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We’re serious when we say that every location in your facility should have a name and a label. (There are some common-sense exceptions, for instance, public areas where labels can’t be displayed or areas that only contain a few large assets that are easily counted.) It may seem extreme, but the cost of labeling a location and having it available in the Clearly Inventory application are so small, and the alternatives—having to go back and label locations again, “losing” items because they aren’t stored in a known location, having jumbled location names—are so great that it just makes sense to take a little extra time and thought and get the job done once.
You may be tempted to count your inventory as you create and mount your labels. Don’t do this! It will make BOTH processes more time consuming than if you do them separately. Get everything labeled, then start your counts
You can get the job done with the above list of items, or you can skip the paper, Sharpie, and clear tape and invest in tools that are a little more expensive.
First, position yourself in the first area/room/zone that you want to start labeling, and stand in front of where you want to start your sections. Then write or create your label. Remember, you want to include the FULL LOCATION name on the label. (If you’re using the paper strips, pen, and tape, write the location name on the paper strip, make your arrows, and then cover it up with the clear tape.)
Your labels should start with the zone abbreviation (if you use zones), the section letter (if you use sections), and then descend from 1 – 10 or A-Z from the highest point to the floor. If you have two locations side by side on a shelf, consider ending one with “L” and the other with “R” (for “left” and “right”).
Again using the illustration of our Sweet Little Devils store, let’s review our labeling practices:
Close-up of a shelving unit in Sec. “C” (fig. 10)
Let’s take a closer look at our “BEST” example from the left illustration. We have:
Close-up of bottom shelf label, “BEST” (fig. 11)
Arrow points up, removing any doubt about which location the label is referring to
Zone abbreviation “S” for the storage zone
“Vertical” or “shelf” location number
If you have racks on wheels, carts, or other items in your facility that move, consider naming them with the descriptive term for the item, followed by a serial number or letter. For instance, if you have mobile cooling racks for baked goods, you might call them “RACK A”, “RACK B”, etc. Since these can move, using the “zone” or “section” naming conventions doesn’t make sense for movable storage spaces.
“The best labels leave NO doubt about the name or physical location to which they refer.”
– Albert Einstein* [*Just kidding]
Write down the location name of the label you just applied on the notebook paper using the pencil we told you to keep with you. You’re building a list of your locations that will ultimately get transferred to a spreadsheet and then uploaded into Clearly Inventory. If you have a laptop, you can enter the location names directly into Excel as you go, but you may find it easier to just write them down and enter them all at once.
Repeat the above process until every location is labeled and you have a written list of all of your locations.
Once you’ve completed your labeling and have a written list of all of your locations, you’ll need to get the location list into a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Save the sheet. You’ll upload it into Clearly Inventory a little later. But before we do that, we need to get our descriptions and units of measure ironed out.