This chapter provides the reader with important facts, theories and models in order to increase the understanding of the area under investigation. The chapter also identifies what other authors have found out in the area of stores management.
2.1 Theoretical Review
2.1.1 History of Stores
Stores’ roots go back to the creation of granaries to store food, which was historically available for purchase during times of famine. As European explorers began to create shipping-trade routes with other nations, stores grew in importance for the storage of products and commodities from afar. Ports were the major location for stores. (Give a good flow)As railroads began to expand travel and transportation, the creation of rail depots for the storage of materials became necessary. In 1891 the American Warehousemen’s Association was organized to challenge the railroad companies’ control over freight depots. President Theodore Roosevelt significantly strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission with passage of the Hepburn Act in 1906. Commercial storage began to grow after the government placed more restrictions on railroads.
World War II impacted storage in several ways, including the need to increase the size of stores and the need for more mechanized methods of storing and retrieving the products and materials. As mass production grew throughout manufacturing, the needs of efficient and effective storage capabilities grew with it. (Encyclopedia of Business, 2006)
- Stores Organisation.
Store is a function of materials management in an organization. Hence it is generally found that stores function reports to the materials manager. But in some situations stores function reports to the production function. The earlier type of arrangement is based on the concept that stores along with other functions of materials management can be integrated into the materials organization. This will stream line all materials management functions effectively. The other arrangement is leaning on the fact that production function is very closely linked to stores and a common command can reduce cost and increase effectiveness and also keep material accounting outside the scope of procurement function.
Centralized stores concept is to store all items at a central place and control materials movement from this central place whereas decentralization concept is moving the material to the respective consumer function or directly to the points of use. Centralization or Decentralization then is a matter of convenience. However, one basic organizational feature must be observed. The entire stores setup should be under the unified control of one department with senior controller of stores in charge, in order to efficiently achieve the objectives of the function of stores.
2.1.2 Stores Systems and Procedures.
Stores Systems and Procedures operate the stores every day. Systems and procedures should undergo continuous review to avoid redundancy and rigidity. Continuous review in the form of PDCA should provide the benefit experience of implementation. Operation of stores is made up of number of activities involving various functions inside and outside the organization. These activities are tied together by procedures so that transparency comes in and variations due to individual personalities are limited. The system should take care of physical flow of materials and flow of information.
2.1.3 Identification System.
When one deals with large number of items, depending on physical description of the item becomes unreliable. Hence we need a system which provides a unique identification for each item in the stores. Materials suppliers to stores follow their own numbering system for identification. Hence it is primary responsibility of stores management to develop a unique identification system to facilitate clear communication internally.
126.96.36.199 Arbitrary Approach.
Serial numbers are assigned in sequence to the materials as they arrive in the stores. This is a unique system as every item will possess a unique identification number. But it will not be possible to identify the family of parts to which this particular part belongs. This type of numbering will not reveal any classification of the part.
188.8.131.52 The Symbolic Approach.
This is a system using numerical, alphabets or a combination of both for identifying a part or item. Following is an example: 1 52 43 25 First digit 1, stands for general class to which this item belongs like say, raw material. Second two digits indicate the generic class like say, bars. Third two digits indicate steel rounds and the last two digits indicate the specific number. Similarly alphabets or alphanumeric can be used in place of numbers.
184.108.40.206 Engineering Drawing Number.
This is quite useful internally. But has a serious limitation that it is applicable to manufactured parts only receipt system: Stores receive materials from various sources. Some of them are internal and some are external. Receipt system is specific to the source. When materials arrive from an external source following system handles the receipts. Purchase function raises a PO on the source of supply a copy is sent to the stores. Stores are now advised about the order. When the supplier on whom the order is placed supplies the goods he sends goods dispatch note, giving information about carrier, value of the goods, date of dispatch etc. to the receiving stores. The carrier sends a document called consignment note. These documents enable the store to make arrangement for receipt of the consignment.[handling equipment, space etc.] When the consignment arrives at the receiving section it is checked against the documents already received with respect to the consignment. General condition of the goods also is checked.
2.1.4 Types of Storage.
In actual practice we come across different types of stores classified as per the nature of the products stored, types of the materials stored and function of the storage. As per types of the materials stored, raw materials store, components store, work in process store, finished goods store, semi finished goods store, tools store and consumable materials store. As per nature of the materials stored; LPG store, chemicals store, hazardous materials store and refrigerated materials store. As per function of the storage; receiving store, central store, general stores and sub stores.
