We asked three commercial floor care industry leaders to describe how their businesses manage consumable products such as chemistry, rags, pads, gloves, etc. Below they discuss recent supply chain disruptions, tracking inventory, and providing access to the products.
What is your philosophy on managing your consumables (chemistry, pads, gloves, rags, etc.)?
Brett Van Beever, Owner, Eco Logic – Massachusetts
Our move to our new office and the additional space has allowed us to get much more organized with our inventory. Francisco, our Quality Control Manager, is responsible for inventory control for our daily operations. He takes monthly inventory and keeps this live on a spreadsheet. We keep on hand roughly a case of each SKU and I probably have too much inventory currently. The stock gets rotated on receipt and all chemicals get date stamped. Pads and consumables like tape, drape cloth, and other sundries are also kept on the inventory sheet. Project work that requires specific tooling is also reviewed once the job is booked into production, typically two weeks out. It is the sales person’s responsibility along with Francisco to make sure we have what is needed prior to the job start. Oftentimes we will call in the team leader to confirm they have everything before dispatching.
Will Wright, Vice President Operations, DFS Green – California
We inventory everything consumable and we job cost all.
Do you have an open cage practice or do you set out materials/load vans for the technicians?
BVB: Techs grab off the shelves what they need for the scope of work they are performing. Most of our stuff is specialty spotters and mixing concentrate which is done with a mixing station in the warehouse.
WW: We have an “open area” (no cage) currently but have contemplated using a cage.
Steve Brown, Owner, Infinite Floorcare – Georgia
The van is stocked but also open cage access for techs to get materials they need. They are all very skilled so they typically know what they need.
If a team runs out of something on a job, how do you manage it? Do you have them drive all the way back to the shop, go to a big box store, or do you or a supervisor deliver?
BVB: When this happens, this is one of the primary roles of Francisco. He will get a call mainly about a piece of equipment or they have forgotten something for the specific job. He will dispatch from the warehouse and go-to site. While on-site, he will perform a client audit as a value add.
WW: We do all of the above, however I try to make sure they have more than enough for every job. When they do run out they are to either return to the warehouse or consult a manager regarding a big box store as we like to be streamlined with all our products.
SB: Technicians return to the shop if absolutely needed or if the job is close by. If specialty items are needed, technicians will go to a supply store if one is in close proximity and open (normal business hours) and box stores if specialty items aren’t needed. Supervisors will make job deliveries, if needed, and are available to do so.
Do you keep a certain number of days or months stock on the shelves?
WW: Yes, I usually keep a minimum of 2-3 weeks stock on my shelfs to allow for shipping between orders.
SB: Yes, we keep several months’ stock, if applicable.
Have supply chain issues caused you any problems personally?
BVB: Not really. More so on specialty tooling, diamond tooling for our grinders, but nothing has stopped us from performing the job.
WW: Yes, supply chain is HELL. Especially currently where so much equipment is back ordered and so are parts to repair equipment.
SB: We’ve felt supply chain issues only slightly, however, if not for COVID, no. We kept a low supply of floor finish because of a lack of resilient work due to COVID.