Planning ahead is an important part of running a successful business. Ordering in plenty of reusable glasses, crockery, napkins, uniforms and cleaning supplies helps companies to manage their stock and ensures they’re always ready to run an event of any size.

While not all products can be bought in advance, there are plenty that are suitable for bulk buying and bulk storage. As well as ensuring you have all your essential products to hand, planning your purchases ahead of time can help you to organise your business, get your finances in order and streamline operations in the coming year.

Although stocking up does take a little organisation and forward planning, putting the hours in now could save your business time and money in the long run. Keep reading to find out more.

Which products can you buy in advance?

A lot of the products that cleaning companies use can be purchased well in advance. Products like uniforms, protective wear, napkins and reusable glasses will last for years if stored correctly. Even items that do have sell by dates like cleaning products, can last for a very long time, especially if they’re stored in cool, dark spaces and kept tightly shut till they’re needed.

When deciding which products to stock up on, look at the items your business uses most often. If you get through a lot of napkins, plastic plates, blue tissue or sanitising spray, it could be well worth buying these products in bulk and storing them on site.

Go through the events you have coming up in the next three, six or twelve months to get an idea of which items will be in high demand. It’s also a good idea to talk to your frontline staff and your managers to find out which items they feel are most essential to the job.

If you’re unsure which products have long shelf lives and which will expire quickly, talk to your supplier. They’ll be able to walk you through the items they offer and give you expert guidance on which is suitable for advance purchase.

Storing your stock

If you’re going to stock up on your essential items, it’s important you find somewhere suitable to store them. Most products will need to be kept in dry, cool conditions. Some may also need darkness in order to prolong their shelf life.

If you don’t have a storeroom available on site, you may be able to hire space in another location to store your products. Putting them in a dedicated space will allow you to properly organise your items, ensuring you know exactly where everything is when you need it.

However, if you do need to hire somewhere offsite for your bulk bought products, it’s important to weigh up the costs before you commit. If your storage space is expensive, it could negate the savings you make on buying your supplies in bulk.

Three months

Most businesses have a rough schedule for the next three months. Once you have a reasonable idea of the work you’ll be doing, look at your upcoming events and calculate the supplies you’ll need for each. This should give you a fairly accurate picture of the resources you’ll need over the next quarter. You can then put in a bulk order for the non-perishable items you know you’re going to require.

A benefit of planning just three months in advance is that you probably won’t need a huge amount of space to store your products. This makes a quarter of a year a good time frame for companies that want to be organised and flexible at the same time.

As well as helping you to get organised, pre-purchasing in this way can be good for your company’s finances. As you’ll be paying for products well in advance, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on your outgoings.

Six months

If you have a little more space to store your products, or if you like your business to be organised well in advance, a six-month time frame could suit you perfectly. Most cleaning products and other items with a shelf life will last for at least six months when stored correctly, so there’s no reason you can’t plan half a year in advance if you want to.

One year

Some businesses like to plan their calendar even further ahead, buying their supplies up to a year in advance. The advantage of planning twelve months ahead is that you know you have enough supplies in stock for the coming year. This protects you against products being discontinued, something that can throw a real spanner in the works just when you least expect it.

When buying products in such large quantities, you may be able to secure discounts from your suppliers. This could save you a considerable amount of money over the year and help your business maximise its profits.

If you are going to plan twelve months in advance, make sure you create a reliable system for managing your stock. After all, if you can’t find the items you need when you need them, or if you run out of an item early and don’t realise, it could make it difficult to get your job done.

Use an online stock counting system, or nominate a reliable member of your team, to keep track of your purchases. That way you can be confident that your team will have the supplies they need, when they need them.

If you think planning ahead could benefit your company, or if you’d like to find out more about expiry dates and non-perishable products, we can help. Explore our site or get in touch to find out more.