A professionally managed Stores has a process and
a space within, to
receive the incoming materials (Receiving Bay),
keep them for as long as they are not required for use
(Custody) and then to move them out of stores for use
In a manufacturing firm this process forms a
cycle to maintain and run the activities of Stores.
The basic responsibilities
of stores are to act as custodian and controlling
agent for parts, supplies, and materials, and to
provide service to users of those goods.
Typically and at times essentially, a Stores
has to follow certain activities that are
managed through use of various resources and
are thus called Stores Management.
The task of storekeeping relates to safe
custody and preservation of the materials
stocked, to their receipts, issue and
The objective is to efficiently and
economically provide the right materials at
the time when it is required and in the
condition in which it is required.
The basic job of the Stores Manager hence is to
receive the goods and act as a caretaker of the
materials and issue them as and when Production
demands it. Needless to say storekeeping activity
does not add any value to the product. In fact it
only adds to the cost. The organization has to
spend money on space ie. expenditure on land,
building and roads, equipment, machinery and other
facilities provided such as electricity, people
i.e. salaries and wages, insurance, maintenance
costs, stationary, communication expenses and the
cost to maintain the inventory etc. All of these
get added to the organisational overheads and
finally get reflected in the costing of the
finished product. However, it is an essential
function in any manufacturing or marketing
organization. This basic reason has propelled the
evolution of philisophies such as JIT, JIT II etc.
Thus , the basic functions , to manage a stores,
carried out are:
Receiving of incoming consignments (goods)
Safe keeping of goods (Custody)
Disposal of undesirable goods
House keeping and record maintenance
all starts with a suitable Lay out design of stores.
Depending upon the nature of items used for
processing by the organisation the lay out and
type of stores are selected. For example , a
process that requires use of raw materials , not
costly enough, an open and nearby stores with
truck / rail inside movement possibility can be
adequate. Similarly, for storing costly material,
a closed and restricted type of stores shall be
However, irrespective of the type and lay out ,
any Stores would have , as its starting activity ,
receiving and accounting of the incoming goods.
This part of Stores is known as Receiving Bay.
the material has been received and cleared
through inspection and accepted for use,
it needs safe custody till it's actually
It calls for a separate physical storage
space , open or closed, as per need. It
maintains all documents that are able to
trace an item , show all its details and
preserve it up to its shelf life in the
manner prescribed or till it is issued for
This part of Stores is called Custody.
Thus the role of Custody is to receive and
preserve the material and then to issue it
user, as and when needed. A stage comes when the material is needed for use.
Stores thus releases the material from its custody to
the user department and the process is called 'issue
of goods. It might also happen that after partial use
, some materials having useable value in
future are returned to the stores and thus
they also become part
of the custody again.
In the long drawn process of preserving the materials
till its use ,some materials might get obsolete
and unserviceable and may require removal from stores ,
in order to clear space for other incoming goods. This
activity is known as Disposal of goods for which
auction etc is done.
Since the material has a cost , the organisation
would definitely like to incur optimum cost on this
account and thus there is a need to manage the
materials within a stores such that the total cost of
maintaining materials remains optimum.
The materials , lying
unused but have future economic value are said to form
inventory which needs professional handling.
Inventory control / management thus is a
vitally important aspect of any
One of the basic functions of stores is to account for
every material received in Stores by maintaining
proper records of all the incoming, stored and
outgoing materials so that proper accounting and audit
trail is maintained.
Hence , record keeping is a vital
function of stores . Of course , it also goes along
the various activities and with development in the
information technology domain, the record keeping in
stores too is through electronic medium making the
whole process smooth and efficient.
Any Stores as such is a physical entity which
deals with material receipt , preservation and
issue. Material handling therefore is
another vital function.
Just as Lay out of a
Stores is designed considering the nature of
material Stores has to handle, material
movement equipment and implements also are
Within a typical manufacturing organisation, its Stores
is seen having Forklifts, Over head Cranes,
Trolleys etc inside the Stores and trucks,
Dumpers and Railway
as outside Stores equipment to handle