the software.The same is true with office supplies. There are paper towels, Windex, ummm.  See?  Once you start listing them, it's a bit shocking. It probably shows why I'm really good at income forecasting but horrible with expenses. There are too many little details. Don't believe me? The list is below. Meet me at the bottom.

· All-purpose cleaner
· Band aids
· Carpet cleaner
· Change rolls (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters)
· Checks, hand written
· Checks, laser printer
· Cleanser
· Coffee (just because I'm the only one that uses it doesn't make it less important)
· Coffee cups
· Credit card slips (conventions/emergencies)
· Deposit Slips
· Envelopes, regular
· Envelopes, window
· Floor cleaner
· Garbage bags, large
· Garbage bags, white/clear small
· Gift certificates
· Goo-Gone
· Hand sanitizer
· Hand soap
· Ink, inkjet, black
· Ink, inkjet, color
· Labels, P-Touch
· Labels, red
· Labels, white
· Light bulbs, fluorescent
· Light bulbs, standard
· Merchandise bags, blue (large)
· Merchandise bags, blue board game (medium)
· Merchandise bags, blue book (small)
· Merchandise bags, small white
· Notebooks
· Paladin club cards
· Paper towels, hand roll
· Paper towels, machine roll
· Paper, computer
· Pens
· Post-It Notes
· Sales books (conventions/emergencies)
· Shrink wrap
· Stamps, postage, first class
· Thermal paper
· Tissue
· Toilet cleaner
· Toilet paper
· Toner
· UPS boxes, small, medium, large, envelopes
· USPS boxes, small, medium, large, envelopes
· Vacuum cleaner bags
· Window cleaner

See? Even with a list, it would take a while to do a spot check, but we're trying to develop some sort of system. Developing systems seems to be a lot of what we do nowadays. We've got four employees and the key is consistency, which only comes from policies and procedures, real ones that people know and follow, not just a dusty book full of rules in a corner. I've got plenty of those.

I came to the realization this week that our operation has grown beyond my own capabilities. There is more going on than I could do myself. Before, employees were helpful and good, but they didn't do anything that I couldn't jump in and do myself. They worked to give me a day off. Now there is just too much going on. This is a good thing. "It's full of win," I can hear one of them saying. I'll give some credit to myself for encouraging them to step up. Want more hours? Find a way to step up and generate revenue. Most of the credit goes to those doing the stepping. Now maybe one of them can figure out something clever to do with this list.

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