2.1.5 Storage Systems.
Physical systems physical storage of material is very important from the point of view of identification, retrieval and issue. Various methods adopted for physical storage are mentioned below.
220.127.116.11 Closed Door System.
The stored material is held under lock and key. Entry into the store is restricted to authorized persons only. Physical movement of the material is only with authorized documents only. Maximum security and tight control on movement are features of this system.
18.104.22.168 Open Stores System.
In this system material is stored near point of use and there is restriction on consumption. Control passes on to the operations department Random access stores system: There is no fixed location for an item. Item occupies the available physical slot when it enters the store. Stores address is fixed to the occupying item electronically. For issue the item is located by this address. This system facilitates maximum space utilization but electronic control is needed.
2.1.6 Stores Accounting And Verification Systems.
Purpose of stores accounting is to know; cost of materials consumed in production, levels of wastage produced, value of material lying in stock. For ascertaining the above following factors are taken into account; material price; freight charges; insurance; duties; tax; packaging charges etc.
22.214.171.124 FIFO System.
First in first out system- when the material is issued it is assumed that the one which came first is going out. Hence the rate pertaining to the first in is applied. To the stock latest price is applied. When there are several price changes this system becomes complex.
126.96.36.199 LIFO System.
Last in first out at the time of issue- When the material is issued latest entrant is assumed to be going out. Hence latest prices are applied to the issue. And receipt price is applied to stock. Average cost system: an average is established with price of each item in every shipment taken into account. Total items received and price paid for these items is calculated. And average price for each item from this lot is calculated and applied to the issue and stock.
188.8.131.52 Standard Cost Method.
Standard cost method charges issued materials at a predetermined or estimated price reflecting a normal or an expected future price. The difference between the actual and standard cost is recorded in a purchase price variance account. The variance account enables management to observe the extent to which actual materials costs differ from planned objectives or predetermined estimates. Materials are charged into production at the standard price, thereby eliminating the erratic costing inherent in the actual cost methods.
2.1.7 Stock Verification Systems.
Discrepancies invariably occur between physical stock and books in spite of good store keeping. Hence a system is needed to locate this gap and apply correction. Purpose of Stock verification is; to reconcile stock figures with books, to identify areas for tighter control, to keep a check on pilferage and fraudulent practices and to back up balance sheet stock figures.
2.1.8 Systems Of Physical Stock Taking
184.108.40.206 Annual stocktaking.
Stock is checked once a year, generally at the end of financial year. This method is quite popular among large number of engineering industries. Total stop is enforced on items entering and leaving the stores and physical counting is done. This may necessitate stoppage of production for a few days. Discrepancies are noted for management action. Nonmoving items are identified for action. Main features of this system, correct position of stock is ascertained without any confusion about any item , stoppage of production is generally required, final list of surplus or shortage items is prepared, final list of damaged or lost items is made.
220.127.116.11 Perpetual Inventory and Continuous Stock Taking System
When the firm is very large and number of items and quantity per item is huge, annual stocktaking becomes complicated and hence impractical. Production stoppage also may not be possible. Many firms follow following simple method of continuous stocktaking. Inventory is divided into 52 parts and year also is divided 53 weeks. Every week stocktaking is done. Discrepancies and damages etc. are identified and corrected continuously.
2.1.9 Obsolete, Surplus And Scrap Management.
Obsolete items are good in all respect but have no useful role in the company due to changes that have occurred in the course of time. They have economic worth in the market. Surplus items are those that have accumulated due to faulty planning, forecasting and purchasing. Hence a usage value is associated with these items. Scrap is wastage generated due to processes like turning, boring, drilling etc. and also due to bad manufacturing.
2.2.1 Systems Theory
A system is a collection of part unified to accomplish an overall goal. If one part of the system is removed, the nature of the system is changed as well. A system can be looked at as having inputs (e.g., resources such as raw materials, money, technologies, and people), processes (e.g., planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling), outputs (products or services) and outcomes (e.g., enhanced quality of life or productivity for customers/clients, productivity). Systems share feedback among each of these four aspects of the system.
The Systems Theory may seem quite basic. Yet, decades of management training and practices in the workplace have not followed this theory. Only recently, with tremendous changes facing organizations and how they operate, have educators and managers come to face this new way of looking at things. The effect of systems theory in management is that it helps managers to look at the organization more broadly. It has also enabled managers to interpret patterns and events in the workplace – i.e., by enabling managers to recognize the various parts of the organization, and, in particular, the interrelations of the parts.
