Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 5 (September 24, 1926)


Last year the Stores Branch of the Railway Department issued for use material which cost over two million pounds to purchase. That's real money. If you owned that yourself, I'll bet you would think so! You can also bet your sweet life that if you owned it you would take a whole lot of precautions to see that you didn't waste it and to see that nobody else lost what you paid for. You wouldn't leave it around haphazardly; nor would you put it in a box with a hole in it.

It is a very good way to get the true perspective of a situation, by putting yourself in the other fellow's place. Scattered all over our railway system, in yards, sheds, workshons and depots, of all kinds, are stocks of material Material is money in less negotiable form, with this difference—that a sum of say £1,000 in the bank for a year earns interest, becomes bigger, whereas £1,000 worth of material if not used, if not taken care of, or if not really wanted, gets smaller, it wastes, and we might even lose it entirely.

Don't Let Ours be a One Horse snow

Don't Let Ours be a One Horse snow

If any one of us borrows £1,000 to build a house, we have to pay interest for it. Similarly, if we carry over one million pounds worth of material in stock, and we do, we lose the interest on that amount of money while it is in stock, and it doesn't earn us a penny in return until we use it, until we make it do its work.

What I am getting at is this. On the operating side of the railway we hear:—

“The Stores don't keep it in stock.”

“Stock run out.”

“Big stock but of the wrong sort and size.”

“We ought to keep our own stock,” etc., etc. That's the viewpoint of the man who wants material, and while it sounds like a growl all the time, it indicates his zeal for the progress of the work, and disappointment that it is held up. Foremen want material, and they expect the Stores to have it on hand when they are ready for it, so that their output will not be interfered with.

The storekeeper's problems—the other side of the story—are not easy. He must keep in stock regular requirements. He must also look ahead. He must give prompt service, and for financial reasons he:—

1. Must keep his stock down to a minimum, because it costs money to hold.

2. He must get as quick a turnover as possible of his stock consistent with service required.

The success of the re-organisation of the Stores Branch is going to be largely dependent on everyone properly understanding what is aimed at, and everybody working to the one end. Prior to this re-organisation, which is now in progress, there were innumerable stocks of material in every shop and depot, also in cupboards in every corner of the railway, materials which had been paid for in hard cash and were being held by the working staff and not by the storekeeper at all. Storekeepers were often chasing merchants for material for one leading hand, whereas the same material unknown to them was often in another leading hand's cupboard, in the same shop. Everybody was trying to play safe against his probable needs and building up stocks that from a business point of view could only, at best, be described as a poor investment.

I don't suppose any single one of these odd stocks was really satisfactory. It was always a “hand to mouth” proposition, bolstered up by rush orders to the stores, which meant high cost through buying in small lots. The idea now is to concentrate in particular places, properly equipped and properly stocked, stocks of material under the control of the Stores Branch. All the little stocks must be turned into these main stores so that a really useful stock is available for everybody. We have to understand what the Stores Branch is stocking and to assist them in making provision for us, we must tell the Stores our requirements. At first there will be some trouble through items not being in stock, or overlooked; but, eventually, the storekeeper, page 23 through his bin cards and accounts, will know more about everyone's regular requirements than the users do. We must stop looking at the Stores Branch as if it belonged to some rival outfit, and we must consider it as a service unit and “put it up” to it to fill the bill. They cannot in all instances anticipate our requirements.

The system being adopted under the re-organisation scheme is a standard one throughout the world in big business concerns. Ours is the biggest industry in this country.

Let's do the Job Right

Let's do the Job Right