Tips for Managing Your Office Supply Inventory as a New Business

Office Supply Inventory

Office supplies like pens, pencils, toner, paper and more, get expensive over time. For a new business, it’s important to control your spending on these sundry items, otherwise it’s profits down the drain when you don’t. Whether it’s minor or major, the costs quickly add up and break the budget. 

Here are some tips on managing your office supply inventory to avoid it becoming a problem.

Office Supply Inventory


Create a Request System

While there is likely going to be a dedicated stock room (or at least a cabinet) for office supplies, not everyone should have access to it. Open access leads to wastefulness when staff think they’re not accountable for what they take and use. Instead, put these under lock and key to avoid staff members wandering in and taking what they want.

Create a request system where a form must be submitted to the office manager to request what’s needed. This avoids supplies disappearing, makes staff think twice before getting supplies because their name is on the request, and it creates a permanent register of the requests too. 

Should there later be a problem with costly office supplies, individual staff members can be spoken to in order to better understand why they’re burning through them so fast. 

Keep Everything Organized

When ordering too many supplies, everything can start to get jumbled. Then it’s more difficult to do a stock take at a later time. It’s also harder to find what you’re looking for when completing an order to delivery to a member of staff too.

Group similar items together to make them easier to find. Therefore, items like different types of paper should be located nearby. This makes it faster to fulfill an order for a notepad and some loose paper because it’s all near to each other. 

Plan When to Reorder Supplies

When you track what remains of the office supplies and set a convenient reorder level for each item, then you can trigger when to place a new order.

To determine the correct reorder levels, bear in mind how often certain items are used to see how fast they’ll run out. A limited existing supply might be fine for several months at a stretch, whereas other items gets used up much sooner. Consider if securing the item is harder if it’s unusual, with delays for sourcing times, and factor in delivery time too. Don’t wait until the stock is too low to place an order to keep the item in stock, because staff will complain when they cannot immediately get the supplies they need. 

Managing Inventory

Managing inventory can be done using software or through a spreadsheet. Using inventory software is more helpful for taking stock inventory, managing supplies and setting triggers for individual stock items. This can create alerts through the desktop software and often with SMS messages as well to alert the office manager that an item needs ordering. 

A spreadsheet such as Google Sheets could also be used to list stock items, their current level and what number is the trigger point. Set up a column in the spreadsheet that highlights when one of the stock items is below the recommended level. It’s not as efficient or convenient, but for smaller companies that neither use many supplies nor want the expense of the software, it’s a workable solution. 

Managing inventory isn’t too difficult, but it does take time to get it right. When following sensible procedures and tracking it well, running out of certain stock items is completely avoidable. While you won’t get much praise for doing so, it certainly avoids receiving any complaints.


1. What office supplies do I need to stock in my new business?

Essential office supplies needed to stock in any new business typically include basic writing materials such as pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, etc. Additionally, supplies such as staplers, scissors, tape, labels, folders, binders and other office organizing materials should also be stocked.

2. What is the best way to set up an inventory system for my new business?

The best way to set up an inventory system for a new business is to use a software program dedicated to keeping track of stock levels. This tool can help keep track of what supplies have been purchased, when they were purchased, and how much is left in stock.

3. How can I keep track of the inventory I have in stock?

The best practice for tracking inventory in stock is to create an inventory ledger. This ledger should include details such as the item name, purchase date, stock level, cost, and other pertinent information. Store the ledger in a secure place, such as a physically locked filing cabinet, to ensure the safety of your inventory data.

4. Is there a way to lower my costs on office supplies?

Yes, there are several ways to reduce the costs of office supplies. Start by shopping around to find the best prices. You can do this by using online comparison sites or contacting various vendors to get a quote. Additionally, consider buying in bulk where possible, as this can often result in lower pricing.

5. What types of policies should I implement in order to ensure proper handling of office supplies?

Policies should be put in place to ensure that office supplies are handled in an efficient, organized manner. Require employees to check out supplies or submit a purchase order in writing when requesting supplies. Make sure to track the amount of inventory in stock and store it in a secure location to prevent theft.

6. Can I save money on shipping costs when ordering office supplies online?

Yes, many online retailers offer free shipping or discounts on orders that meet certain criteria. Be sure to take advantage of any promotions, specials, or discounts that the retailer may offer. Additionally, consider buying items in bulk to reduce the cost of shipping.

7. What types of office equipment will I need to purchase for my business?

Essential office equipment that you will need to purchase for your business include items such as a computer, printer, scanner, copy machine, telephone system, and document shredder. Depending on the type of business you are running, additional items such as cameras and projectors may be required.

8. How can I ensure that my office supplies are stored properly?

Proper storage of office supplies is essential to preventing damage or loss. Store supplies in appropriate containers, such as file cabinets, boxes, and drawers. Label each item with its contents to ensure that they remain organized. Keep your supplies off the floor, away from heat, and in sealed containers.

9. Should I keep a backup of my office supply inventory in case of a disaster?

Yes, it is important to keep a backup of your inventory in case of an emergency or disaster such as a fire. Consider creating multiple backups either on external devices or with third-party cloud storage solutions. This will ensure that you can access your inventory in the event that your physical storage is damaged.

10. How often should I review my inventory to ensure that it is up to date?

You should review your office supply inventory on a regular basis. This can be done every month, three months, or six months. During this time, it is important to review each item in stock and adjust the numbers accordingly. This will help to ensure that your inventory remains accurate and up to date.

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