2.2.2 Inventory Control Theory
Inventory control involves the actual control of inventory; this can mean inventory of raw materials, works-in-progress or finished goods. Regardless of the type of inventory in question, inventory requires storage, and there is always a cost associated with that storage. Therefore, inventory control theory is concerned with all actions related to the storing of items and the consequences, both positive and negative, thereof.
One of the most common applications of inventory control theory is in the determination of the optimal quantity of inventory to be held. There are several mathematical models in use that can act as a useful tool in inventory control. These models strive to balance storage costs with order costs; the cost of shortages is also considered. While inventory control theory tends to be a bit shortsighted regarding the non-monetary costs of storage, and it makes assumptions regarding future demand and delivery that could not be known, inventory control theory is still a cost-saving tool, and is considered part of good business practice in manufacturing environments. (O’Farrell 2010)
2.2.3 Theory of Constraints.
One of business management theories is the theory of constraints (TOC), it was created by Dr. Eli Goldratt, and it is based on: “a assumption that every system has at least one constraint limiting it from getting more of what it strives for. If this were not true, then the system would produce infinite output.” The theory of constraints is both descriptive and prescriptive in nature; it not only describes why system constraints happen, but also offers guidance on what to do about them. Goldratt states that there is only one constraint in a system at any given time limiting the output of the entire system. The remaining “links” are known as non-constraints. When one constraint is strengthened, however, the system does not become infinitely stronger. The constraint simply migrates to a different component of the system, i.e., some other link is now the weakest and all other links are non-constraints. The system is stronger than it was but still not as strong as it could be. Overall, the theory of constraints emphasizes fixing the weakest link in the chain—the system constraint—and temporarily ignoring the non-constraints. In this way, the theory has a profound impact on process improvement. Rather than spreading limited time, energy, and resources across an entire system (which may or may not result in tangible results), teams focus on that part of the system with the potential to produce immediate system improvement. (Suneetha 2010)
- Empirical Review.
According to Mitral ( 2008),stores function as an element of materials department, has an interface with many user departments in its daily operations. The basic purpose served by stores is the provision of uninterrupted service to manufacturing divisions. Stores act as a cushion between purchase and manufacturing on one hand and manufacturing and marketing on the other. The inherent limitations of forecasts make the stores function a necessity. Stores function is an inseparable part of all business and non – business concerns, whether they are industrial or service oriented, public or private, small or large. The task of store keeping relates to safe custody and stocking of materials, their receipts, issues, and accounting with the objective of efficiently and economically providing the right material at the right time whenever required in the right condition to all user departments. The financial view considers stores as an overhead i.e. a cost with no return. This all the more highlights the need for economic operation and efficient stores management.
The cost of stores can be categorized into a capital cost component and revenue expenditure component. The capital cost consist of the sunk cost in land building, roads, yards, material handling equipment and related facilities. Because of the very irreversible nature of this cost, proper planning of stores can go long way in reducing this capital expenditure that may also have a bearing on the revenue expenditure in the stores. The revenue component of stores expenditure consists of salaries and wages of store personnel, maintenance cost, stationary cost, communication expenses, and inventory carrying cost.
One must always remember that efficiency in stores operations cannot be built overnight but has to be thought of right from the initial planning stage. Stores must be visualized as an integral part of the purchasing – manufacturing – marketing link. Unfortunately, stores management is looked down upon by many as an operational clerical function and fails to attract appropriate talent because of its underdog nature. One has to bear in mind that the stores manager heads the single largest group of current assets and his performance is the key to smooth production and subsequent marketing. Many decisions related to stores have a dramatic impact on the operational efficiency of the production department and profitability of the entire organization. Even seemingly routine decisions such as selection of racks, shells, bins, material handling equipment, safety practices, inspection procedures etc. are reflected in the operational efficiency.
According to Ameetdub (2006) stores function is a vital part of organizations whether they are industrial concerns, public or private utility undertakings, agriculture enterprise, municipal authorities or armed services of Government departments. There are many varieties of materials stored – chemicals, metals, liquids, gases, spare parts, equipment, or finished goods, ranging from engineering components to drugs and pharmaceuticals. Each of these items will require a specific type of storage. And their handling and preservation methods will vary accordingly. There is high degree of specialization of degree required to store and handle these products and in many cases special storage licenses need to be obtained from the government, e.g., the storage of petroleum products.
