Par Level Management Series: Laundry Inventory Best Practices

laundry-inventory-best-practicesPar level management gets its own series not because we’re obsessed with having enough pars – OK, yes, we are – but because we know how important it is to smooth sailing for properties big and small.

The core of strong par level management is good inventory practices, and we’ve found that you can’t have one without the other.

Every property has their own inventory secret sauce, and we’ve pulled together some best practices for successful par level management.

Four is the Magic Number

One of the main goals of your inventory is to make sure you have the recommended number of pars on hand at all times.

The recommended par level is four:

  • 1 in the guest room
  • 1 in storage waiting to be used
  • 1 in the laundry
  • 1 dirty that’s leaving the guest room

Set an Inventory Game Plan

Your linen inventory doesn’t have to be daunting if you have a good game plan that everyone involved understands and agrees to before you get started.

The vast majority of properties that have effective par level management conduct inventory monthly. Scheduling inventory for the same day every month – for instance, the third Wednesday – ensures that everyone knows when it’s happening, and you won’t have to scramble to find time or staff.

You’ll want to meet with the housekeeping department a few days before your inventory every month to make sure everyone’s on the same page and knows where they’ve been assigned.

For a seamless inventory:

  • Set aside an inventory time when linens aren’t moving: in the evening after all of the housekeepers are done for the day or in the morning before they start
  • Make a list of absolutely all of the areas where linen lives and number them, including guest rooms, closets, carts and laundry chutes
  • Don’t forget to count pool towels
  • Create a count sheet for each area
  • Assign two people to each area: one to count and one to record
  • Make sure you have enough people helping to count to prevent inventory burnout
  • When everyone is done counting, put the physical sheets together
  • Have just one person in charge of the final tally

Use the Data to Drive Decisions

The person in charge of preparing your tally for the month will have their own preferred way of arriving at the final number, and it’s best to ask them to show their math.

Rather than rolling all of the separate sheets into one number, have them detail what linens were found where. By providing the locations, you’ll be able to surface issues such as misplaced items – queen-size sheets on a floor with only king beds  – and whether staff are stashing extra linens where they don’t belong. You’ll be better positioned to make sure every floor has what it needs.

Just Doing Monthly Inventory Isn’t Enough

One of the biggest mistake that properties make is thinking that just conducting inventory is enough. Knowing how many pars you have on hand at any given time is essential. But if you’re not replacing linens as you go, you’re setting yourself up for shortages or inconsistencies in quality that won’t go unnoticed.

Tracking shortages doesn’t help if you don’t replace what’s missing.

After you’re done counting linens every month, immediately put in an order to bring your par levels to the recommended four. By consistently bringing in new linen, you’re increasing the chances that the quality will remain the same over time.

Make it Count

Good inventory practices will help you work par level management magic now and into the future. You’ll reduce the stress on your staff and help lengthen the life of your linens.