This episode of Life of an Electrical Contractor is a lesson you can apply whether you are a contractor or in any business that deals with moving parts from place to place: How to keep from losing supplies. Anything that is ordered to go to a job site, particularly something that is specific to the job (e.g. NOT extension cords, fuses, socket plates) can get lost. All it takes is one busy moment where someone decides “I need to get this out of the way to deal with this other thing” can throw off an entire job.

Here are three steps you can take to keep deliveries from getting misplaced.

1 – Designate a person to receive goods
Make sure the person knows the entire order that is to be received. Have one person who is responsible for the entire order. It’s not enough to just receive boxes, the receiver must know what is being received, where it goes, and whether or not the order is complete.

2 – Check the slip against the total order
An order may come in several boxes over the course of days or even weeks. Anyone on the job site should be able to see whether or not the parts have arrived. It sounds simple, but it’s difficult to do consistently. It’s easy to slack off and think you’ll remember when the time comes, but the more jobs you have on different job sites, the more likely it is that something will be misplaced.

3- Always label and store correctly
I have found that the more specific the labeling the better. Putting “Job A, 1 of 8” is much better than having “1 of 8,” because there can be jobs B, C, etc. I take apart the pallets of large orders and label each box within the order individually. It isn’t convenient at the time, but it’s absolutely worth it to keep from losing supplies when you need them.

If you follow these 3 steps, you will find that you are able to combat Murphy’s Law, and when something can go wrong… it won’t because you’ve prepared.

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