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Old Yesterday, 08:05 AM   #1
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Default Organization in the Office

Hey all,

I believe I've brought up this question before months ago, but here I am still struggling haha.

I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for organization when it comes to making orders, keeping track of orders, etc.

I've been the purchasing agent here in our office for about 8 months now and it seems I just can't get ahead on anything. I'm ordering fixtures last minute for every job, having a hard time keeping up with what I've ordered and with who, etc. I've managed to squeak by but I'd like to improve so I'm not in a constant panic trying to ensure I've accounted for everything.

I've made specific job folders, tried to create my own spreadsheets, it just seems that everything I attempt to do I just run out of time and end up using it for maybe a day before abandoning that system.

We are a medium(?) sized plumbing company. At any given point we have around 25-30 open jobs. Most are tenant spaces, but we also have been doing a lot of large senior living homes (around 150 rooms). We have around 30 plumbers/helpers in the field and 5 people in the office. It can just be overwhelming at times trying to juggle 10 different jobs and keep up with what fixtures go where, etc. I should also note that I was never taught how to work in an office. I'm 29 years old and my family started this company in 1987. Our previous purchasing agent (sadly, she passed last labor day weekend) worked for a very large supply house for 20+ years and graduated from Maryland U magna cum laude in business, so needless to say she knew what she was doing. And even she was here at the office Monday-Saturday 5:30am-5:30pm. After her passing I was just kind of tossed into her position and have been here since. I enjoy it because I love computers and working with them, but I am not very good at this haha.

I can handle the groundworks/rough-in material pretty easily and that only takes me a few minutes to order and send our driver out to pick up, but the fixtures/long lead-time items are the killer for me.

So, if anyone has any tips or software recommendations, etc. to share with me and anyone else who views this, that would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Yesterday, 07:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plumbersteve27 View Post
Hey all,

I believe I've brought up this question before months ago, but here I am still struggling haha.

I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for organization when it comes to making orders, keeping track of orders, etc.

I've been the purchasing agent here in our office for about 8 months now and it seems I just can't get ahead on anything. I'm ordering fixtures last minute for every job, having a hard time keeping up with what I've ordered and with who, etc. I've managed to squeak by but I'd like to improve so I'm not in a constant panic trying to ensure I've accounted for everything.

I've made specific job folders, tried to create my own spreadsheets, it just seems that everything I attempt to do I just run out of time and end up using it for maybe a day before abandoning that system.

We are a medium(?) sized plumbing company. At any given point we have around 25-30 open jobs. Most are tenant spaces, but we also have been doing a lot of large senior living homes (around 150 rooms). We have around 30 plumbers/helpers in the field and 5 people in the office. It can just be overwhelming at times trying to juggle 10 different jobs and keep up with what fixtures go where, etc. I should also note that I was never taught how to work in an office. I'm 29 years old and my family started this company in 1987. Our previous purchasing agent (sadly, she passed last labor day weekend) worked for a very large supply house for 20+ years and graduated from Maryland U magna cum laude in business, so needless to say she knew what she was doing. And even she was here at the office Monday-Saturday 5:30am-5:30pm. After her passing I was just kind of tossed into her position and have been here since. I enjoy it because I love computers and working with them, but I am not very good at this haha.

I can handle the groundworks/rough-in material pretty easily and that only takes me a few minutes to order and send our driver out to pick up, but the fixtures/long lead-time items are the killer for me.

So, if anyone has any tips or software recommendations, etc. to share with me and anyone else who views this, that would be greatly appreciated!
Just get on board with a good supplyier and give them your counts as soon as submittals are approved. That way they can order and store materials. Also have the materials shipped to your office for final counts which will save you a bunch of grief in the long run. Getting ahead of the job is all in how you attack the issue. You can try to do it all yourself or you can create a team to help you.
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Old Yesterday, 09:34 PM   #3
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Some of what Wyrickmech says sounds like a good idea that might help you. I'm afraid I'm not able to help you with your problem.

Now don't get me wrong here because I'm not hating on you. I wonder if after 8 months you have not found a way or made a system yourself that works for you, if that position in the company is right for you? Your strong side might just not be as a purchasing agent and there might be a different place in the company better suited for you?

There will probably always be headaches in a job like that no matter what. I think especially being that it is your families company you should take a good hard look at wether that position is the place you can best benefit the company and it you.

I very much so hope you either find a way to make your days as a purchasing agent run smoothly or find another spot in the company that fits you better.

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Old Yesterday, 09:55 PM   #4
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Back in the day in 2 well oiled companies I worked for they had one guy who's only job was logistics. Order stuff and made sure he'd get it and deliver it to the jobs before the plumber got there to start a new job.

Nowadays companies are cutting corners by not hiring guys that used to do those things and you end up ordering several times the same thing or not having the items on time and the guys try to look busy because they have no material.

I remember one job they hadn't received materials so I built a cart for myself with a vise to cut rod, one for another guy and built a table for plans all while pretending to look busy. That cart has been in use on many jobs after that and now it resides in my garage. Guys were moving materials and tools every 20 feet on the commercial slab while I was pushing my cart on wheels all over.

You need a logistics guy. Don't make him pass the broom or have him do odd jobs. He needs to be focused on his specialty.
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