Storekeeping is a service function which deals with the physical storage of goods under the custodianship of a person called storekeeper or stock controller. Goods stored may be either, stores or stock. Unworked materials or raw materials are usually referred to as stores and the place where they are kept is known as stores room. Finished products ready for shipment are usually called stocks and are housed in a place called stock-room. Storekeeping, therefore, is that aspect of materials which is concerned with physical storage of goods.
Store functions concern receiving, movement, storage and issue of items- raw materials, bought out parts, tools, spares, consumables etc. –required for production, maintenance and operation of the plant and finished goods until is dispatch to customers. Store, therefore, is the custodian of all goods that are received in the company until they are consumed or sold and naturally it assumes the responsibility of receiving, storage, preservation, issue, and accounting functions.
According to Maynard, responsibilities of store management are “to receive materials, to protect them while in storage from damage or unauthorized removal, to issue materials in the right quantities, at the right time, to the right place, and to provide these services at the least cost.”
Benefits of storekeeping
Storekeeping, it is now realized, is a much as science as production or marketing. It is a key result area for management. Efficiency in production, maintenance and distribution largely depends on the efficiency of the store department and its personnel at the operational level. Inventory management with its impact on the profitability of a company relies on the efficiency with which store personnel maintain records, implement procedures and report on performance.
Store management benefits the organization in the following ways
- Scientific stock control, it reduces losses due to accumulation of inventories.
- Efficient stores issues, it reduces down time in production and increases profit.
- Periodic reviews, it detects obsolete and non-moving items and helps the firm to get rid of unproductive inventory.
- Follow up with purchase; it helps to avoid stock outs and the production losses.
- Paper records keeping, it provides exact picture of inventory in store to higher management.
Rules for preservation
Five common rules for preservation
- Materials should not be allowed to have direct contact with the floor.
- All items those with limited life in particular should be issued on first in first out principle.
- The user department should be informed of the expiry date in advance.
- The store should be kept free from rodent menace for which the following measure is essential.
a. The floors should be in concrete or bricks.
b. The edges of the doors and windows should be lined by tin plates.
c. Windows sills should be kept at least one meter above the floor level.
- Store should also be given periodically, a spray of suitable pesticides or fungicides to get rid of termites, white ants and fungi.
Precaution and specific method of preservation
1. Metals (iron and steels)
- The material should be stored at least 15 to 20 cm above the ground.
- Metals should be either painted by anti-corrosive paints or covered by a film of oil, grease or mineral jelly.
2. Wood and wood products
- They should be treated with creosote oil which makes the wood unattractive to insects to eat.
- They should be kept away from place where excessive heat is generated.
- Small textiles goods should be stored in airtight almirah and boxes.
- Napthalen balls should be placed between layers and packed.
4. Leather goods
- They should be periodically turned to change their location.
- Fungus growth should be wiped off with a cloth.
- The chemicals should be stored in a cool and dry place.
- All containers- drums, carboys, etc. – must be properly corked.
- Drums should be kept horizontally in 2’ o clock position on dunnage, covered by tarpaulis.
7. Cutting tools
- Cutting tools are affected mainly corrosion and bad handling.
- The manufactures of drills, reamers, taps, milling cutters etc. usually apply a coat of grease before wrapping them in polythene layers.
Security of stores
Security of stores include measures against
- Daily closing of stores and custody of keys
- Theft by outsiders
- Pilferage by employees
- Malpractices by stores staff
- Prevention of fire
- Menace of redents and termites
1. Daily closing of stores and custody of keys:
- Daily closing of stores should be properly supervised.
- Stores keys must be numbered and registered.
- Key movement register should be maintained. Any one collecting and depositing a key particularly after the factory hours, should be required to sign the register.
- All duplicate keys should be kept under the custody of the senior officer.
2. Theft by outsiders
- The entire factory should have a high compound wall or high barbed wire fencing.
- The number of windows, glass shutters and open ventilators should be minimum possible.
- Security guards should be put on duty at strategic points.
- Outsiders should not be permitted to enter inside the store beyond the serving counters
- Stores should be insured against burglary.
3. Pilferage by employees
Pilferage is gradual removal of material in small quantities by the employees of the company.
- Only authorized personnel should be allowed to enter the store.
- No personal property should be allowed to be kept inside the store.
- Fresh materials may be used against return old ones
- Surprise checks of a section of store items should be done now and then.
- Store staff should be searched before they are allowed to leave the main gate after day’s work
- Immediate enquiry should be conducted as soon as any case of malpractice is brought to light.
4. Malpractices by stores staff
Malpractices are the manipulations by store personnel with active help of outsiders.
- Outgoing trucks, trolleys, parcels etc. should be thoroughly checked.
- Gate passes should be made to take material out of the company.
- Indemnity bonds or bank security must be taken from stores employees at the time of employment.
5. Prevention of fire
Fire is an accident caused by chemical reaction between combustible and oxygen.
- Careless handling, storage and disposal of inflammable materials.
- Open electrical circuits causing short circuits.
- Smoking by staff and clients in the store.
- Spark from shunting engine.
The following precaution should be taken
- Doors and staircase should be made of fire resistant materials.
- Smoking should be prohibited in and around the store houses.
- Adequate earthing should be provided to the external and internal wiring of store buildings.
- Materials should be properly stored. Leakage of inflammable oils, greases and fluids should be prevented.
- Defective wiring should be immediately replaced to eliminate possibility of fire due to short circuit.
- Exits should be provided with panic bolts and should open outwards.
6. Menace of rodents and termites
- If rodents menace is observed, the stores should be fumigated and rat poison traps kept.
- For termites, white ants and fungi, suitable pesticides and fungicides should be sprayed.