Keeping Track of Supplies

Oh, Those Wonderful Supplies!

It is a happy day when a package arrives on your doorstep. It is a long-awaited order from your favorite supplier, even if it only took a few days.

You eagerly cut the tape and rip the box open to carefully pull out the contents and anticipate the wonderful products you can now create. The scents, the color and textures pique the senses and build excitement. You take care of the packaging and store the new supplies.

Wait. Did you forget something? Did you catalog the items?

If you are a business owner, you probably catalog purchases already. If not however, it is time to begin. Even if you are a hobbyist, it is wise to develop the habit to avoid future disappointment and monetary loss.

At its simplest, cataloging involves the following steps:

  • Check the order form against the packing slip. Make sure that the products, sizes and numbers are correct. Did everything arrive that you ordered? Count everything. If you ordered fifty bottles with accompanying pump tops, confirm that you received fifty bottles and fifty pump tops. If you ordered fifty pounds of coconut oil, weigh the oil to make sure fifty pounds is in the container.
  • Next, carefully inspect each product. Does it look like what you expected? Is the color normal? Does it smell fresh? If you have questions about the appearance or smell, contact the vendor.
  • If anything is off or you have questions, the correct action is to contact the vendor immediately, not to jump on Facebook and complain. The vendor almost always corrects the situation promptly or answers your questions. If you wait for months, the vendor will understandably refuse to send a corrected order or refund.
  • Catalog each product in your order. Use a program such as CraftyBase™ or Soapmaker3™ or make a spreadsheet. Note the name of the product and color name, the date received, vendor, the quantity, price and shipping cost, describe the appearance and smell, the expiration date and any other pertinent information. Assign lot numbers and mark containers accordingly. Follow GMP (good manufacturing processes) for lot numbers and such, if you sell.

Unless you are one of those few who love to do this, it is admittedly not particularly enjoyable, but you will thank yourself later when it is time to reorder. Finding the vendor and other details is simply a matter of checking the records. This practice also tracks product and shipping costs, as well as helping determine often to reorder and when to raise prices.

We are accustomed to vendors who are scrupulously honest and efficient, so orders are rarely wrong. As a result, we trust that orders are correct and may neglect to double check. Every company makes mistakes once in awhile however, so it is your responsibility as a buyer to confirm the order right away. As you can see, the time to catalog purchases is time well spent!

Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.

Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles Magazine

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