If you’ve been a uniform rental customer for several years, you may recall that your invoice used to indicate a delivery quantity for each of your non-garment items. Look at your current invoices – is there a delivery quantity for your shop towels? Bar wipes? Napkins? No? Nothing? If the delivery quantity is missing, it’s not an accident. And that number being absent doesn’t help you.

How can you do cost analysis on a product if you don’t know how much you’re using? If you’re simply being charged for the inventory, it would be useful to know how MUCH of that inventory you’re actually using. Do you know how much you’re using? Are you using 50% of your inventory per week, or only 30%? The difference could mean substantial savings to your organization, but if you don’t have that data, you can’t act on it.

ARE THEY ACTUALLY COUNTING YOUR USAGE?

If you have noticed the missing delivery quantity and mentioned it to your provider, it’s likely the response was, “we’re providing a service, the quantity isn’t important.” Let’s try to pin down this logic. If your inventory is 500, but they’re only delivering 150 per week, how is the delivered quantity NOT important? That number reveals an important aspect of your service; namely, that you’re paying for more than you’re using.

And then there’s the fallacy of “safety stock” or “par level minimums.” What providers would like you to believe is that you need a minimum inventory in order to handle volatile usage periods. For example, if a restaurant is expecting a huge holiday rush, they’d need a minimum inventory of napkins to handle the demand. This is true. But that is an exception. Look at your invoices and ask the question – are my inventories built to exceptions rather than normal demand? Without the delivery quantity, you can’t answer that question.

ARE THEY REALLY DOING A QUARTERLY INVENTORY REVIEW?

You also can’t answer several other questions surrounding your inventory turns because your provider does not give you enough information. Your provider wants you to believe that they are managing that inventory for you, which brings us to an important question – are they managing your inventory to benefit them, or you? Our data indicates that most customers are paying for inventory that they don’t need – are you one of them? Why pay for inventory when you don’t have to?