Monday, April 9, 2012

The Return Address

The studio is a complicated place. Over the years of operation the number of tools, models, types of hardware, product parts, instruction files and other things has grown and remaining storage and work space seems to have shrunk so without a good organization plan any one thing could be really hard to find.

Back in December 2010 I wrote “A Name and a Home” as my strategy for inventory organization. I have continued to extend that method and find it very useful. As time goes along it takes less and less time to maintain the system so it’s time-saving aspect is more apparent.

The plan has three essential elements. First, each item must have a name label. Each storage place requires a name and each item needs a return address label.

Here is an example of how it works. If I need a particular texturing die for a project and can’t remember where it has been stored I go to the laptop and access my Google Docs inventory spreadsheet which gives me the location. So, I go there and get it. In the case I have in mind the tool resides on the north porch or a work and layout table (NPLT). When I finish using the tool it should be put back where is came from which I should easily remember. But, if I was interrupted or forgot to put it back and come across it a few days later I can look on the bottom and the return address, NPLT, is written in presto pen white so I know where it goes.

A few times a year I may do some fairly extensive reorganization to accommodate the work schedule. Then it is important to take the time to record the location changes. I usually jot the notes in a small spiral notebook I carry in a pocket and make the computer changes later when I work at home. Since the file resides in the cloud those changes will be available the next time I use the studio laptop to access it.

Inventory management can be accomplished in a number of ways but this describes what has worked for me. For those who can memorize the sequence of a shuffled deck of cards in two minutes this labeling may not be necessary.

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