4.4 Storage of materials and equipment

Stock of materials and equipment should be stored in secure storage rooms. These storage rooms should be securely locked and accessible only to authorised administration staff who are responsible for storekeeping. All people assigned to operate stores must receive adequate training in CARE inventory systems, and be made fully responsible for expendable and non-expendable items in their custody. The duplicate keys for storage rooms should be in the safe custody of the appropriate senior manager (ACD programme support or Administration Manager).

Storage areas can be in the form of large warehouses or small stores depending on the type of commodity, quantity and distance from the project site. For detailed guidelines on warehouse management, see the chapter on Logistics.

Proper storage of goods is essential for:

  • ensuring security of goods and materials
  • maintaining stocks of frequently used supplies and materials
  • enabling cost-efficient bulk purchasing of frequently requested supplies and materials
  • providing temporary storage for used or spare items awaiting redeployment
  • providing in-transit storage for non-inventory project materials awaiting distribution.

Effective and efficient storage practices require appropriate maintenance of storekeeping records. Follow the below guidelines:

  • Maintain bin cards for all items of significant quantity.
  • All receipts and disbursements of stock should be immediately posted on the bin cards and the stock inventory ledgers.
  • Maintain a white board in the store to provide an up-to-date at-a-glance listing of the categories of items in the store.
  • Maintain the store to help with physical verification at any time for reconciliation with both bin cards and stock/inventory ledgers.
  • The bin cards and stock/inventory ledgers for items in constant demand should indicate a minimum balance figure to start stock replenishment in a timely manner
  • Store the different categories of items in an organised and orderly fashion, and dispose of junk items after regular evaluation and authorisation.
  • Frequently examine the stores for leakage, infestation, security threats, etc., and undertake necessary and timely precautionary and preventive measures.
  • Only authorised staff of any project or unit should have access to the store, but always in the company of the storekeeper.
  • It is essential to maintain a tracking sheet for non-inventoried project equipment that is temporarily stored before donating to local partners. This will ensure that unauthorised transfer does not take place. See Annex 18.17 for Sample Tracking Sheet for In-Transit Storage.