The relative importance of the function of stores depends upon the nature and size of the industry or activity concerned, and in all cases it has to be designed to suit the particular needs of the organization it serves. There is, therefore, no standard system, which can be universally recommended or applied, but in the course of time, certain principles and practices of general application have been evolved. The understanding of these principles is most important in the practice of the art of store keeping.
According to Chandra (2007) inventory Management is concerned with the determination of optimum level of investment for each components of inventory and the operation of an effective control and review of mechanism. The main objectives of inventory management are operational and financial. The operational objective mean that the materials and spares should be available in sufficient quantity so that work is not disrupted for want of inventory. The financial objective means that inventory should not remain idle and minimum working capital should be locked in it. Every industry on average spends 70% on raw materials (inventory). Therefore there is a need to know the raw material cost and also there is great importance to understand the inventory management system of this industry. In this competitive business world each and every business organization need inventory management system for determining what to order, when to order, where and how much to order so that purchasing and storing costs are the lowest possible without affecting production and sales. Thus, inventory management control incorporates the determination of the optimum size of the inventory-how much to be order and when after taking into consideration the minimum inventory cost. The overall inventory management includes design and inventory control organization with proper accountability establishing procedure for inventory handling disposal of scrap, simplification, standardization and codification of inventories, determining the size of inventory holdings, maintaining record points and safety stocks.
2.3.1 System Setup
Modern day stores are managed by sophisticated system applications that are designed to manage complex stores plans and to a large extent contain processes that initiate and streamline the operations and stores management. Quite often one can find that the system setup and process defined in the system is not user friendly and cumbersome. An efficient system should define and guide the physical process as well as documentation process, (Chandra 2007).
The system process should in turn be developed based on the business process requirement. In many cases the operations are made to suit the system setup, which already exists in some basic form and not suited to the particular business process on hand. Poor system setup that does not match with the shop floor warehouse set up renders operations in efficient. It is very common to come across complaints from users with regard to non-availability of features to work around the processes; at times processes are lengthy and cumbersome leading to operational delays. Non availability of different reports and loops and bugs in the system can often push the operations teams to find shortcut methods to by-pass the system processes and carry on with the work, resulting in stores inefficiencies as well as inefficient operations.
- Staff Skills.
Stores operations management is a process-oriented operation. Every task and action required to be carried out by the operatives will impact the stores as well as the delivery lead times and other parameters. Therefore knowledge of what one is required to do and the effect of the action should be known to the operatives who are on the shop floor.
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’S)
When a inventory management project kicks off at a third party warehouse location, both the principle customer as well as the third party service provider work on the project and setup basic processes, document them in Standard Operating Procedures and conduct training as a part of the project management methodology, (Mitra 2006). However over a period of time, the nature of business requirements changes resulting in change in the operating processes. These do not get documented in terms of amendments and the SOPs become outdated. Thereafter one finds that the new comers who are introduced on the shop floor are required to learn the processes by working along with others where as no training or SOP document is provided to him for reference. With the result they often have half-baked knowledge of the processes and carry on tasks not knowing why they are doing and what they are required to do.
2.3.4 Inventory Audit
Any inventory of Raw materials, finished goods as well as intermediate in process inventory has an economic value and is considered an asset in the books of the company. Accordingly any asset needs to be managed to ensure it is maintained properly and is stored in secure environment to avoid pilferage, loss or thefts etc. Inventory control assumes significance on account of many factors. First of all inventory of raw materials as well as finished goods can run in thousands of varieties. Secondly inventory can be in one location or spread over many locations. Thirdly inventory may be with the company or may be under the custody of a third party logistics provider. These factors necessitate inventory maintenance mechanisms to be devised to ensure inventory control. Inventory control is also required as an operational process requirement. Inventory is has two different dimensions to it. On one level it is physical and involves physical transactions and movement of inventory. While on the other hand, inventory is recognizable by the book stock and the system stocks maintained. This necessitates inventory control mechanism to be implemented to ensure the book stocks and the physical stocks match at all times.
Thirdly the inventory always moves through supply chain and goes through various transactions at various places. The number of transactions and handling that it goes through from the point of origin to the point of destination is numerous. Therefore it becomes essential to control inventory and have visibility through the pipeline including transit inventory.
Inventory control is exercised through inventory audits and cycle counts. An inventory audit essentially comprises of auditing the books stocks and transactions and matching physical stocks with the book stock. Cycle count refers to the process of counting inventory items available in physical locations. Depending upon the nature of inventory, number of transactions and the value of items, cycle count can be carried on periodically or perpetually.
