Managing inventory in a warehouse can be particularly challenging, especially if your business has lots of inventory that comes and goes frequently—or if your business stocks inventory across multiple warehouses. That’s why just about every warehouse uses some kind of inventory management system to keep track of what inventory is on their shelves and what equipment, tools, and supplies are on the floor.
In this article, we’ll provide a free, customizable warehouse tools and equipment, plus a warehouse supplies list you can use and customize as you see fit. We’ll also touch on the benefits of maintaining a warehouse inventory list, and briefly review how to keep such a list accurate and helpful to your business.
Why keep a warehouse inventory list?
A warehouse inventory list—whether a sheet of paper, a spreadsheet, or a database secured within an inventory app—allows your company to keep tabs on every last asset and piece of inventory in your warehouse. You may even choose to maintain two separate lists: a list of the for-sale or for-consumption inventory your company stocks, and the assets (think: tools, equipment, machinery) used to keep operations running.
A warehouse equipment list can help your team keep tabs on the condition, value, and location of various pieces of machinery or technology. You can also track warranty end dates and key maintenance dates throughout the asset’s life cycle.
A warehouse supplies list—from light bulbs to packing tape to cleaning supplies—can help your team keep track of the essentials your business needs outside of the inventory it sells. Sometimes known as MRO inventory, these items are just as important as the stock you sell to customers or use to create finished goods.
A warehouse inventory list can also help you keep track of the whereabouts, condition, and value of your assets and inventory across all your locations—down to the very aisle, to the very bin. Plus, having all the right data and details at your fingertips allows you to streamline everything from tedious accounting processes to time-consuming inventory audits.
Related: What are the four types of inventory?
Where to maintain a warehouse supplies, tools, and equipment list
There are three main systems used to track supplies, tools, and equipment for your warehouse: a document, a spreadsheet, and inventory software. Each system has its own set of pros and cons.
Using a document (think: Word, Google Doc, a sheet of paper) to track warehouse equipment and supplies is inexpensive and simple. But, if your company stocks more than a few items or has more than one location, maintaining such a system and keeping good records can quickly become impossible. Manual inventory systems are also easy to misplace or damage, and don’t really allow different team members to collaborate or share data.
A spreadsheet, while error-prone and not ideal for storing images or attachments, is certainly a step up from a document. It’s sortable, organized, and—if used on a platform like Google Sheets—can be referenced and used by your whole team. While this may be a good solution for small inventories and teams, you’ll likely find it frustrating past a certain point. There’s no barcode or QR code syncing, automated features, alerts or reminders, or the ability to lock or hide some information from certain users.
The most comprehensive option is warehouse inventory management software, which automates many of the processes your team is likely already doing by hand: checking items in and out, setting reminders for important dates, and verifying the condition of key machinery and equipment.
However your business decides to keep track of warehouse tools and equipment, the most important thing is consistency. Commit to keeping accurate records, and running your warehouse will be that much easier.
How do you maintain a warehouse inventory list?
Keeping a running inventory list of your warehouse’s assets—including tools, equipment, and machinery—and supplies doesn’t have to be impossible. Whether you use a sheet of paper, a spreadsheet, or an inventory app, these steps should help:
1. Create a list of all assets and supplies
This inventory list, whether it’s on a document, spreadsheet, or within an inventory app, should include key details like location (warehouse, aisle, and bin), vendor, minimum quantity needed on hand, purchase price, and current condition. A spreadsheet won’t support attachments, but you can include links to photos, barcodes and QR codes, and other files if you need them.
To get started today, download our free warehouse supplies, tools, and equipment list, which is linked in the next section.
2. Update this list regularly
When items come and go, move from location to location, or are phased out of your warehouse, you’ll need to reflect that on your inventory sheet. You can update it every time an item has a status update—difficult without barcodes and QR codes—or make a plan about when and how your team will take inventory in your warehouse. Some businesses count items daily, others weekly, others monthly.
3. Track maintenance, other key dates
You can use your warehouse inventory list to keep tabs on past, scheduled, and future maintenance dates for your warehouse’s equipment. You can also track other important dates, like expiration dates or warranty ends. While your spreadsheet can’t remind you of these dates, you’ll at least have a database to track them. You can always set alerts within a calendar.
If you do decide to upgrade to inventory software, you’ll be able to set automatic, customized alerts regarding important dates.
4. Place timely, complete orders
Because your warehouse list will become an accurate resource that reflects your current inventory levels, you’ll be able to use the sheet to place more complete, thorough orders. Since you’re working off a spreadsheet, you’ll want to double check that you’re working off the most recent version of the list, since ordering from an older edition could leave you with a ton of inventory you simply do not need.
5. Scale—and audit—with confidence
As your operation grows, you may find that using an inventory sheet to perform physical inventory or asset audits or keep tabs on every list item in your warehouse becomes too challenging. At that point, you might want to consider hiring an inventory specialist, or turning to a more automated inventory software solution to help streamline some inventory processes.
But even if you stick with your spreadsheet, you’ll want to ensure you adapt as your business expands. For example, you might want to create separate tabs for different locations, or create a standard operating procedure to align inventory audits across multiple warehouse locations.
Free warehouse supply and equipment list
We’ve gone ahead and compiled some of the most common supplies, equipment, and tools our warehouse customers need—and prepopulated them onto our favorite inventory spreadsheet template. When used correctly, this inventory spreadsheet can help keep your storage and distribution centers organized. The template is yours to customize, so feel free to make it your own. Some users like to tinker with it, then print it out to take inventory on a clipboard, while others prefer to work directly in the spreadsheet.
If and when you’re ready, you can always bulk upload this spreadsheet into Sortly’s inventory app.
Sortly is a top-rated inventory app perfect for warehouses looking to modernize and simplify their inventory operations. Whether you have one location or dozens, Sortly can help you keep tabs on every last supply, tool, and piece of equipment your company owns.
Curious about how Sortly might save your team time and money? Claim your free, two-week trial of Sortly’s most premium features.