Inventory Control Keeping Tabs on Your Buildings's Supply Chain

 You may not realize it, but your building may be hemorrhaging money. Not in the  form of disastrous lawsuits or maintenance crises like a collapsed roof or  exploded boiler, but in a steady trickle coming from your method of ordering  supplies and keeping tabs on small, seemingly inconsequential bills or maybe  even theft.  

 “Waste is a big problem and monitoring how much the staff uses of cleaning  supplies is hard to keep track of,” says Michael Rutkowski, president of First Community Management, a management  company in Chicago. “You also want to monitor your staff and train them properly to use the right  amount of product. They’re always going to want to use more that they are supposed to use because  theoretically it makes their job easier. Or if they can get the smell of a  cleaning product stronger more people are going to notice that they were  cleaning. That’s not necessarily a good use of product.”  

 “Theft can happen with larger items and it can be very difficult to see,” says Brad L. Schneider CPA, president of CondoCPA in Elmhurst. “Suppose it’s plumbing fixtures to replace toilets or sinks or windows, they look like  normal items but they could be taking them and installing them in other places  or installing them for residents for free and then asking for money on the  side.”  

 Nickel-and-Dimed to Death

 Smaller maintenance items and things like janitorial supplies are usually  ordered by a superintendent, building engineer or other authorized building  staffer, who may be unaware of what expenses are covered by the building and  what is actually the responsibility of the shareholder.  

 “A way to counteract theft is to have a perpetual inventory system where you have  a simple log-in and log-out sheet where you list out the major items, not the  small, little things,” says Schneider. “I’m talking about tracking the ins-and-outs of the most expensive items. So if you  order five things, you can see where they go and what units they were put into.  And managers should review those sheets every so often—maybe quarterly. It’s basically having a little more oversight over the maintenance staff.”  


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