Independent Variables Dependent Variable
Fig I Conceptual Framework
Source: Author (2012).
This chapter deals with the research methodology. It describes the research design, study population data analysis and presentation
- Research Design
Research design is an arrangement of the conditions for collection and analysis of data in a way that combines their relationships with the purpose of the research. Its primary objective is to determine factors and relationships that have resulted in the behaviours under study and to investigate and provide a detailed examination of this phenomenon (Mugenda and Mugenda, 2003).
This study will utilize survey design. A survey is a research design in which data is collected from members of a population for the purpose of estimating one or more population parameter.
- The Target Population
The target population consists of all the 10 store staff in the selected business organisations. This is according to 2012 statistics provided by the business organizations supervisors and presented diagrammatically below.
Table 1: Target Population
|Maguna – Andu Supermarket||8|
|Kwa Njogu Supermarket||5|
Source: Supermarket Managers (2012)
- Data Collection
Since the target population is small, the researcher will study the entire population of stores staff.
The study will administer questionnaires to capture the required data. The choice of questionnaire was arrived at because questions are standardized; anonymity is possible and ease of administration. The drop and pick method will be used to provide adequate time to respondents. The questionnaire will be pretested to a selected sample of 1%, the procedures used in pre-testing the questionnaire will be identical to those that will be used during the actual study. This will enable the researcher to have meaningful observations.
The researcher will take appropriate measures to ensure content validity of the questionnaire. Essentially, validity should be concerned with establishing whether the questionnaire content is measuring what it is supported to measure.
- Data Analysis and Presentation.
The data collected will be checked for completion and coded and analysed through simple statistical methods which include mean, percentage and frequencies. The analysed data will then be presented using tables, bar graphs and pie-charts for easy understanding and interpretation.
This questionnaire is designed to gather information on the factors that affect effective management of stores. You are asked to participate in this study by filling in this questionnaire. You are advised that the information you give will be used for the purpose of this study and will be treated with utmost confidentiality. Respond to all items according to the instructions provided.
Section A: Personal data
- What is your age?
21 – 25 years [ ]
26 – 30 years [ ]
31 – 35 years [ ]
36 – 40 years [ ]
41 – 45 years [ ]
46 – 50 years [ ]
50 and above [ ]
- What is your academic qualification?
Primary education [ ]
Secondary education [ ]
College [ ]
University education [ ]
Others (specify) ________________________________
- How long have you worked with the supermarket?
1 – 5 years [ ]
6 – 10 years [ ]
11 – 15 years [ ]
16 – 20 years [ ]
Above 20 years [ ]
- What is your position in the supermarket? __________________________
Strongly agree 5 points
Agree 4 points
Undecided 3 points
Disagree 2 points
Strongly disagree 1 point
- How often have you had downsizing in your organization?
Always [ ]
Sometimes [ ]
Rarely [ ]
Never [ ]
- Rate the level of impact of employee lay-offs on you as an employee.
Very high [ ]
High [ ]
Average [ ]
Low [ ]
- After the downsizing, the management provided explanations and social accounts to the employees.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- The organization made sure that all employee concerns were heard before the decision about laying off was made and treats the employees with dignity.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- After the downsizing the management shows concern for our rights as employees.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- How much are you convinced that your employer is concerned with your long term well being?
Highly convinced [ ]
Moderately convinced [ ]
Not convinced [ ]
- After the downsizing, my loyalty to the organization has increased.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- In my current job, I only exchange the work outlined in my job description for a salary.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- Almost all of the promises made by my employer during recruitment have been kept so far.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- Are there any aspects of your job that changed after some employees were laid off?
Yes [ ]
No [ ]
- My current job provides me with a variety of work.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- My current job lets me be left on my own to do my own work.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- My current job requires me to utilize a variety of different skills in order to complete the work.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- To what extent did your work load increase after the lay off ?
Great extent [ ]
Average extent [ ]
Low extent [ ]
No extent [ ]
- Did the lay off result into irregular work schedules?
Yes [ ]
No [ ]
- I sometimes find myself unable to perform some tasks in my job.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- The results of my work are likely to significantly affect the organization.
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]
- To what extent did downsizing affect your motivation towards your work in your station?
5 [ ]
4 [ ]
3 [ ]
2 [ ]
1 [ ]