How to Control School Inventory

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Inventory control is a process organizations perform to ensure they manage all items owned and used by various departments. Schools are a common user of inventory control because they typically have limited capital resources to replace items. Inventory items include school supplies, janitorial items, audio/visual equipment and extra furniture, among other items. In addition to students and school employees, schools have outsiders on campus—such as parents, vendors and maintenance personnel—who may have access to school items. Developing a strong inventory control system can help limit or prohibit unauthorized use of these items.

Things You'll Need

  • Inventory
  • Computer
  • Software
  • Storage facilities

Use locked storage facilities. School employees may not need access to certain inventory items on an hourly or daily basis. Locking up seldom-used items can prevent individuals from using or stealing inventory items owned by the school.

Restrict employee access to supplies. School administrators should consider restricting access to certain on-hand supplies. This prevents theft or inappropriate use of cleaning products or student supplies.

Implement a barcode or computer tracking system. While schools may not have a large budget for ancillary items, a barcode or computer tracking system helps schools prevent the theft of computers or other equipment. This can also help create an electronic inventory of these items.

Count inventory on a regular basis. Conducting physical counts on a regular or periodic basis allows schools to accurately monitor their inventory products. This also reconciles actual items to electronic or paper records, as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inventory control systems do not need to be large and arduous processes. Creating a basic inventory system using paper ledgers may be sufficient for smaller schools. Larger schools may need a more thorough system.
  • Using electronic tracking systems to track computers sent home with students can create a controversy. Schools should attempt to limit the intrusion of inventory systems on students and their families.

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